An analysis on the performance of Google's "in-depth articles" update and its expected evolution in the near future.

in depth articlesAfter coming down heavily on Article Directories, Google slowly but definitely has understood the importance of content and has taken a sharp “U” turn and is now in the pursuit of what is called quality in-depth content. Wise move. Isn’t it? Imagine a web without content. All you can see in a web page is unreadable mass of tags. Probably you need a Bot’s eye to interpret all these. Google knows what people need – quality in-depth articles and Google has updated it’s algorithm and we now see an additional header in SERP -  “In-depth articles”. So how’s it performing? Let’s have a look. 


My search for in-depth articles

I thought of doing a few searches using some common keywords and analyze when and how these in-depth articles are triggered and how relevant they are. Consider Mr. ABC wants to know how cricket is played and he is in search of an “In-depth article” that Google has promised him. So ABC types how is cricket played in the search box of and hits enter. OOPS! No “In-depth articles” that he is looking for has showed up in the results. So Mr.ABC made a little change to his query. He typed rules of cricket and performed a search hoping to get a high quality article. Again the same old SERP displayed – no in-depth articles. Finally Mr.ABC ended up with a more generic query – cricket. So, here comes what Mr.ABC searched for! 3 in-depth articles that Google has promised him. So ABC opened each one of them in great expectation of finding a long article which covers nearly all the aspects of the game Cricket. Here is what he got!

[Results as on 09/14/2013 for keyword cricket]

Result 1 – “So, Cricket? May be?” by A cricket news from Jun 13, 2011 which has zero significance now.

Result 2 – “Why Should You Care About Cricket” by ESPN. Again this is a beautiful article about cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar. So Mr.ABC’s query is not yet fulfilled.

Result 3 – “Huawei Mercury (Cricket Wireless) Review and Rating” by PC Magazine. The keyword cricket has yielded something that is least expected by Mr.ABC. A review about a Mobile!!

Here let’s analysis what happened to Mr.ABC and his query. Mr.ABC wanted a long article for a specific term. Google returned no in-depth article and Mr.ABC is forced to shorten his query until he ended up with a generic term cricket. And for the term cricket, he got a few ‘so-called’ in-depth articles that hasn’t provided what he wanted. So here are a few random keywords that came across my mind and let’s see whether I got what I intended. Bear in mind that I’m forced to use generic keywords, since long tail keywords don’t trigger in-depth articles as of now (09/14/2013).

What I intended to get as search result My Keyword


In-depth Article: Result 1



In-depth Article: Result 2

In-depth Article: Result 3
Relevancy score* for results
Origin of Internet internet

“Is the Web Driving us Mad” by The Daily Beast

On Jul 9, 2012

“I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet”

By The Verge On May 1, 2013

“How Yahoo killed Flickr and Lost the Internet” by Gizmodo On May 15, 2012 4 2 2
How search engine works search engine "Human Flesh Search Engines in China" by On Mar 3, 2010 “Google: Bing is Cheating, copying our search results” – Search Engine Land On Feb 1, 2011 “Detecting Influenza epidemics using Search Engine” by On Nov 19, 2008 0 2 0
Recent technological advancements technology “Attached to Technology and Paying a Price” by The New York Times On Jun 6, 2010 “How Technology almost lost the war in Iraq” by On Nov 27, 2007 “The Innovators Dilemma” – 4 2 3
Computer Networking networking “Google’s secret switch to the Next Wave of Networking” by Wired On Apr 17, 2012 “Anti-social Networking” by The New York Times On Apr 30, 2010 “Flocking Behaviour lands on Social networking Sites” by USA Today On Sep 28, 2009 2 1 1

*Relevancy Score is the score I give for these particular results based on the relevancy of the Article. 0 = Least relevancy    1= Best relevancy

in depth article update


Following are my observations from the above results

  • Only generic keywords trigger “In-depth Articles”
  • These articles are very long. Word count >2000
  • Articles have good number of social activity
  • The results have a very low relevancy
  • Articles from well reputed brands get high priority in these results
  • Articles from brands that have printed magazines are favoured
  • These articles were published a few years back and hence have very low relevancy now
  • Haven’t provided what users intend as only generic keywords trigger in-depth articles
  • No pdf documents in results yet

Here’s what Google’s spokesperson had said about this update. 

“I’m happy to see people continue to invest in thoughtful in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication. This is exactly what you’ll find in the new feature. In addition to well-known publishers, you’ll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs. If you’re a publisher or webmaster, check out our help center article and post on the Webmaster Central blog to learn more.”

So, from the search I’ve done, I can’t find any of the promises kept. Hence one thing is sure. This algorithm is constantly being updated and it’s still in trial run. As time progresses we will see in-depth articles for specific long-tail keywords that are more relevant and helpful to the users. We’ll find articles from a lot of lesser known brands. So, till this trial period gets over, let the big brands rule “in-depth articles”. The day when more relevant and recent in-depth articles from lesser known brands appear in this portion of in-depth articles is not so far.

What's for me?

So, what should you do to make your content appear in this part of search result.

  1. Create quality content – well researched and informative
  2. Create long content – More than 2000 words. (Coffee time blog posts won’t work)
  3. Create evergreen content – Your content should make sense even after a few years
  4. Optimize your content for Google. Here’s how
  • SEO friendly Headline
  • Alternative Headline
  • Optimized image (Alt Tag)
  • Description
  • Have Author rank established
  • Use Schema markup for your article
  • Date of publication
  • Pagination
  • Organization Logo

The Bottom Line

So, if you write a content following all the above rules, you’re definitely going to have your article there at “in-depth articles” and get a lot of traffic flowing into your site. Your effort and investment in creating quality content is definitely going to payoff not too far in the future.


Category :

SEO News

Tags :

in depth articles, google recent update, google in

About Jeenfer Wilson

Jeenfer Wilson “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” - Douglas Adams.The quote above summarizes everything about me. I wanted to be an Engineer and I've ended up in the vast ocean of Digital Marketing. This is where I needed to be and I'm loving it. I keep a close watch on the latest trends of SEO and Digital Marketing Industry and love to write what I've come .... more info