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What is Passage Rank and how will it impact my website?

BY TOM HART | February 23, 2021

Earlier this month Google tweeted that Passage Ranking is now live for English Language queries in the United States. This update was announced last year and website managers, along with SEO professionals, have been waiting on Google to reveal when it was going to be rolled out.

What is Passage Rank?

This update, announced by Google, is designed to improve the efficiency at which users can find answers to their searched terms.  There is now the option for Google to rank a passage from a webpage, rather than a full webpage and relying on the user finding the answer somewhere on the page.

What does this mean for my website?

With almost every update Google announces, it also comes with a statement saying that there is nothing specific that website owners should do and there will be minimal impact on rankings. From an SEO perspective, it is always wise to treat this with a pinch of salt. There have been many updates that Google has rolled out, after promising minimal disruption, where there have been large scale ranking changes and various websites have lost or gained huge numbers of visitors.  

Trust Google?

In this instance, it looks like Google was honest in saying there was little for website owners to worry about. The update happened a week ago and so far, there have been no reports of any huge gains or huge losses which is always reassuring.

Who will this impact?

From what Google has been saying, and seemingly is accurate, is that this update probably won’t impact you if you already have a well-structured and informative website. The reported aim of the update is to give a helping hand to websites that aren’t that well structured or designed.

For example, if your website provided information on car manufacturers, a well-structured website would have pages for each individual car manufacturer providing knowledgeable information on each page to make sure it ranked for relevant search terms.

On the flip side, a poorly structured website may have multiple manufacturers listed on one webpage, making it hard for Google to understand and rank the page for potentially relevant search terms.

With this new update, Google will be better placed to understand these unstructured pages and give them a chance of appearing in search results.

Do I need to do anything?

If you have a well-structured website, based on what we have seen in the US, you should see no impact after the update rolls out in the UK. If you don’t have a well-structured website, you will have a ‘better’ chance of ranking but from what we have seen it is very unlikely to drive you much, if any, more traffic.

If you have a poorly structured website get in contact, we can help with that and probably a whole lot more. Contact us on  0203 368 8556 or to see how we can help grow your brand online.


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