Google Search To Show FAQ & HowTo Rich Results Less Often

Aug 9, 2023 - 7:21 am 52 by

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Google said you will soon see fewer FAQ and HowTo rich results showing up in the Google Search results. Why? I assume because there is just too many of these rich results being displayed in search that Google is now making the benchmark to show them much higher. This is "rolling out globally, in all languages and countries, over the course of the next week," Google wrote. Although John Mueller from Google said nope.

Google said, "To provide a cleaner and more consistent search experience, we're changing how some rich results types are shown in Google's search results."

Also, you do not and probably should not, remove your structured data. The FAQPage structured data and HowTo structured data should likely stay on your pages. "While you can drop this structured data from your site, there's no need to proactively remove it. Structured data that's not being used does not cause problems for Search, but also has no visible effects in Google Search," Google wrote. Google added these rich results in 2019 and I guess it is being over done...

FAQ Rich Results Reserved For Authoritative Sites

Google said for FAQ rich results, they will "only be shown for well-known, authoritative government and health websites" in the Google search results.

What about the other sites? Google said it may be shown but Google added it will "no longer be shown regularly" for all other sites.

How do you get your site to show these? Well, Google said "sites may automatically be considered for this treatment depending on their eligibility," so there is not much you can do but try to make your site better???

HowTo Rich Results On Desktop Search Only

When it comes to HowTo rich results, Google said it is removing them from the mobile search results and will only show them going forward on desktop search. Google said, "How-To (from HowTo structured data) rich results will only be shown for desktop users, and not for users on mobile devices."

What about mobile first indexing? Google said, "Note that with mobile indexing, Google indexes the mobile version of a website as the basis for indexing: to have How-To rich results shown on desktop, the mobile version of your website must include the appropriate markup."

Here is a before and after screenshot from Google of an FAQ rich result going away:

click for full size

Search Console Changes

I hope none of you lose your rich results here but I'd expect a lot of us to see them disappear. That means that you may see less traffic from Google search and a drop in click-through rates in Search Console.

Google addressed this in their blog post by writing, "For both of these items, you may also notice this change in the Search Console reporting for your website. In particular, this will be visible in the metrics shown for FAQ and How-To search appearances in the performance report, and in the number of impressions reported in the appropriate enhancement reports. This change does not affect the number of items reported in the enhancement reports. The search appearances, and the reports, will remain in Search Console for the time being."

Google posted in the Search Console data anomalies help document under the performance report and rich results report on August 8, 2023:

Google Search is showing HowTo and FAQ rich results types less frequently. FAQ rich results will only be shown for a very limited number of sites. HowTo rich results will only be shown on desktop devices. As a result, you will see the number of reported impressions for these types drop.

Other Things To Know

Here is a screenshot of a snippet you might want to check in a week or two:

I should add, Google has shown fewer rich results over the years many times, so this should not come as a huge surprise to many.

I bet a lot of you are saying, well Google got our structured data now and there is zero reward for it... I get you...

John Mueller from Google did say this is independent of abuse or overuse :)

More JohnMu Q&A:

Ryan Levering from Google added on Mastodon, "FAQ was out of control IMO... It was making structured data look like a spam vector, like aggregate ratings abuse."

And it has begun:

Forum discussion at Twitter and Black Hat World Forums and WebmasterWorld.


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