Understanding Google Passages

Understanding Google Passages

The years 2021 and 2022 so far saw significant changes to the Google algorithm, which naturally would impact the digital market as it did.

Google released notable updates for 2022, like deduplicating snippets of the featured content, providing more opportunities to marketers’ rankings, and a “Passage indexing” upgrade (a Passage Ranking Update) for user queries on search engines.

Passage indexing is a new technology which was developed by the Google algorithm that ranks specific passages on a blog by search results, according to the user’s search query, which is relevant to the entire blog.

According to Moz’s Update History on Google Algorithm these ranking changes were consistent with Google’s estimates.

“The update to the “passage” would be affecting 7% of all the queries for search results across all languages, at most when it’s fully implemented all over the world.”

This led to “passage indexing” to be the major update for 2021, with an expected impact of seven percent of US and English queries following the official launch on February 10, 2021.

Danny Sullivan, Google’s public Search Liaison, revealed the “passage update” in a tweet and in that case, he was setting out the latest Google algorithm and how it will affect the search results.

Although this change was intended to be viewed more as a way to improve Google’s comprehension of the content rather than making any modifications for SEO, as per the statement by Google “We’re still indexing web pages and considering information about whole pages when ranking. However, we can now consider passages from pages as an additional ranking factor.

This update is vital to SEO experts as it first affects the ranking of the content in the standard of 7% for search queries. The second reason the intent was to recognize longer-form content by Google as opposed to a significant update to the SEO-changing algorithms, like Featured Snippets.

So, to bring an end to your concerns, here’s the truth for you to know – the update ‘Passage Indexing’ was a minor change in the algorithm used by search engines to understand the content more effectively and provide more relevant results to the search queries of users.

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Google’s Prabhakar Raghavan, in his blog “How AI is transforming an improved Google,” states that the new update for the Passage is “a leap forward in ranking” and, in addition, how it has helped Google “understand the significance of particular passages.”

Look at the image below, a portion of Danny’s tweet, and the blog, which illustrates the result on the most superficial level.

The image was concerning the “understanding abilities” of Google for obtaining “results that are more relevant to a particular question than a more general web page about that subject (L).”

The company states that the improvement applies to how Google ranks websites overall rather than a specific component which is why they changed the term from being named passage indexing  to Passage Ranking.

Let’s take a look at the difference and how this update can be more pertinent to be referred to as “Passage Ranking.”

Passage Indexing vs Passage Ranking 

Passages are part of the long-form content that spans between 1,000 and 8000 words. It provides in-depth information about complicated topics and can be a great source for engaging users on the internet through these sections of content.

Check out the image below, which shows a passage that is a snippet of text with the most relevant response to the user’s questions.

This latest technology is automated to utilize particular passages or sections of content in a webpage to answer a question. The result will be displayed on SERPs and utilized in the Google Algorithm to determine the website’s rank.

In a second tweet, Danny Sullivan addresses the issues that digital marketing companies and product and service providers have a problem with this update.

Understanding Google Passages

The following tweet is a question from Andy Beard regarding the update to this Passage and its impact on SEO, or the SERP space used by relevant texts that are indexed or ranked for the sole purpose of providing a more enjoyable user experience.

This tweet is the crucial aspect of the update by Google to ensure that Passage Indexing doesn’t focus on display but is focused on ranking the most relevant part of your website’s content.

Thus, it’s referred to as “the” update on passage ranking, which Google also describes as getting “that needle-in-the-haystack of information you’re searching for,” which is the case of the search engine, the query of the users.

For instance, you’ve written an organized long-form article with in-depth research that can cover the fundamentals of the headline “content writing strategies” down to the core.

Inquiries like ‘what platforms should be used for networking’, ‘what tools to utilize,’ what updates to take into consideration how to make SEO-friendly content’ are all answered by the fundamental demands of the users.

The purpose of “Passage Ranking” is to determine the order in which your Passage, for example, “which tools should you use,” since Google finds it most relevant to their users and their query.

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So, even if your site is not optimized, the page selected by Google will be ranked.

What Is Google’s Passage Ranking Update All About

By its initial introduction, this update was shown to be a solution to “particular search queries” by Google, which were “the most difficult to achieve.”

The update was expected to provide 7% of users’ searches and could eventually include the entire market.

Google’s Passage Ranking update gives us a new perspective on how Google examines and ranks long-form content by picking sections within them.

With the understanding of Google’s brand new Passage Ranking method that examines the long-form content of a web page to index passages of that page, it is possible to use the Passage Ranking google is about the following feats.

1. Determine Whether These Passages Are Relevant To A Searcher’s Query Or Not

Understanding Google Passages

If the query is a long-tailed three to five phrase, the user is looking for an example specific to the query, and therefore, the update to the Passage decides which content ranked on SERPs is more relevant.

2. Give Google A Better Understanding Of The Content Of The Page

Google is constantly evolving technology. Therefore, the algorithm update is adapting mistakes and negative feedback to develop an algorithm that can comprehend the meaning of information and give the most relevant content in that regard.

3. Empower SERPs With The Most Relevant Results (Better Answers), That In Return, Creates A Better User Experience

User experience is the main aim of the Google search engine. Providing the most relevant and unique answer to a query will offer 5-star reviews and more user interaction to improve the user experience.

The Google passage-based ranking results in more organic traffic from Google. For you, the main idea is that relevancy and user experience are the primary purposes of what passes through the indexing of today’s content.

In addition, The Google Passage Ranking feature also allows the search engine to assess the differences between the subjects of various pages and score them in a specific way.

That’s how the upgrade to the Passage finds the most relevant portion of the content. It assists users in ranking that portion in the SERPs at the top, along with other long-formatted content.

Google Passage Ranking Impact On SEO

The update to the ‘Passage Indexing’ algorithm of 2021 stated that Google’s passed-based ranking was merely an additional code for the algorithmic algorithms of search engines.

It was thought to be another small step to reach the giant objective of a better user experience and exceptional results.

To offer complete, pertinent, efficient, and accurate solutions to users’ queries for a specific query, this indexing update doesn’t appear to have significantly impacted rankings for websites in SERPs.

The problem is: how does this impact your company?

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The reality is that it doesn’t affect your business too much and is comparable to other updates like Featured Snippets, which Google already employs; therefore, if you’ve already implemented the strategy of content based on these guidelines, you don’t need to worry about ranking.

Understanding Google Passages

According to a new statistics study, “70% of featured fragments contain short paragraphs (a mean of 42 words/249 words).”

This figure confirms that the featured excerpts, despite listing and bullets, and even the order in which they are placed, can still show passages 70 percent of the time.

It is therefore not necessary that Passage ranking could have been the cause of your decrease in ranking.

The cause likely was zero since this is simply Google changing its algorithm to make it better and more flexible to the goals of its service, which is to deliver users a better experience.

However, the Google passage-based ranking is helpful, but it does contribute to a greater need for SEO strategies that must be implemented for better user experience and ranking.

One strategy is:

User Intent and Passage Ranking Connection

In the end, Google is all about its users, so strategies are put in place along with algorithms that study the actions of users and preferences.

If you were an individual, you might be asking:

1. What are their (target people)?

2. What are they looking for?

3. What is the significance of their particular search?

The questions are designed to create a highly-searched, efficient, relevant, and accurate display of results on SERPs. The main thing common to the queries is understanding the user’s primary intent by the search phrase.

For instance, if I typed “Black Coffee” for example, I would find “Black.”

Do you think I’ll be able to find the information I’m trying to find?

There is no answer due to a lack of the user’s intent; Google or any other search engine will be unable to find out what the intended person is seeking to learn about.

There are tens of thousands of possibilities for the generic two-word phrase.

Therefore, as a person, I would suggest adding more words to create a more clear query that’s long-phrased and includes semantic keywords, for example.

  • What is a Black Coffee (showing an intent of informational character)
  • Where can I purchase Organic Black Coffee (showing the intention of the transaction)
  • What is the most influential Black Coffee Store (showing Navigational Intent)

User intent is a pillar of high-quality content that should provide the intended audience with informational, navigational, and transactional content to ensure the ease of searchers on the internet, as illustrated in the image below.

This is why the user’s intention is considered a factor by Google and, consequently, to pick the most relevant phrase to address the user’s question from millions of results from search.

Long-Form Content For Better Context

Lengthy content, also known as long-form content, is content with an initial length of 1000-3000 words. It offers in-depth information on particular topics asked by users on the internet.

According to a report from Hubspot, “Articles with a word count of between 2250 and 2,500 get the most organic traffic.”

A statistic from SEMrush concludes that “Longreads that are longer than 3000 words receive three times more traffic than posts with an average size (901-1200 terms).”

Both figures demonstrate the necessity of long text for websites to gain organic traffic, which is the primary purpose of any website marketing.

Thus, web pages containing valuable information in both the broad sense of the topic and specifics of subtopics are utilized as a ranking component. Even though it is not a significant factor on your site, it can help with:

  • Link Acquisitions
  • Organic Traffic
  • Social Sharing

These are the essential elements of an effective SEO strategy. They increase the visibility of your website and establish its credibility in the search engine by providing extensive and relevant blog content.

In the blogs mentioned, a page with the highest relevance to a search query will be ranked within Google, and you receive leads and traffic. And that’s how it works. This is why passing ranking updates still play an integral role in SEO, no matter how small it may be.

Long-Tail Keywords Value has Risen

The ranking factor is something that Google seldom discussed in the social setting. The modifications are just algorithms designed to improve the SERPs’ user experience by delivering the most relevant and unique results to their search queries.

Google Passage Ranking update looks for SEO-optimized content that has already applied long-tail keywords and other strategies that allow it to be even thought of as ranking material in Google.

This website ranking, which has been achieved, is superior to any ranking that many SEO services use to index passage.

This does, however, highlight the necessity of long-tail keywords in the text because these keywords are tailored to users’ queries, and they assist you in gaining a place on the search engine results pages; in addition, they help you increase the traffic that Google considers to be the authority of your website.

This will help you to be able to match the algorithm of the search engine and also the automated tools to select your site for Passage Ranking as per searchers’ specific query’s relevant page on the blog.

If you want to know how to improve the content on your website for Passage Ranking, don’t go further.

Start by implementing the three pillars that make up your site’s optimization, off-page and Technical SEO. Google’s Google Passage Ranking upgrade is all about learning for Google, comprehending content, and providing context-based responses to a searcher’s question.

The Effects Of Passage Ranking to Other Updates

The Google algorithms are part of a tradition of more than two decades of breaking and rewriting some of the old guidelines and rules that aid in developing and improving new algorithms, such as Passage Ranking.

This is why I am here to answer the question regarding Google Passage Ranking affecting other updates:

Featured Snippets

Featured Snippets is a section of SERPs named #0. It’s the primary way to choose a specific section of content which could be videos, images, or list (and bullets and numbers) content.

Keep an eye out for the most recent revision of “Passage Ranking” for 2021; the choice of portions of the long-form content could be as simple as three lines or audio.

The content here doesn’t require extensive understanding or research but is only pieces of content relevant to the user’s query. They are two different systems within Google’s Algorithm.

SMITH Language Processing

In early January 2021, Google released a new version of SMITH that is a new way of comprehending a whole document down to its fundamentals.

In the SMITH method, Language processing is taught to recognize words within sentence contexts.

This processing language was said to have outperformed another one of Google’s BERT updates, but in reality, Google doesn’t specify the algorithm used to rank websites.

In contrast to the ‘Passage Ranking’ program, it can comprehend the meaning of words in their contextual context. What differentiates them from other programs is that SMITH examines long-form content while the updates for ‘Passage Rating’ focus on short paragraphs.

BERT Update

The BERT algorithm is designed to anticipate data sets and create an algorithm with random words that could be described as semantics to the subject and are utilized to answer users’ queries.

In the same way that SMITH predicted the following sequence of sentences, BERT is about the “semantic match between long texts.”

This is the reason why BERT can better examine documents with a short length to discover semantic connections, patterns between text fragments, and more efficient document matching performance by using This BERT and SMITH updates from Google does not credit all passages; however, as a whole, they demonstrate their value to enhance the algorithm. 

Featured Snippets, even though they are often a few paragraphs, are featured small snippets of content, often highlighting videos and listings.


Initially, ‘Passage Indexing’ changed into ‘Passage Ranking.’ It is primarily a tiny portion of the more extensive flawed Google algorithm. It’s just an algorithm tweaked, which monitors website owners to determine whether they are acting appropriately or not.

It is believed that the Passage Ranking is most probably performed on websites that are to be Search Engine Optimized and have already been ranked.

The only thing we can do is keep up-to-date with the latest and evolving algorithm used by Google Search, which now includes passing indexation reports.

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