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Google’s New Changes to HowTo and FAQ Rich Results: What You Need to Know

In a recent update, Google has made significant changes to the visibility of HowTo and FAQ rich results in its search results. These changes are expected to impact the way webmasters and SEO professionals approach structured data and rich results in their strategies.

Key Changes:

  1. Reduced Visibility of FAQ Rich Results: Google has decided to limit the display of FAQ rich results to only “well-known, authoritative government and health websites.” This means that other websites will no longer regularly see their FAQ rich results displayed in the search results. The decision on which sites get to display these results is automated and based on Google’s algorithms.
  2. HowTo Rich Results Limited to Desktop: Google has restricted the display of HowTo rich results to only desktop devices. This is a significant change, especially considering the increasing number of mobile users. For a website to have its HowTo rich results displayed on desktop, its mobile version must include the appropriate markup.
  3. No Need to Remove Structured Data: Despite these changes, Google has advised webmasters not to remove structured data from their sites. Even if the structured data is not being used for rich results, it does not cause any issues for search. However, it also won’t have any visible effects in Google Search.

Impact on Websites:

Webmasters and SEO professionals might notice a decline in clicks from Google Search to their sites due to these changes. This decline will be evident in the Google Search Console performance reports, which will show a decrease in clicks. Additionally, analytics traffic data will reflect a drop in traffic originating from Google Search.

For those who monitor their site’s performance in Search Console, these changes will be visible in the metrics shown for FAQ and HowTo search appearances in the performance report. The number of impressions reported in the appropriate enhancement reports will also be affected. However, the number of items reported in the enhancement reports will remain unchanged.

Why These Changes Matter:

The modifications in the display of rich results can significantly impact the visibility of content in search results. Websites that heavily relied on FAQ and HowTo rich results for visibility and click-through rates might need to reevaluate and adjust their SEO strategies.

It’s essential for webmasters and SEO professionals to stay updated with these changes and adapt their strategies accordingly. By understanding and adapting to these changes, websites can ensure they continue to achieve optimal visibility and engagement in Google Search.

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