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SEO and Long Form Content

 
Google recently announced that it will feature long form content in their search results, a change that will alter the front page by dropping the organic listings to nine in most cases, while adding three long form articles. The change is in response to Google’s findings that approximately 10% of searches on the site are seeking articles that provide the kind of in-depth coverage and analysis that isn’t available in articles with word counts of less than 500. 
 
While the in-depth articles do not show up on every results page, they do appear on searches relating to current news headlines, large Fortune 500 corporations, and other broad topics such as jobs, health, family, etc. Originally touted by Google as a methodology to surface quality content from a variety of sources, the in-depth articles featured so far have been authored for the most part by major publishers, perhaps a signal that Google’s long form algorithms have been set up to play it safe as the new feature rolls out. Featured long form articles have been authored by the likes of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker.  
 
The results for long form pieces appear in a block called “In-depth articles”, which features three listings with word counts ranging from 2,000 to 5,000. The change featuring long form content appears to be an extension of the Panda algorithm update, which targeted short and shallow articles posted on content farm websites for the purpose of generating backlinks to sponsoring websites.      
 
Despite its leanings toward established publishers at present, Google has stated that, "…you'll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs." Should this be the case, Google’s “In-depth articles” present another channel for businesses to exhibit expertise in their area of operation with the opportunity to appear on the front page of results for highly competitive keywords. 
 

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