What is Google Passage Ranking and How it Will Affect the Search Results?



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Also termed as Passage Indexing, the Google Passage Ranking is a big announcement from the search engine major in 2020. The topic garnered a significant amount of attention, debates, and misconception across the SEO sector, even though Google announced that it is only a small change.

The misconception and debates in the SEO industry were due to the word “Passage Indexing.” The phrase made many experts think that Google will now start indexing passages of the web pages than an entire page like it used to for a search result.

The article covers complete information about the topic, giving a broader idea about the functionality and how it will affect the search results in the coming days.

The Essence Of Passage Indexing

According to Google, it can now rank a website page based on a passage in relevance to the search parameter. Similarly, passage ranking is a procedure that helps the search engine to surface pages that have poor indexing structure, such as improper headings, no sections, etc.

The unique feature is that it does not require optimization for ranking a passage. The system will help diluted content achieve a good ranking that answers specific questions with accurate answers. Additionally, it is an internal change and will not change the SEO or the webmasters. Therefore, if you are part of an SEO team or a webmaster, you have nothing to do but learn about the topic out of curiosity.

The Details Of Passage Ranking and Indexing

Google announced the term Passage Indexing in the year 2020. The term indexing created a significant stir among the webmasters and SEOs, who thought Google will now begin indexing pages based on passages.

Seeing the commotion across the optimization agencies and webmasters, Google accepted that it selected a wrong term and quickly briefed about the new terminology. It stated that it would use it internally to change ranking but has nothing to do with page indexing.

What Is Passage Ranking?

Google will use specific passages available in a webpage for ranking purposes using the new algorithm it developed and which it intends to implement globally within the next few months. The search engine giant can now understand a passage in a page and decide if a fragment of text matches the search parameter.

The algorithm helps Google understand the text and analyze it separately from the entire webpage before it indexes and ranks the same. According to Google, passage indexing is like finding a needle in a haystack. The reason is due to the understanding of the passage and the entire content present on the page.

For instance, if you input a specific query like “how to ensure a website is indexable?” Google will provide tips on how you can index your website. Upon further scrolling the results, you will still find the same results. These are in-depth guides on how you can index a website. It is here that the passage ranking comes in handy for Google.

Using the new algorithm, Google will search and surface the pages from different websites that answer the query exactly rather than displaying the guides. Whether you call it passage-based indexing or ranking, it has nothing to do with indexing change.

The change you will notice is how Google will consider passages of a webpage in the ranking. As it understands the page’s entire content, with the passage indexing algorithm available, it will present more precise content to users who look for accurate answers to queries.

The Purpose Of Passage Ranking

All these years, Google followed a particular method in deciding whether to show a webpage or not, even if it had content relevant to a search query. It displayed the website or pages based on optimization, headings, etc. Things will change with the Google passages coming into the play. When ranking, Google will now consider the meaning of the entire webpage and individual passages. The result is to provide accurate and best results for search queries.

What Kind Of Webpages Will Benefit From The System?

Of course, many of the websites present on the Internet cannot rank in the top spots or the first page even with optimization and marketing because of low-quality content or improper indexing structure. Google’s passage-based ranking is an excellent opportunity for all the sites that:

  • Provides information on multiple topics.
  • Has a diversified content with no particular focus on a primary topic.
  • Covers a general topic.
  • Has no heading, subheadings, and paragraphs.
  • Has never used optimization.

With the Google passage indexing mechanism, both small and big websites can benefit from attracting customers. The following are the two examples of how these websites will profit:

  • A travel blog: The travel blog has information related to travel to different places and never used SEO for optimization. Further, the blog posts are not focusing on a single topic but contain details with immense experience and tips that Google can use at one point.
  • Health website containing health topics and guides: The health website covers multiple and general topics in its articles and guides. Google passages will help rank the site better, as it can understand a passage in an article or guide and display the same upon specific queries.

Will There Be a Difference Between Passage Ranking And Featured Snippets?

Features snippets and passage ranking are two different entities. The following are the primary differences:

  • Google shows and highlights a passage from a web page as a featured snippet to a search query.
  • Google’s featured snippet only displays relevant passages from a webpage, as it considers overall appropriate to the search query.
  • Google’s passage-ranking will show only the passage of a webpage containing the answer.

Is It Possible to Optimize Passage Indexing?

As said above, passage indexing from Google in an internal change and alters the ranking. It does not have any relation with SEO, and therefore, SEOs and webmasters have nothing to do with optimizing passage indexing.

When Passage Indexing Will Come into Effect and How It Will Change the Search Results?

Google rolled out the passage indexing mechanism in the United States and plans to roll it globally in the coming few months. According to the search engine giant, implementing the indexing algorithm will impact at least 7% of all the search queries worldwide.

There will be a change in the search results, as webpages with relevant information or passages will show up in a search result. It will benefit both small and large websites and users who use long-tail keywords to search for answers.


Google’s passage indexing is a boon to all the websites. With the changes implementing worldwide shortly, it will provide accurate and better results to search queries, especially that use long-tail keywords and phrases.

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