Google Makes Changes to Rich Results: FAQ and How-To

May Rowland
May Rowland Senior SEO Manager

Google officially announced on August 8th that it will begin reducing the visibility of FAQ and How-To rich results.

What Are FAQ and How-To Rich Results?

FAQ rich results are reserved for, well, FAQ pages. Content written in a question-and-answer format.

FAQ pages could implement FAQ schema for a shot at earning a special spot in search results that looks like this:

How-To rich results are reserved for, well, how-to pages. Content written in a step-by-step format.

How-to pages could implement How-To schema to win a result that looks like this:

FAQ and How-To rich results were a great way for users to find the information they’re looking for without digging through paragraphs and paragraphs of content. Getting these rich results was a win for a couple reasons: You get to take up more real estate on the search results page while pushing your competitors down.

FAQ Rich Results Now For Authoritative Sites Only

Google says that now FAQ rich results will be shown only for “well-known, authoritative government and health websites.” FAQ rich results will no longer be shown regularly for the smaller people.

The announcement does mention that “sites may be considered for this treatment depending on their eligibility” … Not much guidance there other than “get better.”  

How-To Rich Results Now For Desktop Only

So, goodbye How-To snippets on mobile!

But, keep in mind, because of mobile first indexing you’ll have to have the How-To schema on the mobile version of your site if you want a shot of appearing for this on desktop.

Why? What Now?

Google says these changes are to “provide a cleaner and more consistent search experience.”

Some think there were just too many of these rich results and the bar needed to be raised. Others suspect they’re making room for AI generated search results. A maybe less popular opinion is this was a good move to prioritize especially authoritative content.

Don’t worry about removing the schema you already have in place. It won’t hurt or help your visibility.

Sites will start to see declining FAQ and How-To search appearance reports in Search Console. Some have seen it as early as March/April. Losing rich results will more than likely result in less traffic and a drop in CTR.

Nothing we can’t help you recover from! Contact us or view some of the clients we’ve helped if you get hit by this or any other Google update.