Given the dynamic nature of Google’s search algorithm evolution, it is immensely important for businesses and website owners to stay up-to-date with changes that can impact their visibility in search results. Meanwhile, Google has announced significant modifications in the way it presents two popular enhanced elements: FAQPage and HowTo.
According to Google, these changes aim to provide users worldwide with a clearer and more consistent experience while browsing search results.
Google’s search algorithm is constantly evolving, and that means you need to keep up with the changes that can affect how your website ranks in search results. One of the recent changes that Google has announced is how it displays two types of rich results: FAQPage and HowTo.
Google says that these changes are meant to give users a better and more consistent search experience across the world.
If you operate a website and utilize structured data for FAQPage, it’s important to take note of these changes. Google is currently revising its approach to displaying FAQ pages. Previously, these types of results appeared on many websites. However, now Google will only display them for specific categories of websites, such as government institutions and healthcare-related organizations.
If your website doesn’t fall into these categories, there is a risk that your FAQ results may no longer be regularly displayed.
It’s worth emphasizing that removing the structured data for FAQPage is not mandatory. It’s an option available to website owners. If you choose to keep this data on your website, it won’t have a negative impact on your search results, but it also won’t improve the visibility of your site on Google.
Although these changes may seem complex, it’s important to understand that Google will still automatically approve some websites to use FAQ rich results if they meet certain standards. If your website complies with these requirements, you may find that you don’t need to take any additional actions.
How-to’s are elaborate results that show step-by-step instructions on how to do something on your site. They can help you deliver engaging and helpful content to users and increase traffic and conversions to your site. However, Google has decided to limit these expanded results to desktop users only. For mobile users, these results will no longer be visible.
The appearance of search results has changed due to the updates in the FAQ and HowTo rich results. Users on both desktop and mobile devices will notice a difference in how these results are displayed.
Website owners who use Google Search Console regularly will also see some changes in their reports. Here are some of the expected changes.
The reports within Search Console will reflect these updates. The section “search appearance data” will contain information about the performance of FAQ and HowTo results. For example, you can see how many times your FAQ or HowTo result was shown (impressions) or clicked (clicks) by users. You can also see how your result ranks compared to other results for the same query (position).
Here are some tips on how to adapt your SEO strategy to Google’s changes in featured search results:
If your website is not a government institution or a public health organization, your FAQ results may not appear as frequently as before. However, there is still hope. Google suggests that websites meeting certain criteria may still be approved to use this feature. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your website complies with these criteria. If not, consider whether using structured data like FAQPage is still beneficial for your site.
-Review the use of frequently asked questions and how-to guides on your website. Check if you are using such structured data on your site and how it affects its performance. You can use Google Search Console to monitor the performance of these featured results in terms of impressions, clicks, and positions. You can also use the Rich Results Test tool to check if your pages qualify for these featured results.
However, Google has stated that “Unused structured data doesn’t cause problems in search but doesn’t have any visible effect in Google Search.”
If you want to limit displaying HawTo results only to desktop computer users, you should focus on optimizing the mobile version of your website. Ensuring the presence of relevant structured data and tags in the mobile version will help maintain a strong presence in desktop search results.
We understand that you may be concerned about the frequency of your FAQ page’s results appearing in a search engine, Google especially if you are not a government or public health organization, but even if Google does not display your FAQs, other search engines may do so.
Google also suggested that there are certain criteria that your site can meet to still qualify for this feature, but Google also said that “unused structured data does not cause search problems, but neither does it have any visible effect on Google search.”
So to increase your chances, you need to make sure your site meets these criteria. Here are some steps you can take:
Evaluate your site. Take a close look at your site to identify any existing FAQs and instructions.
Structural data. Verify that your site uses structured data appropriately. This can significantly affect how your site ranks in FAQ results.
Use Google Search Console. Google Search Console is a valuable tool that helps you monitor the performance of these recommended results. You can track views, clicks and positions, which will give you insight into how well your FAQs are doing.
Enriched Results Testing Tool. Additionally, you can use the Enriched Results Testing Tool. This tool will help you determine whether your pages meet the criteria to be included in the FAQ results
Even if the HawTo option only appears for desktop users, you should focus on optimizing the mobile version of your website. Ensuring that appropriate structured data and tags are present on the mobile version will help maintain a strong presence in desktop search results.
If you want to optimize your site, keep in mind the changes Google has made to the way “howto” and “faq” results are displayed in the search engine. These changes affect how content is displayed to users on different devices and in different regions. They also affect the way you monitor and measure the performance of augmented results in Search Console.
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