On February 10, 2021 Google posted the ranking of the passages online. But only for the American version of the leading search engines. This is what Danny Sullivan of Google posted on twitter. Optimum Circle takes a look back at Google Pass Indexing and what that will change.

What is Google Passage Ranking?

Now, passages from a web page can be taken into account. But what does this mean exactly? Google explained that “Very specific searches can be the hardest to do because sometimes the only phrase that answers your question can be buried deep in a webpage. We recently made a breakthrough in ranking and are now not only able to to index web pages, but also individual passages within the pages. By better understanding the relevance of specific passages, and not just the overall page, we can find the information of a haystack that you are looking for.”


The goal is for the algorithm to better understand the passages. And therefore to better position these passages and extracts from the same web page. In particular, it can help find hidden information that they deem relevant. Even if it is in a page which does not necessarily deal with this subject. Basically, while this passage doesn’t deal with the main topic of the page, Google will tell itself that it remains relevant to its own specific topic. And then compare it to other internet pages talking about the same subject. Suddenly, this allows the different content of a page or content on a common theme in your site to be positioned in the SERPs according to their subject.

Classification change, no indexation

But you have to differentiate between change of classification and indexing. Indeed, in October 2021, in its previous announcement, Google called it a change in indexing. But the American giant backed down to rename it this way. This represents a ranking change in how Google ranks content, based on what it finds on your web page. The search engine does not index passages on the same page. On the contrary, it zoning everything that is on this page to better show the passages and thus classify them. Google still continues to index pages as a whole. This is only an additional feature in its ranking.

Passage Indexation : 7% on US search results

Initially, Google announced that passage ranking could affect around 7% of searches in all languages ​​when rolled out globally. But to do this, we will have to be patient. Indeed, since February 10, the classification of passages is exclusively reserved for the American version of Google. And it should also have an impact of about 7% on US searches.

The US version of Google has the exclusive rights to change the ranking of passages since February 10, 2021. A change of ranking, not indexing. This can allow the search engine to better understand passages and excerpts from the same web page and classify them according to their own theme, even if it is not the same main subject of the page. In the long run, this could affect 7% of searches in all languages. For now this figure should be similar for the US version. You will therefore need to be patient to benefit from this change in classification.