Google Passages and How They Impact SEO

Google Passages and How They Impact SEO

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Google Passages
In October of 2020, Google announced that it would be releasing Passages, a new feature that allows Google to rank specific sections, or passages, of a web page rather than the web page as a whole. What this means for websites is that you may actually have more opportunities for the same page to rank on the SERP rather than just one for the whole page.

How Does Google Passages Work?

If a user has a very specific search query, sometimes an entire web page doesn’t fully answer that user’s question. Instead of having to recommend a page to a user that the user then has to scroll through to try to find the answer themselves, Google instead shares the most relevant passage within that web page as the search result to the user. It’s similar to a Featured Snippet in that just a snippet of text is shown, but that snippet is the search result. For users, this means more results that are more specific to their search.

How Does Google Passages Change SEO?

The short answer is that it doesn’t. Google still ranks your page as a whole. The addition of Google Passages gives each page more opportunities to rank because each section of the page can also rank independently of the page as a whole even while the entire page is also ranked. Backlinks, keywords, on-page SEO, UX signals, and all of the other factors Google takes into account in ranking pages still apply.

The only real difference for SEO is that every web page you have now has more opportunities to rank on Google’s SERP.

How Does Google Passages Change Website Content?

If you want to take advantage of the additional ranking opportunities offered by Google Passages, you should make sure that every web page on your site is well-organized. Google chooses the Passages to highlight on its own, but you can help to boost your rankings with Passages by properly organizing your content. 

How Do I Organize My Content for Passages?

Divide up your website content into discrete, definitive sections. Use subheaders to separate content and make it clear that each section is, in fact, separate from the others. Every section should be a subtopic of the overall web page. Because Google will still look at your webpage as a whole in addition to individual sections, all content should be relevant to the overall topic of the page.

How Long Should Content Be?

Google has already favored long-form content (3,000 words or more) over shorter content. Long-form content is more informative and is typically more helpful for users. On the SEO side of things, long-form content provided more opportunities for keywords and other on-site SEO features. The only downside was that shorter web pages that had a more focused topic would sometimes out-rank longer pages.

That changes with Passages, however. If your long-form content has a lot of sub-topics, even if the overall page isn’t as focused, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to rank for each sub-section of the page.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.