A Peek At Google's Passage Ranking Update
Google explores a smarter way of identifying context on content through this new ranking algorithm.
Google rolled out one of the biggest changes to its internal algorithm in recent years—the Passage Ranking update. Launched in February 2021, this important update enhances how the search engine examines content on websites to deliver more relevant results to searchers.
With the Passage Ranking update, Google can analyze each passage of long-form content pieces to derive better context—instead of analyzing it as a whole. This means that the search engine can now pull a particular passage that matches the searcher’s query, even if it’s different from the content’s main topic.
However, the Passage Ranking update isn’t an indexing change but a ranking improvement. Even with this update in place, Google still has to index the full web page, not just parts of it. The Passage Ranking update just enhances how the search engine determines contextual information across web pages to also help individual passages to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Google can serve a specific excerpt relevant to the query rather than a whole webpage related to the topic through this update. (Source: Neil Patel).
But this update won’t impact all web pages on Google. It only affects content-rich websites. So to benefit from the Passage Ranking update, business owners should consider integrating more long-form content into their web pages, including comprehensive blog posts that touch on multiple subtopics. Doing so should help to increase the volume of the search terms they can rank for, and as a result, boost their ranking and drive more traffic to their websites.
So instead of publishing numerous short-form content pieces, businesses can generate more traffic by releasing fewer yet more comprehensive blog posts. But while expanding topic scope and extending content length can help optimize for the Passage Ranking update, it’s still important to practice fundamental search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, such as observing heading markups, to help boost rankings.
Ultimately, to increase traffic to your web pages and bump up your SERP ranking, tailoring your content based on the Passage Ranking update is crucial.