Changes to HowTo and FAQ rich results

Google Adjusts Rich Results Display: What Webmasters Need to Know

As the digital landscape shifts, so do Google’s methods of presenting data in its search engine results pages (SERPs). In a recent update, Google announced changes to its display of FAQ and How-To rich results in search, aimed at offering users a streamlined and consistent search experience.

Key Changes:

  1. FAQ Rich Results: These will now predominantly be reserved for recognized, authoritative government and health-related websites. The update means that other websites will rarely have these rich results displayed in the SERPs. Google’s determination of which sites are considered authoritative will be based on automated algorithms.
  2. How-To Rich Results: Such results will now only be visible to desktop users. With the emphasis on mobile indexing, Google clarifies that even though the How-To rich results are displayed on desktops, they rely on the mobile version of a website having the appropriate structured data markup.

Important Notes for Website Owners:

  • If you’ve been depending on these rich results to drive traffic, it’s worth checking your analytics and Google Search Console performance reports for potential declines in click-through rates from Google Search.
  • Despite these changes, Google advises against removing structured data from your websites. While unused structured data won’t have any visible effect in Google Search, it also doesn’t negatively impact search results.

Impact on Search Console Reporting:

Google Search Console will continue to display metrics for FAQ and How-To search appearances in the performance reports. However, a possible drop in the number of impressions for these categories might be observed, corresponding with the new updates. It’s crucial to note that this change won’t influence the total items reported in enhancement reports, and both search appearances and reports will still be accessible in Search Console for the foreseeable future.

Rollout Timeline:

Google has commenced the rollout of this update on a global scale, affecting all languages and regions. The process is expected to conclude within a week. This modification should not be perceived as a ranking change, and it won’t appear in the Search status dashboard. Some users might experience a delay in noticing these changes due to Google’s implementation of a small holdback experiment.

Google’s emphasis remains on enhancing user experience, and these alterations to rich results are a testament to that commitment. Website owners and SEO professionals should remain vigilant, adapt to these changes, and continue monitoring performance metrics. Any questions or concerns can be addressed through Google’s Search Central help community or their social media channels.

Source: Update shared by John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google Switzerland.

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