What is Passage Ranking?
Google passage ranking went live in February 2021 in the US for search queries in English. The update will be rolled out in other countries and other languages in the near future, Google mentioned in a tweet. What is Passage Ranking? What does it mean for SEO? Will it affect your rankings? Is it the same as Passage Indexing announced in October last year?
According to our Perth SEO team, this is a minor update – Google estimates that there will be a 7% change in search results. You don’t need to rush and update your content. However, you cannot ignore passage ranking too. There are a few things that you can do to make your content passage-indexing friendly. But first, let’s understand what passage ranking is.
What is Passage Ranking?
Passage Ranking or Passage Indexing (as Google referred to previously) is an automated feature that helps the search engine to pull out specific content from pages into search engine results. Focused on natural language and long-tail search queries, the results may be even taken from a page that comes under a slightly different topic than the search query.
Passage indexing or ranking is not to be confused with featured snippets. Featured snippets are short answers that Google displays in the search results. This makes it convenient for users to get answers to their queries instead of clicking on the URL and visiting the page. Passage ranking, on the other hand, shows up a page in search results with the words of the search term highlighted in the snippet. You will need to visit the page to read the whole section.
How can you optimise content for passage ranking
So, Google now indexes not only web pages but individual passages from the pages. While there is no need to change content strategy totally, your content could do with a revision. Here are a few things you could do to increase the chances of your website getting a look in for passage ranking –
- Long-form content – Websites need to have well-optimised, long-form content such as articles and how-to guides that includes crucial and specific information that your audience may be looking for.
- Revisit your keywords– Update existing content to suit possible long-tail search queries. Do a good keyword research and use long-tail keywords that your potential audience or customers may use to find your services.
- Use headings – Make sure your content has keyword-rich headings and sub-headings. It is necessary to note that each section should be clearly written to reflect the heading and have the right keyword density.
Google has said that it will not penalise sites for not following passage ranking. However, it is important for site owners to take steps to improve their website’s user experience with good content, user-friendly design, improved navigation and better loading speed to maintain rankings.
SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) – Web pages that display results to user’s queries when they search for something online in a search engine.
Long-tail keywords – Longer, precise keyword that users type in or do a voice search in a search engine to find exactly what services or products they are looking for.
Algorithm – For the purpose of this article, it means a complex system used by search engines to find, index, rank and return webpages for a search query.