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...
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