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John Mueller Explains The Reason For The Removal Of FAQ Rich Results

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Online businesses and website owners should use effective SEO strategies if they want their content to be eligible for FAQ rich results and get better rankings. However, Google will sometimes remove a site’s FAQ rich results snippets without warning, leaving many SEO specialists confused and frustrated. John Mueller recently discussed the matter in a Google SEO Office-hours hangout, explaining why the search engine does this.

What Are Rich Results?

In the past, Google used to only show ten blue links on a search engine results page (SERP) when a user types in a query. Nowadays, Google shows rich results instead of these traditional ten blue links.

Rich results are search results that are more than just a link. They can emphasise key information that directly answers the user’s search query and help search engines accurately understand the page’s purpose. As a result, there is less guesswork for Google’s crawlers and more relevant results for the users.

Moreover, rich results promote convenience and a great user experience because searchers do not need to click through to find the answer they are looking for. If they want to conduct more thorough research, they can always click through to the web page and get a more detailed answer.

What Are FAQ Rich Results?

Google’s search results may display links that redirect to FAQ web pages. FAQ rich results can help even a single web page dominate more spaces in the SERPs, so many businesses and webmasters aim to rank for this type of rich result.

SEO agencies can make their content eligible for FAQ rich results as long as they have proper coded structured data for their web page. However, many SEOs and webmasters have noticed that their site’s rich results will sometimes get removed. In a recent Google SEO Office-hours hangout, a person asked Mueller why their rich result was suddenly gone from the SERPs.

Why Does Google Remove Rich Results?

The person’s website had all of its FAQ rich results removed from the SERPs by Google. This action felt almost like a penalty, and the person wanted to know why the search engine company did not alert them about potential problems before they removed the rich results.

In response, Mueller said that getting featured on the rich results is not guaranteed. He added that while web pages do become eligible to appear in the SERPs as rich results if the correct mark-up is used, Google wouldn’t warn SEOs if their pages get removed for any type of rich result.

Rich Results Change Over Time

Getting featured on the FAQ rich results can get two or more competitors off the SERPs, so trying to rank for them is highly desirable. SEOs and site owners can hit two birds with one stone, enjoying more site traffic and less competition.

When Google introduced the FAQ rich results, the SEO community soon went to action because they saw it as a huge opportunity to boost their online presence. But nowadays, Google has started to change how many FAQ rich results are shown on the SERPs.

For instance, if too many rich results end up getting displayed for just one website, Google may scale them back over time and repeat the process if necessary. Mueller also admits that they turn off rich results altogether at times.

Mueller said that there are different levels that they need to consider when it comes to rich results. For instance, they double-check if SEOs implemented their rich results correctly. Google also needs to ensure that the publishers are compliant with their policies.

Generally, Google has algorithms that intently watch whether SEOs follow their policies and act depending on how publishers optimise their rich results.

Aside from rich results policies, Google also looks at the site’s overall quality. Most often than not, the quality of a website can change over time, especially when core updates change. Core updates can refine how Google thinks of a website and its content’s relevance to their users’ search queries.

Mueller said that if the SEO noticed that all their FAQ rich results disappeared around the time the core update was launched, then they should take a step back to look at how the algorithm changed and make the necessary adjustments. In this scenario, there is a huge possibility that Google removed the rich results because they are not as relevant as they were before.

Another possible reason could be the structured data. Mueller said that there may be a problem in the site’s structured data that’s so serious that web spam team took action and removed the FAQ rich results. However, Mueller said that this is rare, and SEOs would usually receive a notification on Google Search Console before the rich results get removed.

Mark Up FAQs With Structured Data

FAQ pages are popular among websites nowadays as they are a fantastic way to become eligible for rich results. An FAQ page contains a list of questions and answers relevant to a specific topic.

Online businesses and site owners should use structured data on their FAQ pages for them to appear in the SERPs. Structured data refers to a standardised format that provides Google’s search engine with information about the page content. Below is a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Add the required properties. Depending on the format, SEOs must insert the structured data on the correct part of the page.
  2. Follow Google’s guidelines.
  3. Validate the code using the Rich Results Test.
  4. SEOs can now deploy several pages marked up with structured data and use the URL Inspection tool to see how Google views the web page. Before doing so, one must ensure that there are no robots.txt files that could block the page so Google can have full access to it. If the web page looks fine, one can ask the search engine to recrawl the URLs.
  5. All SEOs are advised to submit a sitemap to keep Google informed of future changes. One can do this via Search Console Sitemap API.

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