For years now many companies and users have relied on Google’s rich results to supply quality answers to HowTos and other everyday questions. Since April 2023 Google has decided to downgrade their rich results to where some will be shown over others:
- FAQ-rich results will show for well-known authoritative Healthcare and Government pages.
- HowTo results will only be shown for desktop users and will be dropped from mobile.
However, if you have these types of pages or structured data there is no need to actively remove it. The structured data while it might not be used won’t harm your search results. In addition, having FAQ pages or HowTo pages on your site can be extremely beneficial even if they aren’t producing rich results.
So What are Rich Results
These types of results feature structured data that will give your listing a boost by showing drop downs to FAQs, carousels of larger images or recipe cards, or the steps to accomplish a task for HowTo.
These types of results help you stand out of the crowd so you’ll gain traffic over your competitors. So, if you have structured data that support rich results, don’t be surprised if you find a recent drop in traffic. Google hasn’t demoted you, they demoted a feature you were using, which means your overall ranking is likely fine given there aren’t any other issues with your SEO.
What To Do
Don’t remove your structured data. While some of it won’t be used, it won’t have any negative impact on your site. Also, other search engines may use it for their results. So, make sure to keep it in place to gain that extra boost for SERPs. Additionally, for HowTo structured data, while it may not show up on mobile, it can still show on desktop giving you the upper hand on competitors who don’t have it.
Google also explained on their HowTo results: “With mobile indexing, Google indexes the mobile version of a website as the basis for indexing: to have How-To rich results shown on desktop, the mobile version of your website must include the appropriate markup.”
While FAQ and HowTo may not produce the rich results they used to, they are still good for customers and clients that come to your website. FAQs often provide common questions and answers that new customers will want to know or may search for. With HowTo, if that page has generated traffic before this change, that means it was beneficial to those queries. So, even if these pages aren’t producing rich results, keeping them can still boost user experience for your website which will enhance your overall ranking.
XTX will continue to monitor these changes and give you the information you need to get the most out of your SEO.