FAQ in Search: Google Limits Visibility of HowTo and FAQ Rich Results

Learn about the recent Google update limiting FAQ in search visibility. Here's what to look for to adjust your strategies accordingly.

Written by
SEO.AI's Content Team
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April 24, 2024

In a recent update, Google announced that it will be limiting the visibility of HowTo and FAQ rich results in its search.

This means that websites may see a decline in click-through rates from Google Search if they are impacted.

Moving forward, Google will only show FAQ rich results for well-known, authoritative government and health websites, while How-To rich results will only be shown for desktop users.

It is important for SEO marketers to assess the impact of these changes on their content and make necessary adjustments to their strategies.

What does the change mean?

The change in Google's visibility of HowTo and FAQ rich results means that these types of results will be shown less frequently in search. This can have an impact on websites, as they may experience a decrease in click-through rates from Google Search.

For FAQ rich results, Google will only display them for well-known, authoritative government, and health websites.

This means that for other websites, these rich results will no longer be shown regularly. The decision of which sites to show them for is automated and algorithmic.

An example of search results with FAQ rich results.

As for How-To rich results, they will only be shown for desktop users and not for users on mobile devices.

To have How-To rich results shown on desktop, the mobile version of your website must include the appropriate markup.

It's recommended to be aware of these changes and monitor your website's performance reports in Google Search Console. This will help you understand the impact on clicks and traffic from Google Search and make any necessary adjustments to your strategies.

Google: Don't delete FAQ or HowTo content

Despite these changes, Google advises against deleting FAQ or HowTo content from your website. While the visibility of these rich results may be limited, structured data that is not being used still does not cause problems for search.

Moreover, removing this content may have negative effects on user experience and may impact other search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. It is important to keep the content on your website relevant and valuable to your audience.

Instead of deleting the content, SEO marketers should focus on optimizing and enhancing their FAQ and HowTo content to meet the new guidelines set by Google.

This includes ensuring that the content is well-structured and marked up correctly with the appropriate schema markup.

By doing so, you can maximize the chances of your content being shown as rich results and improve your overall visibility in Google Search.

Reactions From The SEO Community

As Barry Schwartz noted in a recent interview with SEO.ai, the SEO community is very loud about any larger change. This is also the case with the current change to the visibility of rich results.

Glen Gabe was quick to find evidence of the impact and post it on X (Twitter):

Example from Glen Gabe of the recent change impact of how-to snippets not showing on mobile.

Kevin Indig chimed in with a take on why Google has implemented this change:

According to Kevin Indig, Google want to make sure people use their SERP features.

Moving on to the more light hearted reactions, Lily Ray seems to indicate that maybe SEOs have been focusing too much on using the FAQ and HowTo markups:

Google slashing the visibility of HowTo and FAQ rich results might be our own fault.

Cyrus Shepard added some humor to the mix by stating he was about to launch a new tool focusing entirely on FAQ and HowTo rich results. The sarcasm was lost on some, but the thread made for a good reading:

The idea of releasing a tool just as Google pulls out the rug from underneath is brilliant.

Another humorous input came from Carl Hendy who simply posted a headstone:

The headstone posted by Carl Hendy. Indicating that FAQ rich results may have been mostly for the benefit of SEO more than the user.

However, he went on to predict what Google will place on the chopping block next: Incoming affiliate websites:

Again, one has to consider whether the users would actually miss those pages.

Contrary to most other posts, Carl Hendy also delivers some advice on how to mitigate the impact of this change:

A few tricks from Carl Hendy on how to handle the change to FAQ and HowTo visibility in SERP.

We'll keep an eye on this topic and report any other helpful advice we discover.

FAQ in Search: Google Limits Visibility of HowTo and FAQ Rich Results

This is an article written by:

The Content Team is comprised of several SEO.AI staff members, augmented by AI. We share a deep passion for all things AI, with a particular emphasis on SEO-related topics