Google’s Reduced Emphasis on HowTo and FAQ Rich Results

2 min read

Google has made an official announcement about the reduction in visibility of two specific types of rich results, namely HowTo and FAQ.
In this update, FAQ rich results are gradually being phased out for most websites, though some exceptions may apply. Simultaneously, HowTo rich results will no longer appear in mobile device search results, focusing on limiting them to desktop devices.
As per Google’s statement:
“…we’re decreasing the prominence of FAQ rich results and confining How-To rich results to desktop devices.
This modification will be fully implemented worldwide within the next week.”


Google Enriched Outcomes


Google’s enriched outcomes represent a search feature designed to prominently showcase webpage content, offering enhanced listings that often yield additional traffic.
These enriched outcomes can take various forms, including carousels featuring larger images as seen in recipe cards, appearing in a sidebar, or including star ratings.
Both enriched outcome formats rely on structured data to activate them, necessitating additional efforts from publishers to qualify for these improved outcomes. HowTo enhance outcomes, for instance, utilize a specific type of structured data that displays images and step-by-step instructions for completing a task. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) enriched outcomes call for publishers to create question-and-answer content tailored to specific FAQs, along with the corresponding structured data.


FAQs Reserved for Government and Health Websites


Google’s decision to downgrade these two types of rich results is driven by its aim to offer users a more streamlined and consistent search experience.
In their official statement, Google has outlined that FAQ rich results, derived from FAQPage structured data, will subsequently be exclusively featured on well-established, authoritative government and health websites.
For all other websites, this rich result will no longer be displayed regularly. Eligibility for this treatment will be assessed automatically for sites.
This announcement is likely a setback for publishers who invested time in creating FAQ content and the associated structured data.


Is it Necessary to Eliminate FAQ & HowTo Structured Data?


Google does not consider structured data for generating rich results, although other search engines might utilize it. Therefore, removing the structured data may be optional.
For those who employ plugins or other tools facilitating the addition and removal of structured data, eliminating it should be a straightforward process.
Google’s recommendation is as follows:
“While you can eliminate this structured data from your website, there is no need to take proactive measures to remove it.
Structured data that is inactive does not pose any issues for search, nor does it produce discernible effects in Google Search.”


Diminished Visibility of HowTo Rich Results


Retaining HowTo structured data remains valuable since it’s not being completely phased out. Its absence is limited to search results on mobile devices, while Google will continue to present HowTo rich results for users on desktop devices.
The official announcement clarifies:
“How-To (utilizing HowTo structured data) rich results will exclusively be displayed for desktop users and won’t appear for users accessing Google from mobile devices.
It’s worth noting that Google’s mobile indexing entails indexing a website’s mobile version as the primary reference point. To ensure the display of HowTo rich results on desktop devices, your website’s mobile version must include the appropriate markup.”

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Shilpi Mathur
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