It is now day 2 of Google’s new In-depth article update.  Early data is showing that Google is favoring big brands, and most of them have high PageRank (usually PR6-9) which isn’t much of a surprise.

In a post we made yesterday about the release of in-depth articles, we noted that Google stated in their initial release that smaller blogs and websites had a chance of being featured as an in-depth article in the SERPs.

[quote] “In addition to well-known publishers, you’ll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs.”

-Pandu Nayak, Google Technical Staff

So Where are these lesser-known blogs?

Because I sure don’t see any!

Earlier this evening we collected some data (download .xlsx) that clearly indicated that Google is favoring brands over smaller blogs.

google in-depth articles

I ran 30 queries in total, all of which I believed to be fairly broad topics.  I also threw in a few brand names, names of people and controversial topics just for fun.

Out of all of these queries, I not only recognized all 90 results but I also deem these results as “big brands.”

in depth article winners

Google seems to favor printed publications

It also might be a stretch, but it seems as though Google is favoring brands that have a printed publication that goes along with their website.  Just an observation.

Schema Markup Really Doesn’t Matter

In addition to that, our findings also revealed that Google is not using schema markup as a means to rank or format in-depth articles.

The only result that kind of came close was the New York Times, and even they did not have everything included that Google suggests.

In some cases, some of these in-depth articles did not have any schema at all, yet Google still gave them love.

Content Length Seemed to be a Common Factor

Most of these articles were 2000-5000 words and were paginated.

In addition to length, a number of these articles were featured on the cover of that magazine/publication at one time or another or featured in some other way.

There was an in-depth article section for mary jane, but not bath salts.

There was an in-depth article section for the female anatomy, but not the male.

Google in depth article SERP result

On top of that, it even displayed a photo (actually considered art) of the female anatomy.

There seemed to be no general rhyme or reason as to what queries received an in-depth article. Although all of the topics which received in-depth article placement seemed to be very broad and general.

One thing I noticed across the board is that there were 3 results per in-depth article section.  Perhaps there are some queries that Google has found 2 results for and the algorithm is waiting to find another before it displays it?

Could in-depth articles still be rolling out?  Chances are, yes.

In addition to that I imagine that rankings will continue to fluctuate over time in the in-depth article section.

I’d like to give a big shout out to Search Engine Land for getting featured as an in-depth article for the query “search engine” and taking one for the team.