In-depth articles refer to a feature within the Google SERPs, which consists of a separate block of three search snippets and refers to long technical articles. Google wants to raise the level of its search results on specific topics that way. To date (March 2014) in-depth articles are only available in the U.S.
Google has established itself as the world’s leading Internet search engine. In some countries, Google covers over 90 percent of all searches. Thus the search engine company services the masses, but also answers specific questions with the Knowledge Graph, for example, or can do comparisons since the Hummingbird Update. Experts or knowledge-hungry users will, however, still prefer to use special search engines of universities or libraries to find reputable technical article on specific topics. Since August 2013, Google presumably now wants to reach that specific clientele with in-depth articles.
Google uses proprietary algorithms, similar to Google News to locate in-depth articles, which respond to relevant signals. If reputable sources are available for a search query, Google shows in-depth articles in a block of three at the top of the SERP and labels that block additionally with the heading “in-depth articles.”
Google gives webmasters tips so that their content can also be viewed as in-depth articles. It in particular refers to the use of markup according to the example of schema.org.
The following elements should therefore be marked up:
By marking up the individual elements, the Googlebot can even better identify high-quality articles from experts.
In addition, users should use pagination with the page attributes and work with canonical URLs. It is also recommended to prove the authorship with a link to one’s Google Plus page. A separate markup for the company’s logo can be included, which will then appear in the search snippets of in-depth articles and be linked.
The In-depth articles feature represents an interesting new step by Google to get more acceptance in scientific and academic circles. This feature probably offers great ways for authors and businesses to put opinion leadership and expertise in particular areas to the test.
Especially companies that deal with technical subjects, can gain additional traffic and trust by publishing not just purely search engine optimized texts but more extensive content which is well-founded and technically correct. The In-depth articles feature therefore tries to find answers to the frequent queries for reputable sources. Even though Wikipedia is often among the first search hits for technical subjects, the articles provided as part of that encyclopedia do not always meet all the requirements of high-quality information. Moreover, Google itself has no insight into the plausibility of a website. The additional markup and special algorithms, however, provide Google with some evidence of the credibility of a source.