We’ve covered the topic of Google passage ranking with tons of articles over the past several months (just do a site search here for that topic). But in this past Google video hangout with John Mueller, John explained in a nice way what passage ranking is all about.
In short, John said passage ranking is not about ranking a specific passage but understanding the content on a really long, not SEO optimized page, and ranking that page (not the passage) for a query where the passage is relevant.
It is probably best you listen to how John explained it, it is a good refresher. He starts off at the 43::20 mark by reading off the question and then giving his answer. Here is the video followed by the transcript:
I have a question related to passage ranking. If Google search is using a certain passage of a page would there be a way that Google search could link directly to that passage. For example if the passage is an anchor link like this one.
I took a look at that URL and I wasn’t really able to see like what what you were trying to show there. So I’m not not quite sure in that regard.
With regards to passage ranking in general. That’s kind of one of the things that we’ve started doing to try to understand on a much longer page which kind of several unique almost like parts of a page within the same page to understand that the the page itself can be relevant to specific parts of the content. So it’s not so much that we would pull out like one sentence of this page and then just rank that higher or show that differently. But rather we essentially take a really long page and usually these are pages that are not super SEO optimized if you want and it has like different intents almost on the same page and we recognize oh this one section on the bottom is
actually very relevant and almost like a unique article that we can show in search. And then the the passage ranking system essentially says well there’s lots of stuff on this page that is not relevant but this one part is super relevant. And then we will rank this page because of that one part.
So that’s something where it’s it’s more a matter of ranking the page rather than pointing out a specific part of a page.
But at the same time we we do try to understand things like anchors within a page as well. So it’s like you you have this the hash editorial part at the end of your URL which i assume could point to a different part of the page. And we do try to understand that we sometimes include that in sitelinks when we show the page itself.
And the the other aspect is sometimes we take things that we show in a featured snippet and also link to that directly on the page. Which we can do with, I forgot new some new html API where essentially you add something to url where it goes to that specific text segment of the page. But kind of that jumping to that part of the page that is essentially separate from passage ranking.
So in short I don’t really have a great answer for you other than that perhaps has helped to explain like what passage ranking is. But kind of the jumping to a specific part of a page that’s something that is almost like if we can figure it out we’ll try to do that but it’s not something that we will automatically do just because it’s there on a page.
Forum discussion at YouTube Community.