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What Is Passage Ranking? What Is Passage SEO?

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In this new article, we are talking about passage ranking (passage indexing) and passage SEO, and what it all means for your overall ranking on Google.

Let’s get started!

Passage indexing, passage ranking.

Google recently announced a really interesting update to Google search when they introduced us to passage-based indexing also being referred to as Passage Ranking.

So what is passage indexing and why is it important for SEO?

Google search now, not only index’s web pages but now has the ability to index and rank passages within that page.

Basically, paragraphs within a post can now rank for given search terms that they may answer.

Google can now pick out the best bits from a post.

Before those hidden gems may well have been lost under the total bulk of content on the page.

So what is passage indexing and why is it important for SEO?

Whole web pages are still indexed the same as before. But now sections of pages can now get the attention they deserve in search.

This is an SEO ranking change and not an indexing change and that is why it is so important for SEO

Before the change content was ranking on the SERP’s after being indexed with the search algorithm looking at the page as a whole for its relevancy to a users search terms.

This change gives Google the ability to look more closely at sections/passages of the page that may answer a search query and delivers them to the SERP’s.

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What Is Passage Ranking? Definition and Example

Passage Ranking is when Google indexes your page and selects a passage of text that best answers the searcher’s user intent (the reason why they are searching) and shows it within the SERP’s.

Below is an example of how it works and displays on a laptop.

NB: This example is working as of the time of writing this article.

If you were to Google Mobile Seo Guide 2020 you are shown the result below on page one right at the very top of the page.

What Is Passage Ranking? Definition and Example - search result screen capture

If you then click on the result you’re taken to the page and scrolled down to the passage.

Google highlights the ranking passage in yellow so that the answer stands out and is visible to the user straight away.


What is Passage SEO?

Passage SEO is the optimisation of a page’s content that enables passages or sections of the page to rank on the SERP’s for requested terms that are related and relevant to the passages.

Here are some quick tips on how to optimise passages for SEO

Optimising Passages For SEO

  1. Each passage should start with an H2 heading with H3 used where required within the passage.
  2. The length of passages should ideally be between 300 and 400 words
  3. Your heading should contain the keyphrase for the passage
  4. Use the keyphrase withing the passage along with synonyms
  5. Use images and video where possible
  6. Images used should be optimized incorporating the keyword phrase
  7. All passages should be closely related for the pages total relevancy
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Is Passage SEO The Same As Rich Snippet Optimisation?

Passage based ranking does sound a lot like the featured snippets that you often see displayed in the SERP’s

The big difference is that Google will now determine the relevance of the content by looking at all the individual sections within a post where as a featured snippet is determined as the most relevant section of the content that is identified to be relevant to a search request.

You could technically passage rank multiple passages on the SERP’s whereas a snippet is a single section that ranks.

A web page as a whole may not be super relevant to a given search term and so you would get very few hits for those terms however passage ranking/passage SEO gives you the ability to surface content even if the page is not seen as super relevant because passages or sections can be.

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What Is Passage Ranking? What Is Passage SEO? – Takeaways

Optimization of your content has never been more important for SEO.

If you now optimize for passage SEO within your posts and pages you have the possibility of ranking individual sections of any given post even if the total page is not that relevant for a given search term.

To your continued success

Regards Dexter


Now it is over to you.

Do you optimize for passage SEO?

Are you getting results in the SERP’s

Let us know in the comments section below!


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What Is Passage Ranking? What Is Passage SEO?
Article Name
What Is Passage Ranking? What Is Passage SEO?
In this new article, we are talking about passage ranking (passage indexing) and passage SEO, and what it all means for your overall ranking on Google.
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Follow Dexter Roona:
Social Media Expert and Blogger. I love all elements of social media and my InfoBunny Blog is now really just about providing help for those looking to build their Social Media Authority.

8 Responses

  1. shweta
    | Reply

    The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lot of great information which can be helpful. Looking forward for more contents like this.

  2. Elvis
    | Reply

    wow, this is my first time hearing about passage SEO.
    At first, I thought it was a spelling mistake but I made a research on it and learned more.
    Thanks for the article, keep it up.
    Elvis recently posted…Social Media Manager ✰ [Everything You Need To Know]My Profile

  3. Sai Mithun
    | Reply


    When for the first time, I have seen that yellow highlight, I thought I have selected a specific area in post and hence it is highlighted. However, that’s a great milestone in Google’s search results ranking journey. I loved it to find exact & direct answers to our specific queries.

  4. Sathish Arumugam
    | Reply


    Really inspiring feature! Like any other featured snippet (People also ask, Knowledge Graph, Carousels, etc.) this passage ranking is yet another boost for a web page to drive traffic.

  5. Sara Gates
    | Reply

    Hi Dexter

    First of all, I would like to thank you for sharing this blog with us.
    First-time heard about passage SEO. Inspired one. had a great time with you.

    By Sara Gates

  6. Anthony Ferrara
    | Reply

    Wow! really amazing post and I hadn’t even heard about Passage Ranking! Thank you for informing me about this important SEO update.

  7. Louanne
    | Reply

    I know some things about passage ranking, but this post helped me a lot to understand more about it. Thanks! Keep posting!

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