Latest Google Search Update: Passage Indexing & Subtopics

Latest Google Search Update: Passage Indexing & Subtopics

Latest Google Search Update: Passage Indexing & Subtopics

by Admin

Providing original, relevant and credible content has always been vital for attaining good SEO rankings, but thanks to the latest developments and changes to Google’s BERT technology as announced in October 2020, every last word and phrase will now count more than ever!

The new developments are:

  1. New spelling correction algorithm – Google is better than ever at deciphering misspelt words! Apparently one in ten Google queries are misspelled every day…
  2. Passage Indexing update – Google can now go deeper into your website content, identifying relevant words and phrases, not just headings and pages.
  3. Subtopics – using AI technology Google can now understand a topic and its related interests better, delivering a greater range of results options.

Passage Indexing:

Google now can show you a specific answer to your search query in SERP, and when you click on the link, the relevant text will also be highlighted.

“Very specific searches can be the hardest to get right, since sometimes the single sentence that answers your question might be buried deep in a web page. We’ve recently made a breakthrough in ranking and are now able to not just index web pages, but individual passages from the pages. By better understanding the relevancy of specific passages, not just the overall page, we can find that needle-in-a-haystack information you’re looking for. This technology will improve 7 percent of search queries across all languages as we roll it out globally.”

Here's an example:

Passage IndexingPassage Indexing

Sub-topics and Sub-headings:

Google is now able to further understand a topic and its related interests, making sub-headings essential.

“We’ve applied neural nets to understand subtopics around an interest, which helps deliver a greater diversity of content when you search for something broad. As an example, if you search for “home exercise equipment,” we can now understand relevant subtopics, such as budget equipment, premium picks, or small space ideas, and show a wider range of content for you on the search results page. We’ll start rolling this out by the end of this year.”

How does this affect SEO?

This is an improvement to Google on understanding your content. Google is now able to index and analyse sections of your content, where-as previously, they ranked the entire page. Now only specific text related to the search query will be shown. 

Note: this may lead to a decrease in CTR, if users do not want to proceed further.

Here's an example:

Sub-topics and Sub-headings

Quick tips for creating engaging and successful web copy, SEO articles and blogs:

  1. Think about specific search queries users will use. This can be common questions around your topic. Make sure you include these phrases in your content.
  2. Break down main topics, into subtopics of interests. Be detailed and specific with your content, not broad or general.
  3. Linking to internal content and external content on trusted sources, to help increase the credibility and SEO ranking of your content and site.

Do you need help with your SEO and creating relevant, high ranking content for your website? Contact us on 1300 818 188 to arrange a consultation.

About the author:

Tharindu Gunawardana – SEO Manager 

Tharindu Gunawardana – SEO Manager

Tharindu is a passionate digital marketing and SEO specialist with over 10-years of experience in planning and executing cross-channel digital media campaigns across the Asia Pacific region. When he’s not whipping up SEO strategies, or updating us on the latest Google algorithm update, he enjoys gaming and DIY projects. Connect with Tharindu on LinkedIn and Twitter.