Google Search Starts Highlighting In-Depth Articles On Search Results Pages

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Google today announced a new feature for Google Search that highlights in-depth articles related to your search queries. Google says while many users just want a quick answer, its own research indicates that about 10% of people are looking for links to more in-depth stories. Over the next few days, then, the search engine will start highlighting these kind of articles on its search results pages.

Update: I mistakenly believed the box would appear in the Google Search sidebar, but a Google spokesperson just told me it’ll appear in the main search results column. I have updated this post and headline to reflect this.

It’s not clear how Google will determine that an article is “in-depth,” though chances are it will look for high-quality, long-form stories from a select number of sources. All Google will say is that the results “are ranked algorithmically based on many signals that look for high-quality, in-depth content.” The results, Google says, are meant to “provide high-quality content to help you learn about or explore a subject.”

For now, this feature will only be available on google.com in English.

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Publishers, Google says, should ensure that their articles follow its general guidelines for longer stories (including pagination markup) and make sure they “create compelling in-depth content.”

“I’m happy to see people continue to invest in thoughtful in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication. This is exactly what you’ll find in the new feature, Google staff member Pandu Nayak writes in today’s announcement. He also notes that besides well-known publishers, the tool will also highlight “great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs.”

Over the last few months, most of the new features Google introduced for Search focused on giving users answers without having to click through to any of the sites it linked to. Today’s launch is obviously meant to reward stories that provide background and go beyond the basic facts.