Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Google Goes Longform: In-Depth Articles to Accompany Topical Search Results (GOOG)

From Forbes:
The article is co-authored with Dr. Peter J. Meyers, a data scientist and author at Seattle-based Moz.com.

In late 2012, Google quietly ran an experiment to drive the future of search, modestly called the Daily Information Needs Study. The study was focused on finding information that goes “unGoogled” (i.e. how long the line currently is in a local grocery store). As part of the study, Google discovered that a full 10% of people’s daily information needs require more than a quick answer.
To fill this gap, Google launched a new feature – ‘In-depth articles’ – on August 6th. Now, when you’re searching broad topics like stem cell research, happiness, and love, at the bottom of the page you’ll find a block of three search results called ‘In-depth articles’:
In-depth articles
In-depth articles are typically long-form content from major publications, but, unlike news results, they may be months or years old. Google seems to be targeting “evergreen” resources, focusing on proven articles from trusted publications.

The First 30 Days
It’s been just over a month since the release of in-depth articles, and so, with Dr. Meyers help, we decided to take a deeper dive into the data. Most of the data in this report is taken from a set of 10,000 search queries tracked on the morning of Saturday, September 14th.

On that morning, 505 searches (roughly 5.1%) displayed in-depth articles. Accounting for search volume (using Google’s global search volume metric), these queries accounted for 9.7% of total search volume for the data set. Interestingly, that 9.7% syncs up pretty well with the 10% gap Google’s study revealed.

In Dr. Meyers’ original report (based on August 12th data), only 3.5% of searches – 6.9% by volume – showed in-depth articles. It appears that in-depth articles were relatively unchanged for about a month, until Google expanded in-depth overnight around September 12th. This fits a pattern of monthly Google algorithm updates such as Panda, and suggests that in-depth data is not being updated in real-time — at least for now.
In-depth Articles by Category
Following are a few breakdowns of in-depth data from September 14th. The 10,000 queries were split evenly into 20 industry categories, and the prevalence of in-depth (by unique query) across categories is shown below....MUCH MORE
See also August's "Journalism: Go Longform or Go Home" and June's "Why Aren’t Top Journalists Rich?".
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