Google’s Shift: Downgrading Visibility of HowTo and FAQ Rich Results

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Date: Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Introduction

In a bid to enhance the search experience and streamline search results, Google recently announced significant changes in how certain types of rich results are displayed. Particularly, Google is altering the visibility of FAQ rich results and imposing restrictions on How-To rich results, limiting their display exclusively to desktop devices. This transformation is set to be rolled out globally over the course of the next week, aiming to bring a cleaner and more consistent search experience to users.

Understanding the Changes

The impending alterations have significant implications for website owners, primarily affecting the usage of FAQ and How-To structured data. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the changes:

  1. FAQ Rich Results: Going Forward

Moving forward, FAQ rich results generated from FAQPage structured data will exclusively be showcased on well-established and authoritative government and health websites. This means that for most other websites, the regular display of FAQ rich results will become a thing of the past. Websites may be automatically considered for this privilege based on their eligibility and reputation.

  1. How-To Rich Results: Desktop Exclusivity

The adjustments also pertain to How-To rich results. These rich results, generated from HowTo structured data, will be visible solely to users browsing on desktop devices. On the contrary, users accessing websites from mobile devices will no longer be presented with How-To rich results. It’s crucial to note that due to Google’s mobile indexing, the mobile version of a website forms the basis for indexing. Therefore, in order to ensure the display of How-To rich results on desktops, the appropriate markup must be incorporated into the mobile version of the website.

Embracing the Changes

For website owners and publishers who have been utilizing FAQ and How-To structured data, this announcement prompts some strategic adjustments. Despite the reduced visibility of these rich results, Google recommends not removing the structured data altogether. While the absence of utilized structured data won’t negatively impact search results, it’s worth considering its potential benefits for other search engines.

Conclusion

As Google’s changes to the visibility of HowTo and FAQ rich results gradually take effect, it’s essential for website owners and publishers to respond with adaptability and strategic insight. These alterations are a reflection of Google’s commitment to refining the search experience by offering relevant and high-quality content to users. By comprehending the evolving search landscape and proactively responding to these changes, publishers can continue to offer value to their audiences while aligning with Google’s evolving search priorities. As the transition unfolds, maintaining a balance between structured data utilization and user experience will be crucial for navigating these changes effectively.

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