What is Google Passage Ranking? And Key Points to Remember

Many a time you tend to Google to search for some information about topics like Wonders of the world, Gaming laptops, etc. Other times, you use Google to get specific information such as Which mobile phones have a better screen-to-body ratio? So, when you are looking for specific information, instead of going thoroughly through a web page to find that piece of information, you want your answer quickly and precisely without any confusion.
In order to enhance the search experience for specific queries, a new feature called – Passage Ranking was introduced by Google. In October 2020 Google introduced the Passage Ranking system by the name of “passage indexing”, a new method that is used to rank specific passages from web pages on search results pages. But later the method got renamed to “passage ranking” –and went live on February 10, 2021, specifically for English US-based searches.
In this article, we will dig a little deeper into what Google Passage Ranking is, how it is going to impact your page ranking and what things content marketers should do to keep up with this new feature!

Google Passage Ranking and its Benefits

  • With this feature, you can find the needle-in-a-haystack information that you need. It can be seen as a small tweak through which the search engine can understand the content better and show the most appropriate results to searchers.
  • Google Passage Ranking is an automated technique that extracts passages and sections from web pages in the result pages, even if the page has a slightly different topic from the thing that you are looking for.
  • Prior to this feature, Google evaluated the topic of the page as a whole, reducing the likelihood that these individual passages could appear in search. But now, Google is identifying the most relevant passages and even single sentences that are hidden deep within web pages and are specific to search queries.

Google Passage Rank Working

Let us take an example:

  • Suppose a website had one single, in-depth page with a guide to design different types of websites: Social media website, Entertainment, Educational, etc -all websites in one page. Then Google would see that this page is on the general topic of “Types of Website.”
  • Now, let us look at another website that has several pages with a guide to design each type of website. Google would decide that the website has information on specific topics like “Entertainment Site,” “Social Media site”, and so on. There would have been an upper edge in Google’s SERPs of those pages because the above-mentioned page on “Types of Website” in general is less specific and focused when compared.

Hence with Google Passage Ranking, Google can analyze and check if the longer page has several specific topics. Hence, most relevant passages and sections of longer pages can now rank higher in web searches.

Grab more information of Passage ranking by watching this video ,


Similarity b/w Passage Indexing and Passage ranking

Well, the answer is a big No.

  • Passage indexing was later reintroduced by the new name – Passage Ranking. Because the word “indexing” does not precisely reflect the working of this feature. There has not been any change in Indexing.
  • Google will keep on indexing full pages, rather short passages of pages. However, this ranking algorithm will look up on the content and the meaning of passages when finding relevant web pages, and will be able to list highly relevant passages on results pages. Earlier, the algorithm only looked at each page as a whole.

“In short, It is a ranking change, not an indexing change”.

The impact is on the ranking of content by Google. As always, the goal is to make the search process less cumbersome and more fruitful for users.


Passage Ranking and Featured Snippets Comparison?

In the early stage of Passage Ranking, passages were displayed as featured snippets. But recently it was clarified that these early renderings do not precisely show how the Passage ranking will be carried out.

In Passage Ranking passages are not displayed as snippets — it is just a better way to understand everything that a piece of content contains. It was also confirmed that passage ranking and featured snippets are completely separate techniques.

  • Featured snippets show instant answers to questions that can be answered in just a few lines.
  • Whereas in Passage ranking, you will find a typical blue link search result to a specific passage within a piece of content — and would not just be limited to quick, short answers.


Will content creators be affected by Passage Ranking?

According to Google, Passage Ranking is primarily focused to help content creators who are not using SEO-focused techniques while writing. But If you are quite an SEO- focused writer, you are less likely or won’t to be affected at all.

Google has improved their ability to search and rank relevant passages and sections that would otherwise be lost in not so well structured, long-winded pages.

Should content creators work differently now?

Well, there is Nothing extra to be done. It is a change that is pretty much internal and there is nothing that you need to do. It is just that Google is improvising its techniques at understanding the content of a page more precisely, and able to rank different sections of a page with relevant information.


So, is there really no implication for SEO-focused content creators?

We think that putting every effort into creating deep and thorough content sometimes does not bear fruits for content creators. Why? It is because Google had a hard time looking for specific search queries in the depths of your content. Google just could not identify the little passages that are most suited.

Well, not to worry now. Google improvised and became better. It can now easily identify and rank passages, so we can say that detailed and optimized content could lead to a greater number of views and maximize your content’s reach.

In Conclusion

Google Passage ranking feature is new, but the importance of SEO-focused writing practices has not changed. You should continue to create high-value, SEO-optimized that will help you grab a prime spot in Google’s search results. Do not solely rely on Passage Ranking now and stop structuring your content. Instead, you should see Passage Ranking as a bonus feature that will help Google dig up the little gems from within your optimized content.