1. SEJ
  2.  ⋅ 
  3. SEO

Google Downgrades Visibility of HowTo and FAQ Rich Results

Google announced that it will restrict what kinds of sites show FAQ rich results and where HowTo results are shown

Google announced the news that it is limiting the visibility of FAQ and HowTo rich results

Google officially announced that it is downgrading the visibility of two forms of rich results, the HowTo and the FAQ.

The FAQ rich results will essentially be phased out for most (but not all) websites while the HowTo will be completely removed from search results in mobile devices.

According to Google:

“…we’re reducing the visibility of FAQ rich results, and limiting How-To rich results to desktop devices.

This change should finish rolling out globally within the next week.”

While this is an official announcement, Google had already reduced the visibility of FAQ rich results in April 2023, announced in a search console notification.

Google Rich Results

Google Rich Results are a search feature that prominently features webpage content, enhanced listings, which often providing extra traffic.

Rich results can be in the form of a carousels, with larger images such as in recipe cards, listed in a sidebar or with stars.

These two forms of rich results depend on structured data to trigger them, requiring extra work on the part of publishers to become eligible for these kinds of rich results.

HowTo rich results are a specific kind of structured data that shows images and the steps for accomplishing a task.

Example of a HowTo rich result in Google search

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) rich results require publishers to create question and answer content specific for an FAQ, plus the structured data for it.

Example of an FAQ rich result in Google search

FAQ is For Government & Health Websites

The reason Google is downgrading these two rich results types is to provide users “a cleaner and more consistent search experience.”

Google announced that it will only show them for high authority websites in the health space and for government websites.

They wrote:

“Going forward, FAQ (from FAQPage structured data) rich results will only be shown for well-known, authoritative government and health websites.

For all other sites, this rich result will no longer be shown regularly.

Sites may automatically be considered for this treatment depending on their eligibility.”

This news will no doubt be perceived as a blow and a setback for publishers who took the time to add FAQ content and the concomitant structured data.

Should You Remove FAQ & HowTo Structured Data?

Google ignores structured data for the purposes of rich results. It’s possible that other search engines may use it.

So it’s not necessary to remove the structured data if it’s a hassle.

Removing it should be easy for those who use a plugin or other functionality that scales the application and removal of the structured data.

Google advises:

“While you can drop this structured data from your site, there’s no need to proactively remove it.

Structured data that’s not being used does not cause problems for Search, but also has no visible effects in Google Search.”

Reduced Visibility for HowTo Rich Results

It’s still useful to keep HowTo structured data because it’s not going away entirely. It’s only going away for search results in mobile devices.

Google will still display HowTo rich results for uses on desktop devices.

The announcement explains:

“How-To (from HowTo structured data) rich results will only be shown for desktop users, and not for users on mobile devices.

Note that 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.”

Rolling Out Globally

These changes are rolling out globally within a week. A small number of rich results will still be shown as an experiment.

Read Google’s announcement:

Changes to HowTo and FAQ rich results

Featured image by Shutterstock/Luis Molinero

Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Roger Montti Owner - at

I have 25 years hands-on experience in SEO and have kept on  top of the evolution of search every step ...

Google Downgrades Visibility of HowTo and FAQ Rich Results

Subscribe To Our Newsletter.

Conquer your day with daily search marketing news.