Google Fine-Tunes FAQ For Search Results
The best SEO companies consider FAQ pages to be great additions to any website, as they help to provide answers to common customer queries about a business’s products or services. These pages are used for ranking purposes as well, since FAQs are likely to produce rich results, which can bring new traffic to a site. Recently, however, some SEO companies have noticed a scarcity in FAQ rich results, leading Google’s John Mueller to go into detail about the status of the FAQ structured data.
FAQ Structured Data
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is a content type that shows a list of questions with their corresponding answers. These help the business address the concerns and issues that customers typically experience without the need for a customer representative.
FAQ structured data is a piece of code that website owners and businesses embed on their sites so that their list of FAQs appear on both the web page and on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) as a rich snippet. Google supports FAQ structured data and allows users to find these questions when doing a voice search in Google Assistant.
Many SEO companies include FAQ structured data in their sites because when Google shows it as a rich result, they can get featured at the top of the SERP. Moreover, when a rich result is featured, several other search results at the bottom of Page 1 can get pushed back to Page 2. By taking advantage of rich results, a business could potentially dominate the SERPs by gaining invaluable web visibility while also pushing down their competitors.
It is even more effective if the FAQ structured data markups are well-optimised, allowing businesses to increase their presence on the SERP and improve how Google perceives their targeted keywords and audience.
Does FAQ Structured Data Still Work?
In an Office Hours hangout, a user asked if the FAQ structured data still works, and Mueller said that it does indeed continue to exist and work efficiently. He then added that Google is making adjustments to rich results to improve user satisfaction with the search results.
According to Mueller, Google will “fine-tune” rich results types or structured data types overtime to ensure that they are not overloading the SERP with extra functionality that confuses people instead of helping them.
Therefore, when Google starts a new type of search results, users will be hesitant to try it at first, but if it works well, everybody else follows. Afterwards, the SERP becomes overloaded with the same type of structured data as more people follow the trend.
Google only shows no more than three FAQ rich snippets on the first page of the SERPs to prevent an FAQ schema from dominating the whole page. Moreover, FAQs are unlikely to appear from the second page onwards.
Therefore, it is crucial to conduct competitor research on any keywords that are being targeted. If a business is not ranking on the first page, or if there are three FAQ snippets from other competitors shown on Google’s first page, it is best to optimise the overall page for a higher ranking before applying FAQ structured data.
Next, Mueller shared that Google’s systems refine the SERPs along with engineers to fine-tune structured data types so that they can continue using it. They just don’t show it for all the websites all the time.
Mueller’s answers also confirmed that Google is continuing to fine-tune the FAQ rich results types.
Fine-Tuning The Search Results
In the same Office Hours hangout, many people told Mueller that they made several changes to their website, which resulted in a significant decrease in their rankings.
Mueller simply reminded them that Google is always making changes to the SERPs, and this downplayed a cause and effect from the changes that resulted in a negative ranking outcome.
Nowadays, Google isn’t showing as many FAQ rich results in the SERPs anymore, and Mueller’s reply made it seem like their “fine-tuning” caused the scarcity of FAQ rich results.
When Google makes changes to the SERPs, one should question what exactly the company is fine-tuning, and if so, what are they doing it for. Google is probably aiming to enhance user experience and its ability to provide users with as many answers as possible to satisfy their needs.
Apply FAQ Structured Data
Google gave the SEO community some guidelines on how to properly set up the FAQ structured data for a web page.
Similar to other structured data types, one can check the corresponding attributions on schema.org for FAQ structured data. Using an online FAQ schema markup generator is also helpful when coding.
WordPress users have it easier when setting up the FAQ schema mark because it has plugins like Yoast SEO, which can automatically set up the FAQ structured data if the FAQ section is in compliance with their module.
Nevertheless, businesses and webmasters can always test their page’s FAQ structured data to determine if they have been set up properly via Google’s rich results test.
Once everything is ready, one should let the search engine know about the webpage update. This will require an indexing request for the corresponding FAQ page in Google Search Console. Doing so makes it quicker for the FAQ rich snippet to become eligible for Google’s search results.
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