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Why Google Does Not Show FAQ Rich Results

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Many site owners and SEOs use FAQ schema markup to increase their site’s visibility and improve website SEO rankings. However, some website SEO experts do not see their schema markup in the search results. John Mueller, Google’s Search Advocate, discussed three possible reasons why FAQ schema markup does not generate rich snippets in search results. This topic was addressed during the Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout on 28 January.

A website owner recently asked why Google was not displaying rich results for web pages where they used FAQ schema markup. They observed that Google Search Console does not notify them of any technical problems with the markup, so they wondered if there were any non-technical reasons that prevent rich results from appearing. As a result, the site owner was concerned that Google might have lost trust in their website’s content.

Reasons Why Google Hides FAQ Rich Results in Search

There are several conditions to meet before FAQ rich results appear in the search results, just like other rich results types. According to Mueller, Google considers several levels before showing FAQ rich results in the search results.

Level One: Technically Correct

The first step is to ensure the FAQ markup is done correctly on a technical level. Site owners may use Google Search Console to check for any mistakes in how the markup is used. But the person asking the question shared that they did not get notified by Search Console about any technical issues about the markup. Therefore, Mueller said that their FAQ markup is technically correct.

Level Two: Must Adhere to Policies

In addition to being technically correct, the markup must adhere to Google’s structured data standards. Google’s only major guideline for FAQ markup is ensuring that the content – the questions and answers – are visible on the page.

Level Three: Trustworthiness

If the FAQ markup is free of technical errors and complies with Google’s regulations, the only remaining issue is that Google does not completely trust the content. It means that the search engine company does not fully believe that the information on the website is correct; thus, it does not trust the site enough to show FAQs in search results.

Mueller implied that website SEO experts and site owners should follow these three steps before implementing an FAQ schema markup. If the FAQ markup is technically correct and compliant with Google’s guidelines, the website’s overall quality is the next thing to consider. As such, one should think of ways to improve their website’s overall quality significantly.

General Structured Data Guidelines

These are Google’s general policies that apply to all structured data. For structured data to show in Google Search results, it must adhere to these criteria. Google maintains a high-quality search experience for their users, so they do not tolerate pages or websites that violate these content guidelines. Websites that do so may get lower positions or become ineligible for rich results in Google Search.

Google may apply a manual action to a page if they discover spammy structured data or content on it. SEOs and site owners may head to the Manual Actions report on their Search Console account to see whether or not they’ve received a manual action notification from Google.

Technical Guidelines

SEOs and site owners may use the URL Inspection tool and the Rich Results Test to assess their structured data’s compliance with technical standards.

Format

To show schema markup in the search results, the site’s pages should use one of these three formats: JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata.

Access

One should avoid using the noindex tag, robots.txt, or other access control methods to block their structured data pages.

Quality Guidelines

Unfortunately, the quality of structured data can’t just be checked with an automated tool. Violating quality guidelines can cause Google to mark the structured data as spam, which prevents it from showing up in search results – even if it is technically correct. Listed below are the things you need to check.

Content

  • Comply with the Google webmasters quality guidelines
  • Offer timely information. Google does not show irrelevant time-sensitive content
  • Avoid marking up content that readers of the page cannot see. For instance, if the JSON-LD markup describes a performer, the HTML body should also describe the same performer.
  • Avoid marking up misleading or irrelevant content, such as fake content or reviews unrelated to the focus of a page.
  • Do not use structured data to mislead or deceive users or impersonate organisations and individuals.
  • Content should not promote violent or cruel acts, sexual violence, paedophilia, bestiality, targeted hatred, or dangerous activities.
  • Do not mark up content that promotes illegal activities or services, items, or information that can harm others. However, one can mark up such content for educational purposes.
  • The content included in structured data must also follow the additional content guidelines and policies. For instance, one should comply with job posting content policies to include content in JobPosting structured data.

Relevance

The structured data must accurately represent the page content. For instance, a sports live streaming website should not label its broadcasts as “local events”, nor should a woodworking website label its instructions as “recipes”.

Completeness

Site owners and SEOs should include all required properties instructed in the documentation for their specific rich result type. Items that do not have the necessary properties will not appear in the rich results.

The more properties included in the structured data, the better the result will be to the users. For instance, people prefer seeing job postings with explicitly stated salaries to those without. They also appreciate recipes with genuine star ratings and real user reviews compared to fake user reviews or ratings. Therefore, one should consider extra information when marking up structured data.

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