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Google confirms it doesn't index passages separately

Google has confirmed on Twitter much of what we wrote in our story: How Google indexes passages of a page and what it means for SEO. Google wrote “this change doesn’t mean we’re indexing individual passages independently of pages. We’re still indexing pages and considering info about entire pages for ranking. But now we can also consider passages from pages as an additional ranking factor…”

Here are the tweets, but most of this is just a confirmation of our original story that we wrote after speaking to a Google spokesperson. We asked that Google share this information on official channels.

Last week, we shared about how we will soon identify individual passages of a web page to better understand how relevant a page is to a search. This will be a global change improving 7% of queries:https://t.co/iQoXktmSkt

In this thread, more about how it works…. pic.twitter.com/2oqdoCkt6r

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 20, 2020

With our new technology, we’ll be able to better identify and understand key passages on a web page. This will help us surface content that might otherwise not be seen as relevant when considering a page only as a whole….

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 20, 2020

There’s nothing special creators need to do here. Continue to focus on great content, with all the advice we offer: https://t.co/gcM0rvYaFb

It just means in some cases, we may now do a better job of surfacing content, no work required on the part of creators.

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 20, 2020

Why we care. There has been confusion around this largely because Google’s initial language around the change was confusing: “now [we are] able to not just index webpages, but individual passages from those pages.” Sounds like separate indexing, right? As we clarified in our initial reporting and Google confirmed today, indexing hasn’t changed, just Google’s ability to parse out a relevant passage that may be well down a page and would not have stood a chance of ranking before. It’s somewhat sematic, but it’s important to understand how the technology works.

The good news for content creators and SEOs, is that this technology will help us create content in ways that best serve our audiences. You don’t have to be pre-occupied with thinking about breaking up content to be optimized around a single idea or keyword.

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