Google’s Upcoming Change: Fewer FAQ and HowTo Rich Results

The search landscape is about to experience a notable shift – Google has announced that there will be a reduction in the frequency of FAQ and HowTo-rich results displayed in search outcomes. This change aims to streamline the search experience and provide users with more relevant and valuable results.

The SEO Expert’s Perspective: Clint L. Sanchez

Clint L. Sanchez, owner of BlakSheep Creative, a digital marketing and SEO agency in Baton Rouge, LA, shared his insights on Google’s decision to reduce the visibility of FAQ and HowTo rich results:

According to Clint, “Google’s move doesn’t come as a complete surprise. Over the years, we’ve seen an influx of these rich results, and while they initially provided value, their abundance might have diluted their impact. This adjustment aligns with Google’s ongoing efforts to refine search quality and ensure that users receive more precise answers to their queries.”

In terms of the impact on website owners and SEO professionals, Clint highlights, “It’s essential for website owners and SEO professionals to be prepared for potential shifts in search performance. 

While the initial reaction might involve concerns about reduced visibility, it’s crucial to recognize that a decrease in frequency can lead to an increase in quality. This change can motivate website owners to focus on producing well-structured content that genuinely addresses user needs.”

As an expert in the field, Clint’s perspective offers valuable insights into the implications of Google’s decision on the SEO landscape.

Understanding the Overflow: Too Many Rich Results

The internet is flooded with FAQs and HowTo rich results. Google’s decision to recalibrate their visibility comes from recognizing that this abundance could overwhelm users and undermine the overall search experience.

Google’s Motive: Enhancing User Search Experience

Google’s mission has always been to provide users with the most relevant and valuable information. The oversaturation of rich results could have been counterproductive to that goal. By reducing their frequency, Google aims to ensure that these rich results remain a helpful addition rather than a potential hindrance.

To Keep or Remove: Structured Data Dilemma

The question of whether to retain or remove structured data arises. Google’s stance is clear: the FAQPage and HowTo structured data should likely remain intact. Removing such data isn’t necessary, as even unused structured data doesn’t negatively affect search performance.

Rich Results Evolution: A Brief Historical Overview

FAQ and HowTo-rich results have evolved over the years, experiencing a surge in popularity since their introduction in 2019. However, this isn’t the first time Google has adjusted its approach to rich results. Adapting to user needs and search quality has been a consistent theme in Google’s updates.

FAQ Rich Results: Exclusivity for Authority

To maintain the credibility of rich results, Google has decided to reserve FAQ-rich results for authoritative government and health websites. This decision emphasizes the importance of ensuring accurate and reliable information for users.

The Fate of Lesser-Known Sites

For websites beyond the realm of authoritative government and health domains, Google will curtail the regularity of displaying FAQ-rich results. This change prompts the question: How can websites secure a spot in these results?

Eligibility for Rich Results: An Automated Process

Gaining eligibility for these exclusive rich results isn’t a process that can be actively pursued. Google’s automated algorithms will assess websites based on their eligibility criteria. This underscores the importance of maintaining high-quality, informative content.

HowTo Rich Results: Desktop Priority

In a shift toward desktop users, Google is modifying the visibility of HowTo rich results. These results will now appear exclusively in desktop search outcomes instead of being visible on mobile devices.

Mobile-First Indexing and HowTo Rich Results

The change in visibility prompts questions about mobile-first indexing. Google clarifies that to have How-To rich results shown on desktop devices, the mobile version of a website must include the appropriate markup.

Visualizing Change: The Before and After

A glimpse into the impact of this change can be seen through a before-and-after screenshot provided by Google. This snapshot visualizes the gradual disappearance of an FAQ-rich result from search outcomes.

Navigating Impact: Search Console Metrics

Website owners must navigate potential changes in their search performance metrics. With a reduction in rich results visibility, there’s a possibility of decreased traffic from Google searches, leading to potential fluctuations in click-through rates within the Search Console.

Shift in Reporting: Google’s Communication

To guide webmasters through these changes, Google is proactive in communicating how these shifts will be reflected in the Search Console reporting. Metrics associated with FAQ and How-To search appearances in the performance report will experience adjustments, as will the impressions reported in the enhancement reports.

Google’s Official Stance: Modifying Rich Results Frequency

Google’s official standpoint highlights the adjustments being made to the frequency of displaying HowTo and FAQ-rich result types. These modifications are expected to decrease the reported impressions for these types of rich results.

Anticipating Outcomes: Preparing for Change

As the frequency of these rich results decreases, website owners and SEO professionals should anticipate and prepare for potential shifts in their search performance. While challenges may arise, adapting to change is an inherent part of the SEO landscape.

Structured Data’s Value: Balancing Quantity and Quality

The adjustment in rich result frequency underscores the balance between the quantity and quality of structured data. While structured data remains a valuable tool for conveying content meaningfully, its abundance can influence its effectiveness.

Expert Insights Shape the Future

As Google ushers in changes that promise to refine the search experience, conversations with experts like Clint L. Sanchez shed light on the profound impact these adjustments can have. The recognition of an overflowing stream of FAQ and HowTo-rich results reflects Google’s commitment to maintaining the quality and relevance of search outcomes. 

While the reduction in frequency might spark initial concerns, the SEO community is poised to embrace this transformation as an opportunity to elevate content quality.

The search engine optimization journey is ever-evolving, where adaptation and innovation play pivotal roles. Google’s decision isn’t just a technical alteration; it’s a catalyst for strategic shifts within the digital landscape. As website owners, SEO professionals, and content creators brace themselves for changes, the ultimate goal remains unchanged – to provide users with meaningful, accurate, and valuable information.

As we navigate this new phase in the SEO narrative, the insights shared by experts like Clint L. Sanchez serve as guiding beacons. While the terrain may shift, the core principles of delivering exceptional content and enhancing user experiences will continue to drive the ever-evolving journey of digital marketing and search engine optimization.

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