Google: do not optimize for passage indexing

Google’s John Mueller said in a webmaster hangout on YouTube that it’s not necessary to optimize for Google’s new passage indexing feature. You just need a well-structured website:

“[Passage indexing] is not what we would consider a core update. It’s more about ranking these passages from existing pages rather than indexing them 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.

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 of those parts are relevant for user’s query. […]

You should make sure that you have clear headings and that you have well-structured content on your pages so that we can recognize these sections, which, to me, is kind of obvious. […]

One thing I would caution from is trying to jump on the train of trying to optimize for these things, 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, under the bar, have any advantage over what you had before.

If you already have clean pages, if they’re already easy to recognize by search engines, if they have clean titles and headings and they focus on individual topics, then that’s essentially what search engines need to be able to understand what this page is about and when to show it to users.”

You can view the video here:

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Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "http://blog.seoprofiler.com".