Gini Dietrich

Create In-Depth Articles to Increase Your Google Authority

By: Gini Dietrich | September 5, 2013 | 

Create In-Depth Articles to Increase Your Google AuthorityBy Gini Dietrich

In July, I decided to stop wasting my bike rides by listening to music and joined Audible. The goal? To listen to business books while I grind through a minimum of 30 miles every day.

I began by “reading” Ctrl Alt Delete and then decided I would alternate between non-fiction and fiction. After all, all work and no play makes a very boring person.

In the past two months, I’ve “read” seven books and surpassed my two books per month limit in my Audible account.

Because of my using this time to engage my brain, I’ve been able to create content for this very blog that has been smarter, richer, and more engaging…at least according to our metrics.

It has taught me that long-form content is not dead and has made me think about how to use it in combination with blog posts, videos, podcasts, and webinars.

So imagine my surprise when, Googling something for a client just a couple of weeks ago, I was presented with “in-depth articles” along with the normal news, videos, and blog posts in my search results.

Discover In-Depth Articles

On August 6, Google announced they are rolling out a feature to help you find relevant in-depth articles in your search results.

Their blog post says:

To understand a broad topic, sometimes you need more than a quick answer. Our research indicates perhaps 10 percent of people’s daily information needs fit this category — topics such as stem cell research, happiness, and love, to name just a few.

If, for instance, you search “lego,” you will find the LEGO site, store locator, and then news and in-depth articles. The articles, of course, giving you more information about how you can use LEGOs than you probably ever need.

Google In-Depth Articles

This works for other topics such as capital punishment, the death penalty, and marketing but not (yet) for media relations or public relations.

Which means we (the industry) have an opportunity!

Create In-Depth Articles from Existing Content

I have a post-it note on my desk with topics for which Spin Sucks ranks, but may not rank on the first page of results.

It includes:

  • Communication
  • PR
  • Public relations
  • Social media
  • Creative
  • Reputation
  • Content
  • Crisis management

I did this exercise after I read Andy Crestodina’sHow to Optimize Your Blog,” which walks you through how to do this, step-by-step (I highly recommend anyone who creates content for the web do this).

The next step, of course, is to take this post-it note and find all of the blog posts that rank for each of those terms. From there, I will optimize them a bit more strategically and then use them for cornerstone content.

That content then becomes an eBook, a white paper, or an in-depth article. The goal, of course, is the latter and, if “public relations” doesn’t already have in-depth articles, why not try to get them created?

Google Authority

But that isn’t all. We know Google ranks for recency, popularity, and authority. The first two are fairly easy to understand, but until now, authority meant using your Google+ profile to boost the content you write for your own blog and for others.

It meant guest writing for high-authority sites and creating owned content that has authority based on social shares and on-page search engine optimization.

Now we have a closer glimpse into what Google means by “authority.” It means the days of “Twenty Things Twerking Can Teach You About Public Relations” go only so far. Now if you want to write that blog post (any takers??), you have to combine it with real content that shows you are an expert on either twerking or public relations (please let it be the latter).

To gain real authority in the eyes of Google, you must be an expert. Your content must be in-depth, cite sources and other experts, and link appropriately.

It’s much more difficult to game this system, which means search results are getting better and better. But it also means your content must get richer and much more informative.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Lovely image, @ginidietrich 😉

    • biggreenpen LOL! Thank you. I’m taking a bow.

  • This.Is.Brilliant!  …and I nominate RebeccaTodd to do the Twerking post! 🙂

    • lizreusswig It makes me so happy someone saw that!

    • photo chris

      lizreusswig RebeccaTodd I totally second that!

  • This was my first morning read of the day Gini and I came away from 3 full post-it-notes, an email to someone, and added 2 books to my audible account. I’d say your content (while not in-depth) worked. #golfclap

  • Write for humans, edit for SEO.  It seems to apply more than ever.  A good 800 word article with the keyword about once per paragraph seems to get google’s attention more than ever, and my own hits from google have gone up.   But, of course, the most important thing now are related terms that come from a properly written piece on a topic and that takes space.
    Good for google for working so hard to get us past the era of garbage!

    • wabbitoid Hi Erik! Nice to see you! You’re right…Google is working very hard to get us past the era of garbage. It looks like authority now means “you’d better know what the heck you’re talking about.”

  • The thing that is encouraging to me is that every move Google makes is a step away from SEO hacks and a move to recognize quality, authority and helpfulness. This must be the case for them to succeed. The business is moving in the right direction! Great post Gini.

    • markwschaefer Do no evil or something like that, right? Even if it means making sure the hacks do no evil. I’m glad you didn’t die from reading this. 🙂

  • …at least according to our metrics…I think we will be the judge of that…
    Question, I know music or ‘books’ certainly take your mind off the task at hand while riding, but don’t you need to be keenly aware of your surroundings, especially if you are going at any pace at all?
    Deep is good, I have a couple of friends who really impress me when they go deep on certain subjects. I can go deep on baseball…not the long ball mind you, but the subject; does that count for anything? Plus, you always need at least one simpleton around who acts impressed with everything you say, right? 
    I think I’ve learned enough already, my head hurts anyway…
    You know I could have said something intelligent like markwschaefer did, but that’s not my style; my brain isn’t wired like that…:).

    • bdorman264 That’s why I added “at least according to our metrics.” Because of smart butts like you!
      Answer: I find I space out even more when I’m just thinking and I’m not at all aware of my surroundings when I do that (yesterday I was thinking about a new hire we have to make and missed five minutes of the book and had to rewind). The books keep me more engaged in what I’m doing and I keep the volume low enough that I can still hear traffic behind me.

  • Great post! I always love it when your blog reminds me I am on the right tracking with my marketing plan. Keep reading my mind ginidietrich! 🙂 Website will be up by tomorrow!

  • Beyond the benefits with Google, I think the big plus to  “going deep” is that you stand a better chance of proving yourself an authority to your readers once they find you.  
    Have you read Jonathan Baskin’s latest book “A Thousand Words: Why We Must Fight the Tyranny of Brief, Vague & Incomplete”?  It provides some great context as to why and how information registers with people, why deeper thinking and longer exposition is better… oh, wait a minute… it’s not on audio.  Sorry.  Give me a call when you’re headed out for your next ride and I’ll read it to you over the phone 🙂

    • creativeoncall HAHHAHAHAHA!!! I would almost pay you to read it to me over the phone while I ride…just to say we did it.

      • ginidietrich creativeoncall Gini knows I am a big Baskin fan. He has been on Mitch Joel’s podcast at least twice. Smart man.

      • ginidietrich creativeoncall Can he SING it instead of just reading? It’s a more Chuck-ish thing to do. 🙂

    • kellyboyersagert

      creativeoncall Okay . . . I’d never heard of that book before. Just ordered it on Amazon!

  • sherrilynne

    I love Audible too. It fills my insomniac nights and makes my bus commute bearable.  I’m currently reading hard back version of Lean In at your suggestion.  Thanks!

    • sherrilynne What are you listening to right now? I started Bend Not Break on Tuesday and I almost want to listen when I’m not on my bike!

      • ginidietrich sherrilynne Yes, but what do you use for a highlighter, particularly when riding or driving?

        • creativeoncall ginidietrich sherrilynne So funny, I was wondering the same thing!

        • lizreusswig creativeoncall ginidietrich sherrilynne she has the Google Glasses she just whisks her head left for yellow right for orange.

      • ginidietrich sherrilynne LOVED Bend Not Break!!! There have been some detractors who question some of the accuracy but I have decided to appreciate the book at face value. It was good, heartbreaking, inspiring (and gave me a better appreciation for the potential of 3D printing). The co author (Mei Mei Fox) is very accessible on Twitter & other social media, FWIW!

        • biggreenpen I’m only at the part where she goes back to China for the first time to see her family. It’s not a non-fiction book. What is wrong with people?

    • sherrilynne I love Audible (and all audio) too!!! Just finished the audio version of Lean In!

  • Hi Gini,
    Audible is great. I often listen before I buy. If the book is really
    good, I buy the print edition. You may want to check your public
    library too. Ours has audio and digital books we can check out. It helps
    with that pesky two books per month limit. 🙂
    Did you include “twerking” in your meta tags to get that extra link juice…(just kidding.)

    • Debra_Ellis I’m so mad I did NOT include twerking in my meta tags! I wish I’d thought of that. Such a funny idea!!

  • I’m just here for the amazing photo.

    • NateStPierre And do you think it’s amazing?!?

      • ginidietrich NateStPierre I can’t even tell you how blown away I am.

  • SpinSucks

    creativeoncall Hey Chuck!

  • You mean not it is the ay it always should of been in the first place.
    Be honest. 30 miles on gravel against 25mph winds a 5% uphill for 28 of those miles with 2 death defy drops at 75mph on a BMX bike towing JB in a child trailer while drinking Perrier from your camel back.
    You are always too modest.

    • Howie Goldfarb It’s GREAT for content creators. And thank you for telling everyone my secret.

  • I say let’s crowdsource this. I’ll start.
    Twenty Things Twerking Can Teach You About Public Relations
    1) There is no such thing as bad publicity. 
    2) I don’t care what they say about my client, as long as they spell their name right.
    3) Defying your audience’s expectations of you is a no-lose strategy.
    4) Sex sells.
    5) In any rebranding effort, boldness is all that counts.

    • photo chris

      RobBiesenbach OMG- I am going to laugh at this ALL DAY! Thank you!

    • RobBiesenbach Where is rebeccaamytodd? She needs to add to this.
      I’ll continue…
      6) I don’t care what people think about me, as long as they know my name when I walk into a meeting.
      7) Tongues, like brand awareness, are quite long.

      • photo chris

        ginidietrich RobBiesenbach rebeccaamytodd  “7) Tongues, like brand awareness, are quite long.”  I am not worthy.

      • ginidietrich rebeccaamytodd 
        8) Those who have nothing to hide don’t worry about covering their ass.

        • RobBiesenbach ginidietrich rebeccaamytodd photo chris Remember that when you point your finger at someone else, there are four big foam fingers pointing back at you.

        • Word Ninja ginidietrich rebeccaamytodd photo chris Ha-haaaaa! You win.

        • RobBiesenbach Word Ninja ginidietrich rebeccaamytodd photo chris You inspired me.

        • Word Ninja RobBiesenbach rebeccaamytodd photo chris We have nine! We need 11 more.

        • PJWright

          ginidietrich Word Ninja RobBiesenbach rebeccaamytodd photo chris 10.) You don’t need to think too hard before you put it out there.  They will do the thinking for you.

  • photo chris

    So, am I the only one who, in the midst of yet another awesome post,  is stuck at, “grind through a minimum of 30 miles every day?” 
    I read it like this: 30. Miles. EVERY. DAY. Gini I knew you rode, but WOW! 
    Also- I am amazed you “read” and ride. Actually, I am amazed that anyone can do “audible” books. Sound for me is something that  is an unconscious motivating background force. It shuts my brain up and lets me get on with what needs doing: housework, working out, “down” time. 
    I just recently changed up my shuffle to insert a handful of songs to get me through my “I don’t want to swim one more moment” moment- which happens around length 35, when I have at LEAST 30 more to go.  The great tunes make me want to stay in the water and in another few laps I’m back into it. I don’t know that a book, particularly a business book- could do that for me. I think it’d make me anxious….
    Now, I have to go and bookmark another great post- I’m never going to get any work done at this rate!

    • photo chris “30. Miles. EVERY. DAY.” I know, that’s exactly how I felt. That, AND all the reading (okay, listening), and all the writing. You’re my hero, Gini.

      • Unmana photo chris actually ginidietrich is pulled by Jack Bauer.

        • photo chris

          Howie Goldfarb Unmana photo chris ginidietrich OMG- between you and @Robbiesenbach my sides will split!

      • Unmana photo chris LOL!! Keep in mind that I’ve been riding for eight years and it’s been a gradual increase. When I was racing two years ago (before I thought it was a good idea to write a book), I rode 300 miles a week. Now I’m at 200-210 per week and I wonder how I did an additional 100. THAT was insane.

        • photo chris

          ginidietrich Unmana photo chris yeah, that additional 100 miles, WHAT were you thinking? *headdesk*  I officially feel like a sloth.

    • EricPudalov

      photo chris Yes, I second that motion!  If you can ride 30 miles a day, Gini, I can certainly run at least 2-3!!  But to get back on topic…this post has reminded me that, I not only need to write content that I think would appear relevant in search results, but also come from my areas of expertise.  The question is…how does Google determine that you are an “expert” vs. an amateur?

      • EricPudalov Did you run today?!?!
        I haven’t found anything about how Google determines you’re an expert, but this is what I’ve surmised:
        It’s based on relevancy, popularity, and the authority you’ve already created on your site. So, for instance, you’d want to get something published on Huffington Post for the authority, but it would also have to be relevant and popular…and in-depth, which means you’re citing sources, doing more research, and providing context no one else does.

  • Paulie68

    matho77 where have you been??????

    • matho77

      Paulie68 in hiding. #badyear #westcoast. How have you been mate?

      • Paulie68

        matho77 Haha- same mate. Bring on summer

  • Neicolec

    This is a blessing for those of us who actually find pleasure in writing. We get to have fun, not worry about posts being too long, and fare well in search results. Yay!

    • EricPudalov

      Neicolec I love writing…so this is definitely a great thing!!

    • Neicolec Yay is right!

  • rdopping

    Darn it! I thought you were going to say I can blather on as I do IRL (betcha haven’t see that acronym in a while). 
    You know, I walk to work most days and I use that 45min to listen to podcasts – some entrainment (Alec Baldwin’s are very good) and some biz-nas. So, I feel ya sistah (WHO am I right now?)
    Another great bunch ‘o info. I really need to quit my day job so I can get this stuff all sorted. By the time I learn one thing something new comes along to challenge me. I will get it figured out eventually…..I hope. 
    I love the “in-depth” relevance that I can create for Interior Design. The good thing is that I am wayyyyyy out front on this one. Most of the ID stuff out there is from “decorators” so our industry has some real opportunity too. Yay!

    • rdopping I’m so impressed you walk to work every day. How did I not know this about you? I like you even more now.
      Will you tell your better half hi for me? I was thinking about her the other day.

      • rdopping

        ginidietrich rdopping I will say hi! You can do that yourself on Oct 12 if you’re in Chicago as we will be there too! We hope to see you and any other Chicago folks who want to hang around a couple of Canucks.

  • littlegiantprod

    Gosh it’s a science isn’t it.  I haven’t dealt with this process but will soon!  7 books in the past 2 months?!  That’s awesome.  Maybe I should get into Audible?  Thanks for the tips.

    • littlegiantprod You should! I’m surprised at how much I like it. I’m a text person so I didn’t think I’d enjoy it so much. But I really love it and I’m “reading” much more than before.

      • ginidietrich littlegiantprod Okay, I’m a text person too, so this has me intrigued. I tend to zone out on webinars and such. Do you find yourself zoning?

  • So my analytical brain immediately went to trying to quantify what an “in-depth” article must mean.  Word count, number of cites, type of cites, images…or just treat it like a book report rather than an essay (typical blog post).  This is one I’ll need to noodle on.

    • rosemaryoneill I’m not sure there is a way to quantify it that way. Based on what I’m reading this is what I’ve surmised (though they haven’t come right out and said it): 
      It’s based on relevancy, popularity, and the authority you’ve already created on your site. So, for instance, you’d want to get something published on Huffington Post (or Spin Sucks!) for the authority, but it would also have to be relevant and popular…and in-depth, which means you’re citing sources, doing more research, and providing context no one else does.

  • SpinSucks

    rhogroupee Thanks Rosemary!

  • SpinSucks

    jennimacdonald Hey Jennifer!! How are things in your neck of the woods?

    • jennimacdonald

      SpinSucks good, see DM for more info ; )

  • SpinSucks

    kateupdates 😀

  • susancellura

    I love new opportunities!! For the new website, I keep pushing for this type of content on it somewhere. It can’t just be pictures and links.

    • susancellura Cornerstone content is where it’s at! Actually, I’m not convinced that’s what I’ll do with it, but it’s an idea for sure.

      • susancellura

        At least solid content that shares. 🙂

  • Finally…I’m so tired of hearing how people don’t like to read anymore, that they only want to look at pictures like they are two years old and just learning all the colors and animal names. Thank you for all 670 words…I could have read way more. 🙂

    • Word Ninja Don’t worry…I have a book coming out soon.

    • Word Ninja I agree! I found myself defending long form content just last week with a potential client. Like most things, having variety is probably most beneficial, but trust me when I say that you need to invest in creating ‘flagship’ articles and deeper content.

  • danielnewmanUV

    I thought I commented earlier – it didn’t work 🙁 
    Anyhow, I agree with a whole lot of what you are saying here.  But here is something that drives me crazy…
    How the heck do we decide who qualifies as an “Expert.”  
    That word is so watered down it makes for ambiguous debate…
    Good Stuff – McGinnis somewhere at Sears is proud.

    • danielnewmanUV I don’t think “we” decide that. Google does. It’s based on relevancy, popularity, and the authority you’ve already created on your site. So, for instance, you’d want to get something published on Huffington Post for the authority, but it would also have to be relevant and popular…and in-depth, which means you’re citing sources, doing more research, and providing context no one else does.

      • danielnewmanUV

        ginidietrich Well that sounds like a lot of work.  No black hat ways for me to beat the system? 
        Guess it is time to pack it up and go home.  🙂

        • danielnewmanUV LOL!!! That seriously made me laugh out loud!

        • danielnewmanUV

          ginidietrich Glad I was finally able to add some value around here!

  • SueReddel

    Thanks Gini. This is the best article I’ve read all week. Great advice on exercising and reading. Good for your body and mind. In this world of “I don’t have enough time” reading, especially reading to learn is something we could all benefit from.

    • SueReddel I was beginning to feel the “I don’t have time to read” and decided to give Audible a go. I’m surprised at how much I love it.

    • photo chris

      SueReddel so, I should stop working  (and obsessing over posts) tonight, resist the urge for the slump of the couch, and go swim? ergh.

  • SarahJocson

    Wow! Good tips! The idea is that the author can build rank and trust based on the content they write all over the web. Excellent!

    • SarahJocson Now we just have the pressure of making sure it’s really good content.

  • adamceresko

    JeffSheehan thanks for the share, interesting read — didn’t know about it until this morning.

  • LOL “Please let it be the later.”
    <3 Gini.

    • chelpixie I guess if you want to be an expert on twerking…

  • In all the time I’ve been coming to Spin Sucks and other blogs from this fine crowd, this is the first time I’ve seen a plan for site optimization that made me want to actually give it a try.
    I’ve been avoiding SEO like the plague…spread all over Snooki…who is talking about Miley.
    Something about your exercise in optimization is appealing, though. It is time, for the good of my books, that I start taking this stuff seriously.
    Thanks Gini.

    • ExtremelyAvg I LOVE SEO. Part of it is because I’m competitive, but also because you see instant results. I think you’ll become addicted.

  • Thank you for not simply touting the “long read is dead” banner that seems to be the mantra of many digital marketers! It often takes much more than just a couple hundred words to really show mastery of a subject and simply providing links within a shortened article doesn’t cut it for me.

  • SpinSucks

    SHIFTcomm 😀 Thanks! Have a great weekend!

  • ClaritySol

    glenn_ferrell Thanks much for the RT of awesome ginidietrich post!

    • glenn_ferrell

      ClaritySol My pleasure Claire – have a nice weekend!

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  • Awesome ! Thanks for sharing useful tips. Keep it up.