What are in-depth articles?
In-depth articles are articles that go into great detail on a topic, covering everything that might be useful to a reader. In-depth articles offer an improved user experience when ranking for informational-intent keywords as they provide all the information that a searcher is looking for.
Although in-depth articles cover a topic in its entirety, this doesn’t always mean the articles have to be extremely long. If an entire topic can be covered in a few paragraphs, then it is still classed as in-depth content.
The importance of in-depth articles
Writing in-depth articles is important for improving the user experience of a website. It also helps articles rank for related keywords, as long-tail keywords and keyword variations are naturally added into the article as it is written.
Benefits of in-depth articles can include:
- Improved user signals – By satisfying the user intent and providing them with all the information they may need, user signals on your website should improve.
- Ranking for more long-tail keywords – By naturally including all important aspects of a topic, it’s easier to rank for long-tail keywords.
- Improved rankings – Highly relevant content that provides searchers with the information they’re looking for ranks easier than thin content pages.
- Clear topical relevance – By covering a topic in its entirety, the page has clear relevance to the topic.
- More backlinks – High-quality in-depth articles are valuable resources that people want to link to, making it easier to build backlinks to the page.
In the past
In the past, thin content was able to rank well in the SERPs. In the late nineties and early 2000s, search engines had very simple algorithms that were easy to manipulate.
This led many SEOs and webmasters to create a large quantity of thin-content pages, and subsequently forcing them to the top of the SERPs through link building and keyword stuffing.
As search engine algorithms got more complex, thin content became less effective and can now even result in ranking losses. This shifted the focus from thin content to in-depth content, improving the search experience of users.
Google’s in-depth article search feature
In 2013, Google introduced a search feature called in-depth articles in which in-depth articles were highlighted in the SERPs much like the Google News OneBox today.
This search feature mainly appeared on broad keywords where the search intent wasn’t clear, like when searching for names, places, objects, or other general terms.
By providing a search feature highlighting in-depth content on the topic, it made it easier for people to find the content they were looking for.
This feature has been discontinued, but when people refer to “Google in-depth articles” they are generally referring to the search feature as opposed to the general meaning of the term.
Its relevance to SEO
In-depth content generally outperforms thin content, especially when competing for informational-intent keywords. SEO benefits can include an easier time building links, improved user signals, and ranking for more long-tail search terms, among others.
In-depth articles on your blog can also have various other marketing benefits. For example, it can be repurposed for use on social media channels or web2.0 blogs, as well as providing value to your audience when promoted on other channels.