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Major Overhaul: Google’s Changes to HowTo and FAQ Rich Results

Google has always aimed to improve the user experience on its search engine. And, true to its word, it’s here with yet another tweak to enhance search experiences. The focus this time? Rich results for HowTo and FAQ. Here’s an easy-to-grasp overview of what’s new, what’s out, and what it means for SEOs and site owners.

Key Changes at a Glance:

  • Visibility Reduction of FAQ Rich Results: These will now be primarily displayed for authoritative government and health websites. So, if you’re not in these niches, don’t expect to see FAQ rich results as often.
  • HowTo Rich Results Limited to Desktop: You read that right! Mobile users will no longer see HowTo rich results. For site owners, this means that even if the goal is to target desktop users, the mobile version of the website must still carry the right markup due to Google’s mobile-first indexing.
HowTo Rich Results:

These are interactive snippets that appear in Google’s search results, showcasing step-by-step instructions related to user queries. Commonly seen for DIY projects, recipes, or tutorials, HowTo Rich Results provide users with a brief overview or steps without needing to click through to the full website. Enhanced with visuals, these rich results aim to answer “how to” questions directly in the search results.

FAQ Rich Results:

These are search results that display frequently asked questions and their answers directly in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). If a webpage has structured FAQ content, Google may show a rich result that allows users to view the questions and reveal each answer one at a time. It’s a format that offers direct insights, helping users get immediate answers to specific questions about a product, service, or general topic.

Implications for Site Owners:

  1. No Immediate Action Required: If you’re thinking of removing the structured data from your site, hold that thought. Google suggests that even if it’s not being utilized, it doesn’t harm the search. Plus, it won’t have any visible effects in Google Search.
  2. Changes in Search Console Reporting: Brace yourselves for altered metrics in the performance report for FAQ and HowTo search appearances. However, remember, this won’t impact the number of items reported in the enhancement reports.
  3. Not a Ranking Change: Important to note – these updates are not tied to ranking changes. So, your site’s position in search isn’t directly impacted by this.

Rollout & Timing:

These updates will be rolled out globally, across all languages and countries, over the next week. A small percentage of users might not immediately witness these changes due to an ongoing holdback experiment.

What Does This Mean for SEOs?

For those who heavily invested time and resources into these rich results, this might come as a blow. However, it’s also a nudge, suggesting a shift in Google’s vision of valuable content. The emphasis on mobile experience remains unshaken, emphasizing its importance in today’s digital ecosystem.

While some may view these changes as limitations, others might see it as an opportunity to adapt and re-strategize. It’s evident that Google values authoritative information, especially in the FAQ realm, suggesting that credibility and trustworthiness are more crucial than ever.

Change is the only constant in the SEO world. Adapting to these updates swiftly and efficiently will determine the success of websites in the near future. While the immediate impact of these changes might be tangible, especially for those reliant on rich results, the long-term vision is clearer: deliver authoritative, high-quality content and ensure a seamless mobile experience.

Stay updated, stay ahead, and as always, keep optimizing!

Alekh V

Alekh Verma is a renowned SEO expert, innovative entrepreneur, and the dynamic founder of a leading digital agency. He's also the mastermind behind ESLRanksPro, an advanced SEO tool designed to reshape the landscape of search engine optimization. With a specialization in SEO, SaaS, product management, AI, and growth hacking, Alekh has cemented his place as a thought leader in the industry. His landmark work, "Building ESL Ranks Pro - SEO Tool," is a testament to his expertise and ingenuity, providing actionable insights for SEO professionals around the world.

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