Algorithm Rolled Out: February 10, 2021
Update: passage ranking launched yesterday afternoon Pacific Time for queries in the US in English. It will come for more countries in English in the near future, then to other countries and languages after that. We’ll update this thread as those further launches happen.— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) February 11, 2021
Algorithm Overview: Overall Gist
Google revealed on February 10 that a new ranking indicator, Passage Ranking, has gone live for US-based English queries. Google created a new method for identifying and ranking key portions inside web pages in search called Passage Ranking. Passage Ranking is a new ranking criterion designed to help people comprehend articles that cover a wide range of subjects. Passage Ranking largely designed to assist content producers who aren’t following SEO best practices. If you are, you will most likely unaffected. Google’s ability to identify and rank key portions that might otherwise be lost in poorly designed, lengthy pages has increased.
It’s crucial to note that Google Passage Ranking does not affect how people interact with search engine results pages (SERPs). At least, not in the traditional sense. Only the way Google AI evaluates webpage content and information in terms of relevance for a particular search query has changed due to this upgrade.
Google may now find a very particular sentence, paragraph, or portion of text inside a webpage that answers a long-tail term or inquiry, in essence. It recognizes that it may display that webpage in search results for that term or question, even if the page isn’t entirely relevant to the inquiry.
Algorithm Winners & Losers
The adjustment will especially benefit websites with long-form material that isn’t well optimized. Publishers with a well-defined SEO strategy, ecommerce sites with shorter material, and websites lacking long-form content are unlikely to experience any changes.
Let’s speak talk why you should care now that we’ve covered what passage indexing is, how it works, and what influence it may have on our SEO. Is there any advantage to this alteration, or is it just another minor adjustment you can overlook?
There are several advantages to passage indexing. Longer-form content will benefit from this adjustment, which will help it rank better for more precise keywords.
Focus on humans and not Google bots. Google indicates that it prefers site owners to create information valuable to users rather than search bots’ desire. Long-tail keywords have never been more important. Long-tail keywords and related topics are more likely to activate passage indexing, including phrases and longer terms, exactly like voice search. On-page SEO elements may (somewhat) less important: Google’s Martin Splitt underlined in the SEJ webinar that this adjustment intended to aid pages with unique content but not fully optimized. If the pages have awesome content, they won’t punished, but don’t neglect on-page. Great content and on-page SEO will help sites in highly competitive areas stand out.
It’s also worth mentioning that this adjustment will have no impact on Google penalties or traffic for most websites.
This is a minor update designed to assist visitors in locating sites with relevant material that may not fully optimized.
Algorithm Solution: Ways to implement or take to cope with Google algorithm guidelines
You may make a few minor adjustments, especially for long-form content:
Long-form entries should updated with new stats, links, and resources.
To help Google comprehend all subjects covered in a piece, use clear, keyword-rich (but not too optimized) headlines for each part.
Now is the moment to create long-form content if you don’t already have it. Cover as much of the subject as feasible, respond to typical inquiries, and employ long-tail keywords.
If you have a page with a somewhat different portion of the primary issue, make sure it’s written correctly and optimized for the search phrases people would use to locate it.
Please spend some time researching long-tail keywords and incorporating them into your long-form content.
Overall, don’t attempt to optimize for passage indexing to the point of going insane. You may go too far in the direction and over-optimize your site, which could hurt your rankings.
What’s the Difference Between Featured Snippets and Passage Ranking?
Snippets with featured content have been present since roughly 2013. (though at the time they called quick answers). These are not the same as SERP-ranking passages.
For the search “vegan alternative to eggs,” here’s an example of a featured snippet:
This will appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). The meta description highlights a piece that answers the question more specifically than the broader article, allowing the material to appear throughout the search.
Real-Time Implementation Example
Consider the following scenario: Assume you’ve written a lengthy article about affiliate marketing. Because you wanted to cover everything about affiliate marketing, you included sections on how to a successful affiliate marketer, what affiliate marketing tools to utilize, the most prominent affiliate marketing networks, and how to get started. That’s a lot of important information, but it also implies that the entire piece is unlikely to score well for phrases like “affiliate marketing networks” because only one portion covers the subject. Google may extract chunks of your text and rank them separately from the rest of the page using passage indexing.
According to Google, this upgrade affects around 7% of queries. This statistic only applies to US-based and English results. It will aid in the extraction and identification of special instructions or niche replies for this market.
Final End Result
Keep in mind that most website owners will not need to make any modifications and will not face Google penalties. Long-form content sites may enjoy a minor gain in traffic and rankings.
This shift in Google’s ranking also hints at where the company may go in the future. The search engine focused on giving customers the greatest possible experience, implying that marketers should put their efforts in the same direction.
The next major algorithm upgrade will arrive much sooner than you would expect. Google’s Page Experience overhaul, which first announced in November of last year, is set to go live in May of 2021. The significance of user experiences, such as page speed, website interactivity, and more, will emphasized in this version. It’s still impossible to say how significant this algorithm change will be. It’s reasonable to assume, though, that if you don’t optimize for user experience, you’ll see a significant decline in ranks.