Earlier in the month, Gini wrote a blog post about Google’s In-depth articles. She discovered them when she was doing a search for a client and, in addition to the regular results, noticed a series of three other links listed at the bottom of the page.

She dug a bit deeper and found Google launched In-depth articles in August to feature longer-form content people are talking about – usually from mainstream media outlets.  (Note: a search of ‘google in-depth articles’ did not include any in-depth articles, but did show Gini’s post.)

Recently Google has been using three elements to determine ranking:  recency and relevancy, popularity and authority. Now, in combination with these measures, content creators should consider developing longer-form pieces like ebooks or white papers.

These are more reflective pieces that should demonstrate the writer has done their research, cited credible sources and has the authority to offer a perspective on the topic that adds value.

Agencies and organizations will want to experiment with longer-form articles to determine what works and how it affects the perception and discoverability of their brand.

Joe says it’s interesting to watch where search is heading and recalls that four or five years ago you would get really interesting links when you searched a topic. Now, in top-level searches he’s seeing is the equivalent of ‘network television’ – that is, links from larger outlets rather than the independent voices that often provided a fresh point of view.

Martin wonders whether this is Google’s way to re-legitimize media outlets as publishers and point people back to them.

For our Canadian listeners, In Depth Articles don’t work in Google.ca, so you’ll need to search in Google.com. Right now, it only seems to be for top-level searches.

Are these shifts toward more mainstream results harkening back to the brochure-ware websites we used to find online? What happened to the individual voices we know are out there?  Will the average person understand how to refine their searches in order to find independent voices? What’s the impact on communicators who want to reach a wider audience?

We’d love to hear your ideas on where you think search is heading.

And as we mentioned, here’s the link to the new subscription-based ‘Netflix for books’ app, Oyster.

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