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Google Rich Results Update: How-To Goes Bye-Bye, & FAQs… Maybe?

September 15, 2023
September 15, 2023

Google Rich Results Update: How-To Goes Bye-Bye, & FAQs… Maybe?

Erin Porter

Google has removed How-To rich results and implemented restrictions on FAQs rich results. As of August 8, 2023, Google announced How-To rich results have deprecated across mobile and desktop devices. To reduce the complexities of current SERPs, Google plans to limit FAQ page structured data, rich results to “well-known, authoritative government and health websites.” With editorial SEO all the rage, many search experts wonder how this rich result update may impact their current efforts. Read on for what SEOs can expect with this update and perspective on why Google is deprecating this structured data in the first place.

Google Is Simplifying SERPs

SEO experts everywhere are hyper-aware of Google’s shift towards a user-first experience. Removing How-To rich results furthers Google’s plans to simplify search results pages. Historically, website developers and SEO strategists utilize structured data and schema to increase a website page’s chances of reaching the rich result spot, which offers enhanced organic search result features. With this update, Google will identify ranking signals to determine if an FAQ will populate as a rich result.

Google announces changes to FAQ and How-To rich results on X.
Google announces changes to FAQ and How-To rich results.
Image source: X, 2023.
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What to Expect from How-To and FAQ Rich Result Updates

Across the board, digital marketing agencies and site owners will notice changes in Google Search Console reporting. Removal of metrics for FAQ and How-To search appearances in Google Search Console’s performance will roll out within a few short weeks. Note Google has provided a 180-day buffer for developers to adjust Search Console API calls.

As for website traffic data, marketers may expect to see a decrease in clicks from Google Search to your website. Google Search Console performance reports will show the decline in clicks, and your Google Analytics 4 traffic will present a drop in traffic from Google Search.

How-To Rich Result Changes

Google has completely redacted How-To rich results. Marketers and site owners can expect a visible change in metrics for How-To search performance. Businesses relying on How-To queries for incremental traffic sources should expect a significant drop in search traffic. Google has noted that How-To structured data can remain on the page if present. This redaction eliminates the eligibility guarantee that the How-To structured data type once offered.

FAQ Rich Result Changes

Google is placing authority limitations on FAQ rich results. In early August, Google announced rich results would “only be shown for well-known, authoritative government and health websites.”

So, what does this mean for websites beyond those parameters?

SERPs will no longer consistently show FAQ rich results for all other sites.

There is some good news, however. Sites may automatically and algorithmically undergo consideration for the allowance of FAQ rich results depending on their eligibility. As with How-To structured data, Google said there’s no need to remove existing FAQ structured data from your website.

Stay Up To Date on Google Algorithm Updates

The best course of action for website developers, business owners, and SEO professionals alike is to remain up-to-date with Google Search Central updates.

“Google updates such as the removal of How-Tos and FAQs on SERPs are a major factor in determining the course of action we take when producing our monthly client content. Previously, optimized instructional and informational content was exactly what Google was looking for to highlight in featured snippets, but as search trends dip and redirect to alternative ways of finding information, Google will continue to refine their UX, meaning we, as content creators, will follow suit in correlating our strategies with incoming search trends. As always, our intent is to add value to the user in pursuit of a solution, and to best answer the original query that led them to our content.“

- Taylor O’Connell, Red Shark Digital Content Manager

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