As the most used search engine on the entire planet, Google caters its services to billions of people globally. Obtaining new users will never be a challenge for Google. It’s keeping their users happy with their search experience; that’s a perpetual goal for the search engine giant.
The keyword here is the user’s search experience. The major reason why Google is getting rid of FAQ and how-to rich snippets is due to the lack of users actually using those types of rich snippets in their day-to-day organic search experience.
In this blog post, we will explore each contributing reason why Google removed how-to and FAQ rich snippets, how this impacts websites and the SEO industry, and what webmasters should do moving forward.
Why did Google Remove How-to and FAQ Rich Snippets?
In a nutshell, Google is removing How-to and FAQ rich results from SERPs to “provide a cleaner and more consistent search experience”. The goal of rich results is to elevate people’s search experience, unfortunately, after rigorous and time-consuming testing.
Google has confirmed that how-to and FAQ rich results are significantly underused. There’s also been evidence that shows FAQ rich snippets can lower CTR for some web pages depending on how the rich snippet is presented on SERPs.
Other contributing factors include the following:
Changes in the competitive landscape of search engines and digital marketing may also influence the display of rich snippets. Google might make adjustments to maintain a balance between user needs and the interests of website owners.
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Evolution of SERPs
Google’s search results page layout and features are constantly evolving. They might experiment with different ways of presenting information, which could impact the visibility of certain rich snippets. Additionally, Google tests out different search appearances to see their impact on CTR.
How do Google’s rich results changes impact the SEO community?
Healthcare and government websites will still have FAQs and how-to rich results, so SEO specialists with clients in those industries don’t have anything to worry about. The removal of FAQ and how-to rich results can cause CTR to slightly decrease for some webpages.
But it can also cause an increase in CTR. This is completely dependent on the industry niche, search intent, and locality of the search. It’s safe to say that there won’t be any major changes in organic traffic. However, SEOs may need to have a conversation with their clients regarding the potential CTR ramifications that Google’s changes may entail.
What should I do with pages that have FAQs and how-to schema?
Google has made it clear that removing the structured data code from the page is unnecessary. The algorithm doesn’t usually take into account structured data that isn’t actively used, so the code itself won’t influence search rankings.
It’s recommended to keep the code where it is, especially if it pertains to How-To markup. Even though How-To rich results won’t appear in mobile search results anymore, the algorithm still follows the principle of mobile-first indexing. This means that your website’s desktop version can still gain advantages from the markup present in the mobile version’s code.
Should I still use schema?
Yes, schema markup is not disappearing. Google is only targeting how-to rich results on mobile devices and FAQ rich results for desktop and mobile platforms except for healthcare and government websites. Schema markup as a whole will likely never be decommissioned by Google because of the search experience benefits.
Google will continue to test each individual schema markup that exists, especially commonly used schema that affects digital real estate on SERPs. Continue utilizing author schema, attorney schema, local business schema, and any other types of markup you’ve used historically.
For more information about schema markup, which schemas you should be utilizing, and an encyclopedia on nearly all types of schema, I recommend looking at Schema.org. You can also test the schema you are building/modifying to see if there are any errors before you paste the markup on your website.
How can I increase CTR without FAQ or how-to rich results?
The lowest effort and highest rewards strategy to increasing CTR to your page’s ranking on SERPs is to optimize metadata. Title tags and meta descriptions provide a persuasive prompt to users, which can increase CTR if you are a skilled SEO expert who knows how to cater metadata to a user’s search intent.
Another way you can increase CTR is through making on-page optimizations to increase keyword positionings for pages mapped for target keywords in your SEO campaign. Identifying relevant content expansions that will uplift users’ search experience can help increase position rankings. The higher your position rankings are on Google SERPs, the more traffic you will get out of the total search volume of the keyword.
Building relevant backlinks is another option an SEO expert can pursue to increase CTR for a target keyword. Getting other websites to link to your page(s) that you are trying to rank for specific keywords can help increase position rankings on SERPs. Especially if the anchor text includes your target keyword.
Keep in mind if the backlink is coming from a spammy, toxic, or irrelevant website. You won’t reap any rewards in terms of link equity being sent to your page and domain.
The removal of FAQ rich results and how-to rich results for mobile SERPs isn’t a problem that will make or break an SEO campaign. TechWyse and other authorities in the digital landscape recommend to continue publishing FAQ content, as you can still increase your website’s visibility by ranking for long-tail keywords that are relevant to your niche.
Let this change be a reminder that Google will always keep the SEO industry on its toes. Google is constantly tweaking and editing its algorithm to better suit all of our search experiences. Stay on the ball by keeping up with our internet marketing blog!
If you are interested in taking your SEO campaign to the next level, contact us at TechWyse and we’ll get you started on an action plan tailored to your business and website. To book an appointment, call (416)-410-7090 or contact us here.