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If you’ve done a search on the World Wide Web recently, you may have heard of a new thing Google is rolling out called In-Depth Articles. You can probably guess what these are – detailed, well researched articles on a topic. In a rare move, Google has even provided instructions on exactly how to appear in an in-depth article. You might be thinking “man, getting an in-depth article up on Google would really increase my exposure. I should work on that.”
Well I’m here to tell you – stop thinking about that. Don’t do it. Think about monkeys instead.
Fun fact, if you search “monkeys” on Google Images there’s a whole section of monkeys with guns. Terrifying.
Now that you’ve spent some time thinking about monkeys, we can go back to talking about why in-depth articles are not the be all and end all for your success as a marketer. Here’s the thing:
1) In-Depth Articles are targeted to keywords that will never convert
One of the more popular Ben Landers phrases that’s been kicked around on this blog a lot recently is “traffic without leads SUCKS.” Case in point, we had a client who for a long time ranked number two for an extremely popular global term – one that generated nearly 20,000 visits a month and converted exactly 8 times.
Unfortunately, writing an in-depth article for Google will likely yield similar results. If you’re an HVAC contractor and you decide to write an article about the history of air conditioners, you may get the same type of traffic that our other client got – thousands of untargeted eyeballs not looking to buy.
Is this the worst thing in the world? No. But do you really want to spend your time and money on people who will never become your customers? Probably not.
Remember: most of your money searches are going to come from what we call “long tail keywords” – searches like “air conditioner repair company in Kansas city, mo” over “air conditioners”.
2) If you’re not a big publisher, you can forget about it
We mentioned above that Google already laid out a formula for how to get an in-depth article up. And while the instructions they provide are pretty doable, here’s the thing: Google is still going to favor big brands. According to their Inside Search Blog:
“In addition to well-known publishers, you’ll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs.”
Will you get ranked? Maybe. Is it worth it to try and outrank sources like businessweek.com, wallstreetjournal.com and newyorktimes.com? You decide.
But I wouldn’t recommend it.
3) You likely won’t get any clicks anyway
When someone does a search for a broad term, they’re usually hoping to see a site like Wikipedia or something else they recognize. I haven’t seen any official statistics about how many people click on in-depth articles, but all signs point to people preferring the websites they’re more familiar with.
4) You might not have compelling enough content
If you didn’t read the guidelines for creating an in-depth article, they basically say that you need to write a really, really great page, then add all sorts of back-end data to it to make it crawlable.
Here’s the thing – it’s much easier to take a page that already gets fantastic organic traffic and make an in-depth article out of that than it is to create one from scratch.
5) In-Depth Articles aren’t going to change anything
Given how much of an influencer Google is, people tend to freak out every time they do something new. This fact is often used as a point of leverage by SEO companies trying to convince you to switch over to their services. If you’ve ever been pitched by a company like this, you’ve probably heard all of the following:
- “I see your presence on social media is lacking…is your current company doing that?”
- “We use guaranteed post-Penguin tactics.”
- “We’ll get you into Google’s Knowledge Graph.”
All these things are great, but here’s the thing – if you’re not focused on creating great content for your website, you’re not focusing on success – period. Take it from my friend Bruce Lee:
In this case, the finger is Google’s day to day changes – warnings about penalties, new developments to the SERPs, etc. The moon is your website – great content, engaging user experience, conversion optimized. All that heavenly glory?
Well, you can probably guess.
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About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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