Did you know that 10% of searchers use Google to find more detailed content? You know…the detailed content that contains stats and data?
For this reason, Google rolled out an algorithm update that featured sites with detailed content throughout its search results. If you are not sure what it looks like, here is a quick example:
If you look at the image above, you’ll notice a result from KISSmetrics in which Google is showcasing one of our blog posts on page 1 of its search results for the keyword “SEO”.
Because KISSmetrics’ blog contains hundreds of articles, we are now ranking on page 1 for thousands of new terms that we didn’t rank for in the past.
If you look at the image above, you’ll notice an increase in search engine traffic by 13.15%. We didn’t make a big change to generate this increase other than getting listed in Google’s “In-depth articles” section.
Before we got included in the “In-depth articles” section, our overall search traffic was flat. We were continually adding new content, but we weren’t seeing any major increases or decreases in search traffic.
What I learned
Curiously, the 13.15% increase in search traffic wasn’t the interesting part of the results. The interesting part was that the articles that received more search traffic tended to be the articles that were already popular.
The ones that had hundreds of natural backlinks and social shares tended to be the ones that got listed in the “In-depth articles” section. The blog posts that weren’t too popular in the first place didn’t seem to get any extra love from Google.
We also noticed that the extra traffic was coming from broad keywords like “SEO” instead of long-tail queries. What is even more interesting is that when I looked at the length of the blog posts included in the “In-depth articles” section, I found that their average length was 2,183 words.
What I learned from this is that we need to write longer and more detailed blog posts on KISSmetrics as our average article is 1,631 words versus the 2,183 word count for the articles that got included in Google’s new section.
How you can get traffic from in-depth articles
The first step to getting traffic from this algorithm update is to write detailed content. If you are not writing content on broad topics that is thousands of words long, it is unlikely that you’ll receive more search engine traffic.
In addition to writing detailed content, you have to follow the schema.org rules. If you follow the steps and sections in that link, you will meet the technical requirements of Google. If you have a WordPress blog, you can just use this plug-in.
The last step in getting more in-depth articles traffic is to promote your content. When I looked at the data from KISSmetrics and averaged it out for both the posts that were not included in the “In-depth articles” section and those that were, I came up with the following numbers:
Articles that were not included in the “In-depth articles” section, on average:
- were 1,631 words in length
- received 194 tweets
- received 81 Facebook likes
- received 46 +1s on Google
- had 47 backward links
Articles that were included in the “In-depth articles” section, on average:
- were 2,183 words in length
- received 315 tweets
- received 129 Facebook likes
- received 87 +1s
- had 94 backwards links
I didn’t have enough data to infer what Google’s in-depth articles algorithm looks at, but I did notice that posts that were longer in length and had more backlinks and social shares had a higher probability of being included.
Length trumps social shares and backlinks
KISSmetrics’ most popular posts by far tend to be infographics. They generate more backlinks and social shares than any other type of content we produce. Within a two-year period we were able to generate:
2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 backlinks from 3,741 unique domains, all from 47 infographics.
But when I looked at the search data, in addition to plugging in a few search queries, I couldn’t find any of our infographics in the Google’s “In-depth articles” section. As obvious as this may seem to you, it emphasized that Google is really looking for “in-depth content” to be placed in this section…and not just any content, but text-based content.
Although we saw a 13.15% increase in traffic due to in-depth articles, you may not experience the same results. But you can potentially see a bigger increase in search traffic to your site if your content is more in-depth and on broader topics.
So, what do you think about the in-depth articles algorithm update? I know many of you weren’t happy about the Panda and Penguin updates, but this is an update that is more in your control.