What is Passage Indexing, and What Does it Mean for SEO?

What is Passage Indexing, and What Does it Mean for SEO

What is passage indexing? If you’ve been working in SEO for any amount of time, chances are you’ve heard that phrase thrown around. A passage index is a weighted score of the words used in a sentence or paragraph. Search engines most commonly use it to determine how relevant a page is to a user’s query. But what does this mean for the average website owner?

What is passage indexing?

Passage indexing is a change to Google’s search algorithm that affects how results are ranked. Passage indexing can help you get more accurate results for specific queries, but it doesn’t work on individual passages or snippets.

The best way to understand passage indexing is by comparing it with featured snippets: both types of content appear in search results as answers to questions, but they’re different in some important ways.

More Accurate Results to Specific Queries

Passage indexing is a ranking change. It’s not a new type of search result, it’s not a new algorithm, and it’s not even a new search engine. Passage indexing is simply an adjustment to how Google decides which pages to show in response to certain queries (more on this later).

Passage indexing relies on the concept that when you enter a query into Google, there are likely many different ways you could phrase that same question. For example: “how do I use an app on my phone?” vs “how do I get an app?” vs. “what does ‘app’ mean?” 

Each of these three questions could be answered by the same piece of content; however, each would require slightly different phrasing from us as we try our best not only to answer those questions but also to make sure our answers stand out amongst all other results!

No Individual Passages Indexing

Regarding passage indexing, we refer to Google’s ability to recognize individual passages within a page and return them in search results. This differs from featured snippets, which are also new and more popularly known as “answer boxes.” Featured snippets show up at the top of SERPs (search engine result pages) when users enter specific queries. They are designed to help answer questions or provide quick information directly on the SERP itself.

Passage indexing is not something you can turn on or off; it’s an algorithm change affecting how Google crawls and indexes your content moving forward.

It Changes Ranking

Passage indexing is a ranking change. It’s a change in the way Google ranks results for specific queries.

If you’ve been paying attention to SEO news, then you know that passage indexing has been around since 2012 and is still being used today. It’s not new, but many people don’t understand what it means or why it matters for SEO–so let’s dive into that!

Passage Indexing and Featured Snippets are Not the Same

Passage indexing is a ranking change, while featured snippets are separate from the search results. You can see both in action by looking at this query: “what’s the best camera?”

If you’re using Google.com, you’ll see a box on top with two options: one with text and one without. If you click on either option, it will bring up an answer to your question (in this case, we chose to view the first result). 

The difference between passage indexing and featured snippets is that passage indexing applies across all queries, whereas featured snippets are only present for specific queries.

How to Prepare for Passage Indexing?

In order to prepare for passage indexing, you will need to ensure that your site is ready for the change. You can do this by yourself, or contact any of the SEO agencies listed on this page and let them take care of it. If, you decide to take a swing at it by yourself, you’ll want to ensure that:

  • Your keywords are well-chosen and relevant. Look at what people search for on Google, then use those words in your content. You can also look at what other websites have written about similar topics as an inspiration for more keyword ideas.
  • The anchor text on links pointing back toward your website is relevant (i.e., not just “click here”). For example, if someone links with the anchor text “a guide on how to build a bicycle,” it’s likely because they want people who click through their link to find out more about building bicycles; this means that “building bicycles” would be an appropriate keyword choice when writing copy around this link!
  • Page titles should include descriptive information about their topic – but don’t go overboard! It’s best practice not only because it helps searchers quickly understand what kind of content lies ahead (and thus increases engagement rates), but also because some engines penalize sites whose title tags are too long or contain irrelevant keywords/phrases unrelated directly related topics being discussed within page body itself.


Passage indexing is a major change in how Google searches and ranks web pages. It will affect how you create content, but it’s also an opportunity to improve the user experience on your site. If you’re ready for passage indexing and want to get ahead of the game before it launches, there are some things you can do right now.

The Do's and Don'ts of Writing an Effective New Hire Press Release Previous post Why it is challenging to get the team communication strategy right
Next post How to get into quantum computing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *