Google Passage Ranking & Scroll To Text/Snippet Are Unrelated

Feb 15, 2021 • 7:41 am | comments (1) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

With the launch of passage ranking this past week, there has been a lot of confusion about if you can "see" these in the Google search results. The answer is no, you cannot see them in the search results as we covered last week, December 2020 and in October 2020.

Back in October, Danny Sullivan of Google said "It's not going to look any different. It's just a way to better identify web pages that are relevant to a query."

In December 2020 I asked Danny if it would look different, he said no:

I then shared why we are confused:

So I asked again, since last week, there was still a ton of confusion if you can see it through scroll to text/snippet feature we see on some featured snippets and now some product results. I asked Danny about that in December as well and he said no:

But then I asked them all again, the end of last week and nothing really has changed. Danny said "it doesn't work like that. It's one of many ranking factors we use to serve results overall."

John Mueller of Google said on Twitter those are two different things:

He even said Google might strip out this information from Search Console maybe because of the confusion:

The scroll to text fragments, i.e. #:~:text=, is not related to passage indexing. In fact, I see less of them show up in Search Console the past week than I did several months ago.

So then I even asked John about this in the Friday video hangout. I asked it right at the beginning, 46 seconds in, here is the transcript:

Barry Schwartz: Passage ranking was launched Wednesday night pacific or Wednesday afternoon pacific time and there's a lot of confusion in the industry. I just want one clarification.

I know Danny Sullivan said it's gonna look exactly like any other snippet, it's not gonna look like a feature snippet, it's not gonna look like a weird snippet, even though you guys had an image of a snippet looking differently in the tweets about it.

One, confirm that and then two are the passage ranking snippets using scroll to text feature that are in some features snippets and other elements? Those two questions.

John Mueller: I don't know about either of them.

So I think like with the the first question, I don't really know how how that will be shown and it's hard for me to tell because I never see it here in Switzerland. Danny [Sullivan] might know more there he's been a bit more involved with that directly.

With regards to the scroll to snippet part, I believe that's something that we're just still experimenting with. So not necessarily that it will automatically use that or that it's like always use that or not. But my understanding is that's still something where we're not 100 sure how that will be embedded in the long run.

Barry Schwartz: For specifically passage ranking or for any general snippet?

John Mueller: Just in general just in general. Yeah.

Barry Schwartz: Do you know if they're being tested for, I mean would there be a difference before testing that in passage ranking versus any other snippet?

John Mueller: I don't think there would be there would necessarily be a big difference there. I did see some tweets from people saying oh we're starting to see this more in Search Console since you launched this and I don't know if that's more of a coincidence or if that's kind of like directly tied to that or not.

Here is that video embed:

So there, passage ranking and the scroll-to-text and the snippet interface are unrelated and there is no expectation from Google, outside of the initial incorrect marketing on this, that the results will look any different.

Finally, I have seen ZERO evidence of anyone really spotting a snippet ranked because of the new passage ranking yet.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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