February 2021 – Passage Ranking

What happened?

Google constantly tries to make an effort to update the way it understands what we’ve written on our websites and the meaning behind the words we use on the search engine.

They felt that they didn’t quite understand the nuance of natural language as well as they should. They’ve recently made a breakthrough, and updated the way they rank websites to be more accurate.

When you write a blog post, you’re thinking about how other humans will perceive the content and context, not a computer. Sure, you may add a few keywords to help Google, but you still need humans to understand it. Google has made an update for a better grasp of what we’ve all written on our sites.

From Google themselves:

“By understanding passages in addition to the relevancy of the overall page, we can find that needle-in-a-haystack information you’re looking for”.

This image from Google illustrates it perfectly:

Google passage update example
An answer to a simple question before and after this Passage update

On the left, you can see what would have shown on Google before the update, and on the right, how they’re understanding the nuance to answer questions properly.

Before, they didn’t directly address the question, whereas now they do.

Action needed


There is nothing you can do or need to do for this update — it’s merely just the way Google understands what you’ve written.

Something that may help is adding related questions to the bottom of your blog posts. You can see how I do this in my more recent articles.

Ranking factors


Winners and losers



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