In a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout, Google’s John Mueller answered a question about FAQ rich results showing up less in the search results (SERPs). Mueller explained why Google might show less FAQ rich results in the SERPs.
FAQ Rich Results
Rich Results are a type of search result that takes up extra space in the SERPs. Publishers who add an FAQ to their page and also mark up it up with structured data become eligible for showing in Google’s search results with these FAQs.
Example of FAQ Rich Result
Screenshot of an example given by Google of what an FAQ rich result looks like.
Note how much space the rich results takes up. Each FAQ rich result can cause one or two search results to be pushed down to the second page of the SERPs.
Publisher Asks Why FAQ Rich Results are Missing
The person asking the question explained that Google stopped displaying their FAQs in the search results.
They tried troubleshooting the issue to find out what was wrong with their site.
The publisher tested the URLs in Google Search Console (GSC) as well as with the Google Rich Results tester tool.
Google’s own tools showed that there was nothing wrong with the website schema implementation.
Yet the FAQ rich results were gone from the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The publisher wanted to know why Google was no longer showing the FAQ rich results in the SERPs.
John Mueller declined to offer an explanation specific to that publisher.
But he did give a general explanation as to why FAQ pages might have gone missing in the SERPs.
“In general, if the markup is on the pages and is “findable” with the rich results test, then that’s what you should be aiming for.
With regards to FAQ markup in general, one of the things that I’ve noticed people talking about online is that we’re showing fewer of these in the search results.
And that’s something from my point of view, that’s kind of natural development, where we try to find the right balance between showing these everywhere and showing these for pages where it kind of makes more sense.
And that’s something that generally doesn’t have any kind of effect from the markup that you have on the pages themselves.
It’s really more that suddenly everyone has added FAQ markup to their pages and we can’t show every search result with FAQ markup.
So we have to kind of fine tune which ones, which queries, which pages we would be showing the FAQ rich results type for.”
Why Google is Showing Less FAQ Rich Results
According Mueller, there were so many FAQ markup pages that Google decided that they couldn’t automatically show all of them.
Although he didn’t say it, the implication is that too many FAQ rich results may have impacted the user experience, since FAQ rich results tend to shrink how many pages are shown in the SERPs. So instead of ten results, it could be that only eight or less pages are shown in the search results because of the FAQ rich results.
The other notable insight is that adding structured data necessary for a rich result does not automatically entitle that page to a rich result. This is true at least for the FAQ rich results.
John Mueller referenced showing FAQ pages where it makes sense as a possible explanation of why Google appears to be showing less of these kinds of rich results.
He didn’t indicate what kind of queries Google might consider as making sense for showing FAQ rich results.
Watch the Webmaster Central question and answer here: