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Google On Passage Indexing: It's Not A Core Update, Again It's Ranking Not Indexing & Don't Optimize For It
by Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Roundtable
Nov 2, 2020

In this past Friday's webmaster video with Google's John Mueller, the first question he was asked was about passage indexing. In short, John responded saying that this passage indexing change is (1) not a core update, (2) not about indexing and (3) you don't have to optimize for it. ...

It is a big update, 7% of the results will be impacted when it goes live, but it is not core update related.

John said "It's not a core update. I mean we we wouldn't consider the core update. I think core update is kind of an arbitrary term anyway but it's it's not what we would consider a core update."

John reiterated that saying "it's more about ranking these passages from existing pages rather than indexing them in the individually. So more about recognizing this is a big page and this is a part of the page that is particularly relevant to this query that is coming, so we'll focus on that part of the page. So it's not that there's a separate passage index or anything like that involved. It's really more about understanding the page and the different parts of the page and being able to recognize which which of those parts are relevant for users query."

Can you optimize for passage indexing. The short answer is kind of no, Joen said "in general with with a lot of these changes one thing I would caution from is trying to jump on the train of trying to optimize for for these things."

In short, you should have nicely structured pages anyway. This update just lets Google figure out the structure of messier pages.

John added "because a lot of the changes that we make like these are essentially changes that we make because we notice that web pages are kind of messy and unstructured. And it's not so much that these messy and unstructured web pages suddenly have an advantage over clean and structured pages. It's more well we can understand these messy pages more or less the same as we can understand clean pages. So if you take a clean page and you try to make it messy so that it works well for this new kind of setup, then I don't think you would kind of have any advantage over over what you had before."

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