Siphiwe Khuzwayo

3 months ago · 2 min. reading time · ~100 ·

Siphiwe blog
Google's Update: Impact on HowTo and FAQ Rich Results in Search Visibility

Google's Update: Impact on HowTo and FAQ Rich Results in Search Visibility



In the ever-evolving landscape of search engine optimization (SEO), staying abreast of Google's algorithm updates is crucial. A recent change in Google's search result display is causing a stir among website owners and digital marketers. Google has decided to reduce the prominence of HowTo and FAQ rich results in its search results, leading to potential ramifications for click-through rates and website traffic.

Understanding the Shift: Less Visibility for Rich Results

Google's announcement regarding the decrease in the visibility of HowTo and FAQ rich results has sent ripples through the SEO community. Website owners and marketers are concerned about the potential impact on their website's performance and user engagement. This shift is especially evident in two key areas: FAQ rich results and How-To rich results.

Fewer FAQ Rich Results

Google has indicated that it will now display fewer FAQ rich results in search result snippets. This change implies that websites relying on the FAQPage structured data may experience a decline in the appearance of their rich results. However, Google has clarified that this reduction will only affect "well-known, authoritative government, and health websites." For these select sites, the rich results will continue to be showcased. But for other websites, the frequency of these rich results appearing in search snippets will be significantly reduced.

Limited How-To Rich Results on Mobile

The change also pertains to How-To rich results, which will now be limited to desktop devices only. Websites using HowTo structured data may notice a change in how their rich results appear in search results. Google explains that this alteration is due to its mobile indexing strategy, where the mobile version of a website is indexed primarily. For How-To rich results to be displayed on desktop devices, the website's mobile version must include the appropriate markup.

The Implications and Recommendations

This significant shift in Google's search result display strategy raises concerns for website owners and digital marketers alike. The implications of this update are multifaceted and demand careful consideration.

Potential Drop in Click-Through Rates

One of the most immediate consequences of this update could be a decline in click-through rates (CTR) from Google Search. Websites that have been relying heavily on the visibility of HowTo and FAQ rich results may experience a decrease in organic traffic from Google. Users are less likely to click on search results that lack the visual appeal and information provided by rich results.

Impact on Search Console Reporting

Website owners need to be vigilant about monitoring their website's performance through Google Search Console. The update will likely manifest as a decline in clicks in the performance reports, particularly for FAQ and How-To search appearances. While this shift won't affect the number of items reported in enhancement reports, the change will be noticeable in the metrics related to these types of search appearances.

Maintain Structured Data

Google's advice in response to this update is clear: there's no need to remove structured data from your website. While unused structured data doesn't negatively affect search, it also doesn't yield any benefits in terms of visibility. Keeping structured data intact allows for flexibility in adapting to Google's evolving search result display strategies.

As Google rolls out these changes over the coming week, website owners and marketers should brace themselves for potential shifts in click-through rates and search appearance metrics. Adapting to these changes requires a comprehensive understanding of how rich results contribute to user engagement and website traffic. Remember, staying informed about Google's updates is an integral part of maintaining a robust online presence.



  • Will this update affect all websites equally?

No, this update will primarily impact websites that rely on FAQ and How-To rich results for visibility.

  • Can I still include structured data on my site?

Yes, maintaining structured data on your site is recommended, as it provides flexibility for future search result changes.

  • Are desktop users the only ones affected by the HowTo changes?

Yes, the How-To rich results will only be shown for desktop users, as they require specific markup present on the mobile version of the website.

  • How can I track the impact of this update on my website?

You can monitor changes in clicks and search appearances through Google Search Console's performance and enhancement reports.

  • Are there any exceptions for FAQ rich results?

Yes, "well-known, authoritative government, and health websites" will continue to have FAQ rich results displayed as before.


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