We can't say we didn't see it coming! All the signs were pointing to it. Google has been systematically penalizing websites for bad SEO practices and poor or unsuitable content creation. It was only a matter of time before websites with the good stuff got rewarded.
It's that time of year again when everything about the game of online marketing changes. This time, the change is the introduction of the concept of in-depth articles. This is the beginning of something new and big. It might actually be a coup for Google, who has been trying to return better search results for quite some time now.
The first part of this process is now well underway. With the Google Panda and Penguin updates, websites using manipulative practices to move up the SERPs have been largely eliminated. The next step of the process it seems is now to reward those websites with behavior in line with what Google wants to see from marketers.
About In-depth Articles
The most important thing you need to know about this new Google algorithm update is this: Google now rewards long form content that is 2000 words long or more. Content fitting this criterion will move up the SERPs and while its no walk in the park to create quality 2000-word articles on a regular basis, nothing worth having comes easy. You will be duly rewarded for your effort.
So how does it work? Why should you care about in-depth articles?
The reason you should care about in-depth articles is that they are about to displace those websites currently ranking high in the SERPs which have no business being there because they do not have quality content at the very heart of their marketing strategy. In-depth content is going to help determine a business's ability to move up the SERPs. Done right the rewards will be huge.
Note that it is still relatively early days as far as the in-depth algorithm update goes. As a matter of fact, this new Google feature has only been rolled out in the United States so far. Early statistics support the fact that indeed in-depth articles will make a difference in many niches.
How To Benefit From This Algorithm Update
Since in-depth articles will significantly change the SEO game, it's time for us marketers to get a piece of the action.
1. Technical Implementation First
Well, first and foremost, as the name of the algorithm update suggests, if you want to benefit from this new Google feature, you need to create content at least 2,000 words long. Having a well thought out content marketing strategy surely helps; that's the minimum requirement. In addition to that, you also need a solid markup process. This helps Google understand what's on a page and extract important elements from it to use when ranking your page in the SERPs.
Any content you create should include the following elements from Schema.org's Article markup:
2. You also Need a Content Strategy
In addition to the technical details above, to make sure your website pages and content move up the SERPs, you need a content strategy. Currently, there is a lot of talk about the importance of evergreen content and storytelling in content creation. The true truth is: Not everything that's written is accurate but its always rewarding to intelligently present your brand's content using both.
About Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is the description given to content with longevity. It's basically the type of content that even if you read it in two years, it will be as relevant then as it is today. To move your pages up the SERPs following the new Google algorithm update, evergreen content is perfect. If you target the right audience, this content can stick around for a long time and continuously drive visitors to your site.
The challenge however is to actually create such content. It requires a lot of research and planning including keyword research, the actual writing process and optimizing the content to fulfill all the Google schema requirements we mentioned before.
In-depth articles, once fully rolled out, will greatly change how websites rank up the SERPs. Invest in quality content now before its too late.