Boost Your Site’s SEO with Google’s ‘In-Depth Articles’

Learn how to improve your website traffic with this in-depth article. Tips and strategies to increase your online presence.

Back in August 2013, Google rolled out the “In-Depth Articles” feature, aimed at helping users find well-rounded content on a variety of subjects including search engines, SEO, happiness, goals, love, and life. This feature presents a golden opportunity for your articles to get noticed on search results, potentially driving significant traffic to your site.

By leveraging in-depth articles, you can target broad queries that attract a vast number of searches, thereby increasing your chances of bringing more visitors to your website. Concentrating on long-tail queries means you’ll be aiming for less competitive keywords, which are easier to rank for than more general ones. Imagine the boost in traffic if your content ranks for those high-demand keywords!

Google’s in-depth articles feature offers a chance to showcase your content, assuming it aligns with their specific guidelines. This guide is crafted to provide you with all the essential knowledge to optimize your articles and website for in-depth exploration.

Understanding “In-Depth Articles”

Below is a screenshot displaying in-depth articles for the search term “Love”. These articles are featured with a title, site name, snippet, an image, and the publication date. Chosen for their comprehensive and high-quality content, they delve deeply into the topic.

In-depth articles on Love

Google often showcases evergreen content – information that stays relevant over time. This includes not only news platforms but also a range of authoritative websites. The criteria for being featured encompass having numerous backlinks, citations, comments, and a significant presence on social media.

Criteria for “In-Depth Articles”

What criteria does Google use to decide which content appears under the in-depth articles feature? Below, we uncover the key factors Google considers when ranking sites for this specialized section.

Selection for in-depth articles is done algorithmically, but Google has outlined specific guidelines to enhance your site’s compatibility with this feature. Let’s go through these guidelines in detail.

Understanding Article Markup

The article markup encompasses various types of articles and their metadata, which must be provided to Google. This ensures accurate processing of your web pages’ information, improving how search results are displayed.

However, this isn’t just about aiding Google in delivering better search results. It’s also about enhancing your site’s searchability, boosting the likelihood of your content being featured in the in-depth articles section. The following six attributes are crucial:




Used On



Headline of the article




A secondary title of the CreativeWork




URL of an image of the item




A short description of the item




Date of first broadcast/publication




The actual body of the article


Implementing Google Authorship Markup

Authorship helps transition from the anonymous web to a web of known, credible authors. Articles penned by reputable authors are favored for inclusion in the in-depth articles section. You can implement authorship markup by associating your content with your Google Plus profile.

To establish authorship for your articles, please follow these steps:

  1. Create a Google Plus profile.
  2. Choose a profile picture that will appear in search results.
  3. Go to and verify your email.

[For additional information, click here.]

Once verified as an author, any content published under that email will be associated with your authorship in Google’s search results.

For instance, the screenshot below shows an in-depth article featuring authorship markup, in this case for a search on Barack Obama.

In-depth article showing authorship markup for a query on Barack Obama

This highlights authorship for The Daily Beast writer, Niall Ferguson, under in-depth articles. Having content by well-known authors can significantly boost a site’s click-through rate, which is why Google highly values authorship.

Optimizing Pagination with rel=next and rel=prev Links

For in-depth articles that are “too lengthy” and split across multiple pages for readability, Google advises using pagination with rel=next and rel=prev links to guide readers through the content.

The rel=next and rel=prev HTML tags signal the relationship between URLs containing sequential content. For example, if a comprehensive article is split into three parts across three different URLs:

Then, include the rel=next tag in the head section of the first page as follows:

<link rel="next" href="">

This informs Google that there’s a continuation of the article on the next page (part2.html).

On part2.html, you should add both rel=prev and rel=next tags in the head section:

<link rel="prev" href=""><link rel="next" href="">

For the final part, part3.html, include these tags:

<link rel="prev" href="">

Implementing these tags clarifies to Google the structure of your multi-page article, enhancing its chances in the in-depth article selection. Additionally, ensure that canonical tags are present on each page of the series, not just the first one, to maintain content integrity.

Brand Recognition with Your Logo

A logo plays a crucial role in helping users recognize the brand behind the article. Google suggests showcasing your brand’s logo in the in-depth articles section. You can feature your logo by linking your Google Plus page with your website or by employing organizational markup as follows:

<div itemscope itemtype="">
 <a itemprop="url" href="">Home</a>
 <img itemprop="logo" src="" />

The screenshot below illustrates articles from The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal, all displaying their distinctive logos.

Articles showcasing publisher logos
Facilitating Access with First Click Free (FCF)

If your website reserves high-quality content for registered users only, Google recommends adopting the First Click Free (FCF) policy to ensure your content is crawlable and thus eligible for the in-depth articles feature. Restricting access to registered users only can prevent Google from indexing your site’s content, rendering it invisible for in-depth article consideration.

With FCF, users can view the entire content of a webpage on their first visit directly from Google search results. Subsequent clicks to the original link may prompt user registration (more information available here).

Leading the Pack in In-Depth Articles

Top-tier sites known for publishing high-quality content consistently, such as Wired, New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, are making the most of the in-depth articles feature. Key characteristics common to most articles featured in this section include:

Engaging Content

The articles typically span 1500-5000 words or more, offering thorough insights and extensive resources on their subjects.

User Interaction

A notable trend among sites frequently featured under in-depth articles is the presence of positive user comments, ranging from 50 to 1000 or more. Therefore, engaging your audience effectively plays a crucial role in achieving higher rankings.

Social Media Presence

Engagement metrics extend to social media, where top-ranked documents boast thousands of likes, tweets, and +1s. An example includes a March 2012 article from on “cats”, which not only went viral on social platforms but also garnered over 1000 comments, demonstrating the significant impact of social engagement.

The Atlantic post on cats with high engagement
Recency vs. Evergreen Content

Google tends to mix fresh content with timeless pieces, prioritizing recently published articles (older than 3-4 months) with substantial engagement alongside evergreen content that continues to attract social shares and comments over the years.

Domain Authority

High domain authority (DA), with scores over 90, is a prerequisite for featuring in the in-depth article section. DA, a Moz metric, evaluates a site’s relevance based on factors like domain age, inbound link quality, and TrustRank, among others, identifying leading-quality websites.

Content Quality via Tf-Idf Score

The Tf-Idf score, assessing term frequency and inverse document frequency, is pivotal in evaluating content quality. It highlights the significance of unique terms in a document, assisting Google in discerning the content’s relevance for the in-depth articles feature.

Additional Considerations

Other factors influencing rankings include Page Rank, especially for older documents, though it’s a lesser priority. The inclusion of crawlable images, defined with schema markup, enhances visibility. Backlinks play a fundamental role, with high-quality articles attracting hundreds to thousands of natural backlinks. Furthermore, being a “trusted seed” – a site Google highly regards for content quality – can significantly influence your site’s ability to rank for various queries, underscoring the importance of overall domain trust and content excellence.

Wrapping Up

Google reveals that over 10% of daily information queries are centered on broad topics that necessitate extensive research and detailed articles. The in-depth articles feature serves as a filter by Google to showcase content rich with in-depth research. Having your article highlighted in this section can significantly increase your visibility and bring in more clicks from people interested in your field.

The key is to produce high-quality, evergreen content that meets the needs of your audience. Google gives priority to content that remains relevant over time and sites that are seen as authoritative and trustworthy. Boosting your site’s authority can thus play a pivotal role in gaining preference from Google.

I welcome your thoughts on this feature and invite you to share any observations you’ve made regarding the content featured in the in-depth articles section. Let’s discuss how these insights can help us create more impactful content.

Note: This article was originally published on January 7, 2014.