Passage Indexing Optimization

passage indexing optimization

What is Passage Indexing?

Google passage indexing is a tool that automatically pulls portions of pages into search engine results, even if the page covers a somewhat different topic than the primary one.

What exactly does that mean?

Consider the following example: Assume you wrote a lengthy article regarding stock marketing. Your goal was to cover the entire topic, so you included sections on how to be a successful stock marketer, what stock marketing tools to utilise, the most prominent stock marketing networks, and how to get started in affiliate marketing.

That’s a lot of important content, but it also means the entire piece is unlikely to score well for terms like “affiliate marketing networks” because only one portion covers the subject.

With passage indexing, Google can pull out sections of your content and rank them independently of the rest of the page. For example, your section on stock marketing tools might rank for that keyword, even if the entire post isn’t optimized for it.

For example, this is how passage indexing impacts search results – Google bolds certain words it deems relevant to the search. It always prioritizes the keywords that show the content is likely to be useful for a specific query.

Passage Indexing vs. Featured Snippets: What’s the Difference?

Featured snippets provide consumers with a fast solution to brief inquiries, eliminating the need for users to click to find the answer to their inquiries.

For example, if you search “what time is it in London,” Google displays the answer at the top of the search engine results page without requiring you to click on a result.

Passage indexing is a completely new technique that examines the content of a website, assesses whether parts of the page answer a search query, and displays those results in the SERPs.

How Does Passage Indexing Work?


According to a blog post, Google employs BERT and neural nets to better interpret content and rank passages. Google continues to index the full page, but while crawling it, it searches for content and the significance of passages. Each passage is annotated and ranked and scored separately.

Google has also accepted that the adjustment will only affect 7% of search queries, so don’t expect major changes. If your website is already highly rated, passage indexing may not be very beneficial for you.

Sites with useful long-form content that isn’t properly optimised, on the other hand, may notice a slight increase in rankings and, as a result, traffic. 

Instead of focusing on formulaic components such as keyword density, it appears that passage indexing is the next step in employing AI algorithms such as RankBrain to better understand the context of the content.

Remember that passage indexing influences the ranking of specific passages rather than the pages that Google indexes.

What Is the Difference Between RankBrain and Passage Indexing?

RankBrain is a machine learning-based system that aids Google in processing search results and delivering the most relevant results to users. Passage indexing is an automated method that annotates long passages of content. It is not an algorithm.

How Does Passage Indexing Affect SEO?

How concerned should you be with passage indexing in terms of SEO? For most websites, it will have little to no effect on their SEO. Sites that detect a change in traffic will almost probably see an increase in traffic.

There are, however, a few minor distinctions worth noticing.

Long-form content is more likely to rank for a broader range of keywords. As a result, sites with shorter material may see a slight drop in ranking while longer-form content enjoys a rise.

On-page SEO methods, such as employing the correct header and optimising anchor text, are also more crucial than ever for sites. Pages with less SEO but superior content may outrank you.

If you haven’t started generating long-form content till now, now is the time to start. Even if the page’s SEO isn’t ideal, Google shows that it’s eager to assist consumers to find important content. E-commerce sites with less content have fewer chances to change their Google ranking.

What Sites Will Be Affected by Passage Indexing?

The adjustment will especially benefit websites with long-form material that isn’t well optimised. Publishers with a strong SEO plan, eCommerce sites with shorter content, and websites missing long-form content are unlikely to see any changes.


What Are the Advantages of Indexing Passages?

Let’s discuss why you should care, now that we’ve covered what passage indexing is, how it works, and what influence it could have on our SEO. Is there any benefit to this change, or is it just another tiny change that you can ignore?

There are several advantages to passage indexing:

  1. Longer-form content will benefit from this move, which will help it rank higher for more precise keywords.
  2. Focus on users, not Google bots: Google is once again indicating that it prefers site owners to create information that is valuable to users rather than what the search bots look for.
  3. Long-tail keywords have never been more important: Long-tail keywords and related topics are more likely to trigger passage indexing, therefore include phrases and longer terms, exactly like for voice search.
  4. On-page SEO elements may be (somewhat) less important: Google’s spokesperson has highlighted that this adjustment is intended to aid pages with exceptional content that aren’t fully optimised. If the pages have fantastic content, they won’t be penalized, but don’t neglect the on-page totally. Sites in highly competitive industries will benefit from great content and on-page optimization.

It’s also worth noting that this change will have no effect on Google rankings or traffic for the vast majority of websites. This is a minor update designed to assist visitors in locating sites with useful material that may not be fully optimised.

What Impact Will Passage Indexing Have on SEO in the Future?

Although passage indexing is a minor modification in Google’s ranking system, it is worth noting. Google has already stated several times that users come first, and this is yet another example of that. Although SEO is important, you should focus on your users before everything.

It also demonstrates Google’s commitment to leveraging AI to understand a page’s context. To better analyze the context, Google employs RankBrain, DeepMind, machine learning, and natural language processing. This is a continuation of their work.

This is fantastic news for digital marketers! Google attempts to make its search results as relevant as possible to users. However, optimising mediocre content is no longer sufficient.


I hope you must have understood what passage indexing is, why it is crucial for your site, and how it can help you boost your Google rankings.

Remember that the vast majority of website owners will not need to make any changes and will not encounter any loss of Google search engine rankings. However, Long-form content sites may see a little increase in traffic and rankings. The search engine is still focused on providing the best possible experience for users, which indicates that marketers should focus their efforts in the same direction.

Additional Readings:

Quiz of Passage Indexing

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Passage Indexing Optimization

 Increase your knowledge

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Long-form content are more likely to be effected by Passage indexing

2 / 5

Passafe indexing is not an algorithm

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Passage indexing & Featured Snippets both are same

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What Are the Advantages of Indexing Passages?

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What does passage indexing mean?

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