As we continue into 2014, Google appear to be making more and more of an effort to reduce the traditional SEO tactic of direct-link-building, and move the industry towards high-quality content creation and integrated digital marketing campaigns.
Recently for example, Matt Cutt’s anounced on his blog that guest-posting will no longer hold much merit – unless they’re done occasionally, and only on high quality websites.  Infographics with embeddable code, also seem to be a thing of the past; whilst directories and blog-commenting have long been frowned upon within the industry and are now, usually, believed to hinder rather than help with Google rankings.

Going forwards, it appears the links will have to be genuinely earned; and the infamous algorithm is less susceptible to manipulation, than it perhaps has been in the past.  One great way to establish yourself, and your website and/or business as a creator of good quality content, and a source and a website to be trusted, is to set up Google Authorship and to create In-Depth Articles.

Google Authorship
Google Authorship is a way for Google to associate articles and blog posts with one specific author.
If you have authorship set up correctly, it should also show a small thumbnail image of the author, on Google’s search-engine results page(s), that contain your articles.  This is believed to increase click-through rate, and therefore traffic to your website.

To set up Google Authorship:

– Create a Google+ account for yourself
– Upload a passport-style photo to your account
– Link back to your Google+ account on all the articles that your write. But make sure the link contains the code “rel=author” For example, a link back to my Google+ account would look like this: Written By <a href=”https://plus.google.com/116809745404325304844/?rel=author/”>Drew Griffiths</a>

– Alternatively, if you have an email address associated with the website or blog your write for, you can confirm your Authorship via email.  Here is the official literature by Google.
– Finally, if the website your write for has an author page and bio, make sure to link back to your Google+ from there too.

In-Depth Articles
In-Depth Articles appear separately in the Google SERPs, they feature a thumbnail picture and take up a large portion of the page:

Indepth articles
Due to the way the articles are listed; they stand out from the rest of the search results quite significantly, and are therfore likely to see a higher click through rate than normal, organic search engine listings.

This is something that could have a huge impact on traffic, and in turn, a website’s profitability.

How to create In-Depth Articles pages on your website

To start taking advantage of in-depth articles, you need to:
1. Use Google Authorship
2. Use Schema.org article markup or opengraph code on your article webpage.

This is quite technical, but try and keep reading.

Below is an example of Schema markup.
To make it specific to your own article, just edit the parts in italics and replace with relevant headlines etc. to your article:

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article">
<meta itemprop="headline">Your Headline Here</span>
<meta itemprop="alternativeHeadline">Another Similar Headline</span>
<meta itemprop="image" content=" the URL of an image">
<meta itemprop="description" content="An article by Joe Blogs ">
<meta itemprop="datePublished" content="20140122">
<meta itemprop="articleBody">Fill this in with the first line or two of the article </span>
</div>

and an example using opengraph code in the <head> of your HTML:

<meta property="og:type" content="article"/> <meta property="og:title" content="Headline of article"/> <meta property="og:url" content="Full URL of the article with trailing slash "/> <meta property="og:description" content="first line or two of your article"/> <meta property="og:image" content="URL of your image"/>

Traditionally rich snippets/schema.org markup has appeared in the body of a webpage; however, having looked at some examples, it appears that you can place it in the body or the head.

As stated above, the opengraph code can simply be copied and pasted into the <head> of the HTML.  From what I have seen and read; opengraph works fine, but officially, schema.org markup is preferred by Google.

I hope this helps those authors wishing to get featured on the In-Depth Articles results.
Remember that Google must also interpret your article as ‘well written’, and whether or not you get featured may also largely depend on your Google Authorship statistics – which you can now check in Google WebMaster Tools.

It is also important to note, that as of January 2014, this new SERP has NOT been rolled out in the UK.

I hope that this article has proved helpful and that you will be able to set up your authorship and create In-Depth Articles successfully.  Please remember that Google will also assess the quality of your articles before it will decide whether or not to list them on the In-Depth Articles results page/section, and that Google Authorship can take several weeks to set up and be acknowledged by Google, so please be patient.