As I wrote earlier today, Google has added an awesome new search feature on the first page of all search results In Depth. This section features longer-form articles that go in depth on a particular subject, and demonstrates Google’s commitment to highlighting relevant content and utilizing author rank (for tips to get your blog and name ready for author rank, read this).
In a post on Google’s search blog, they make it clear that the new In Depth feature is not only for scholarly articles, but also for less well known blogs. “In addition to well-known publishers,” the post states, “you’ll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs.”
This is exciting news for bloggers, and blessedly, Google has made it easy to figure out how to optimize your content for this new feature.
First, Google suggests you familiarize yourself with Schema for articles. Schema.org was created as a collaborative effort by all of the leading search engines, and tells you what specific information you need to include on your site or blog to be properly indexed by the search engines. This helps all search engines to categorize your article or blog post appropriately.
The Schema article page provide the breakdown of information you need. However, to do it you need to be able to code your site more power to you if you’re comfortable with that (here are some simple and clear instructions). Luckily, if you’re on WordPress, you have a variety of plugins that can help instead. I recommend the Schema-Creator plugin by Raven. This will add a button to your content editor, allowing you to best label the article for search engines (this site breaks it down well). (Note: I did personally download this plugin and test it using the latest WordPress update, and it worked just fine).
The Schema.org specifications for optimizing your content on your site also help individual searchers as well. Because you’ve made it easier for search engines to find your site, individual searchers will be also be able to find it more easily.
A word of caution, however: if you put too much information into your code, you might actually decrease the likelihood of someone clicking through a search result and coming to your site directly. In other words, your microdata (based on the Schema recommendations) needs to be helpful, but not TOO helpful.
This is all exciting stuff if you’re a writer. Sure, it can take some time to properly optimize your work, but if it gets more eyeballs on your words, it’s all good.
Good luck! I’m off to get started on my own blog.