Sena Yaptangco

By: Sena Yaptangco

Published On: November 14, 2023
2.8 min read

FAQ and How-to Rich Results Changes on Google

On the 8th of August, 2023, Google made a significant announcement to reshape how certain rich results are displayed within the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). These impending rich results changes aims to enhance the overall search experience, offering users a cleaner and more uniform interface.

In particular, Google revealed that it reduces the frequency of FAQ and How-to rich results in the SERPs over the next week. The intent is to make these results more exclusive and aligned with authoritative sources. Under the new guidelines, FAQ rich results will only be accessible for select, well-established government and health websites. The eligibility criteria for receiving FAQ rich results are yet to be fully disclosed, leaving the SEO community eagerly anticipating further clarification from Google.

However, the landscape for How-to rich results is set to undergo a noticeable alteration. These results will now exclusively appear on desktop devices, leaving mobile users without access. Considering Google’s mobile-first indexing strategy, this decision presents a unique challenge for website owners. Websites are advised to implement HowTo markup on both mobile and desktop versions to ensure compatibility with How-to rich results on desktop.

Importantly, it’s worth noting that this change isn’t expected to influence search rankings. Nevertheless, websites that have relied on FAQ and How-to rich results can anticipate a reduction in traffic and impressions, as reflected in the Google Search Console performance report.

What the SEO Community is Saying

The SEO community responded with a range of emotions to this announcement. For many, it marks a moment of reflection on the loss of valuable and content-rich rich results. John Mueller’s reference to “the tragedy of the commons” in response to some reactions sparks discussions. While concerns are raised about the overuse of FAQs are deemed “spammy.”

While this shift has raised concerns, Mueller has recommended a proactive approach. He emphasizes the importance of structured data in making web pages eligible for specific treatment in search results. Although additional structured data can enhance content understanding, Mueller suggests that visible effects or ranking changes might take time.

As we navigate this transformation, the industry closely monitors data from Schema Performance Analytics to understand the actual impacts. Initial observations after August 8th have yielded mixed results. Some clients have experienced drops in FAQ performance, while the Healthcare Industry has witnessed increases in FAQ impressions and clicks.

Here are valuable alternatives:

  1. Target Diverse Rich Results: Given the fluid nature of rich results, diversification is key. Google’s continuous algorithmic adjustments underline the importance of embracing various rich results.
  2. Continued Schema Markup:  Schema Markup is pivotal in enhancing machine understanding. As AI capabilities advance, structured content aids search engines in refining their accuracy.
  3. Prioritize Quality Content: Content remains king, and quality content that caters to human audiences remains central to success.

As the digital landscape evolves, it’s evident that adaptation is essential. By focusing on diversified rich results, Schema Markup implementation, and compelling content, websites can remain resilient in the face of these dynamic changes.


Please contact Digi Solutions with any questions regarding Schema and Structured Data changes.