A look at how Google is now rewarding quality content online
On August 6, 2013, Google released information about its in-depth articles. With this new feature, when people search on broad topics – such as “education,” “censorship” or, oddly enough, “Bob Dylan” – a couple of articles (typically three to date, but this may change) may be highlighted and labeled with “In-Depth Articles” on the first page of the search engine results.
Google determines which articles will be features algorithmically, but there are ways you can indicate to Google that you’d like to have a piece of your content considered for the special attention:
- Use schema.org article markup
- Participate in Google Authorship
- Use proper pagination and canonicalization
- Add logos to the article
- Ensure that the article is crawl-able
For more information about how to optimize an article for potential inclusion in Google’s in-depth results, see this article.
What was mentioned just in passing in this article – although near the top of the page – is this statement: “These results provide high-quality content to help you learn about or explore a subject.”
To create higher levels of quality online content, the technique is simple – and hard – all at the same time: use primary sources. Rather than rehashing what already exists online, interview real-life experts and get the latest, most cutting-edge ideas and knowledge available on a topic. To find expert sources:
- Talk to friends, family members and co-workers; whom do they know who could provide the expertise you need?
- Use respected online services such as Help a Reporter Out (also known as “HARO”) and ProfNet
- Head to your library and use the Encyclopedia of Associations
- Refer to the resources found at the Society of Professional Journalists’ page on experts or the JournalistsToolbox.com list
When you do use secondary sources (material that already appears elsewhere), it’s imperative to adhere to copyright law.
A note about Google Authorship
From the inception of the feature in 2011, consultants have speculated how Google Authorship would affect rankings. In February 2013, a Wall Street Journal blog published a post that contained snippets of The New Digital Age, the new book written by Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt.
To quote: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
With that quote, it is now crystal clear that Google Authorship is a must-have for sites, rather than an optional nice-to-have feature.
Please feel free to chime in. How do you create quality online content? How do you find the right expert sources? Leave a comment below.