What is Google Passage Ranking? How to Optimise for it?

On February 10, 2021, passage ranking is live for all English queries in the United States. Soon I will be coming to other countries.

With this passage running now we can rank specific passages within the page.

Google Passage Ranking

Very specific searches can be the hardest to get right since sometimes the single sentence that answers your question might be buried deep within a webpage.

Google Passage Ranking

Image source: google

What is Google Passage Ranking?

Passage ranking is Google’s answer to very specific searches. Google uses AI (artificial intelligence) to find the answer to your specific search query within a webpage.

Around 7% of searches are expected to be affected after rolling in all the languages, which is a huge number. Google Penguin only affected 3.1% of all queries. So Google passage ranking is important to consider when optimizing blogs and web pages.

How is this different from Featured Snippets?

Google’s Martin Splitt said in an interview,

Featured snippets and passage ranking are entirely different systems and are not similar at all.

Featured snippets are to provide short, concise answers and solutions to queries.

Passage ranking won’t be limited to short, concise answers. Passages type result that might not necessarily give a direct answer and would be more of a “blue links” type search result.

How to optimize for Passage Ranking?

We don’t need to optimize anything for google passage ranking. We need to consider following best practices while optimizing the blog or web pages.

Create long-form posts with statistical data, reference links, and resources related to the topic.

Use clear, keyword-rich headings in h2, h3, and h4 for each section to help Google understand all the topics a post covers.

Create well-structured content. Check the following example from the backlinko’s website for How to optimize content for passage ranking.

Before optimizing for Passage Ranking

Google Passage Ranking

Image source: backlinko.com

After optimizing for Passage Ranking with well-structured content

Google Passage Ranking

Image source: backlinko.com

Today, Google can consider 1 long piece of content into 5, 10, or even 100 unique sections.
This way, Google can treat the content at the bottom of each H3 as a small webpage. Arrange your content accordingly.

We know the long-form content worked well for SEO. Long-form content had a rating feature in the SERPs and got more backlinks and social share naturally.

According to Backlinko’s analysis, long-form content getting more backlinks than short blogs.

Google Passage Ranking

Image source: backlinko.com

Organize your content into separate sections. Each section must cover a specific sub-topic.

passage ranking

Analyze the common problems related to your niche and write content to answer the queries. Write high-quality content that gives the best answer to searchers’ specific questions

Use long-tail keywords and optimize your content with more LSI keywords.

How to track passage ranking?

There are no tools to track the passage ranking. We can monitor the sudden ranking improvement of keywords and keep eye on featured snippet areas.

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