Google’s John Mueller answered a question about a site that lost it’s rich results display and wanted to know why Google took them away and if the rich results would ever return.
The question was asked at the 52:26 minute mark of the Google After-hours hangout.
But because it was a two-part question, the answer wasn’t given to this second part until after John finished answering the first part. So the answer comes three minutes later at the 55:19 minute mark.
Rich Results Removed After Site Redesign
There are many anecdotal reports of site redesigns that go bad, work out great or turn out neutral with no change in rankings.
This is a question about a site redesign that coincided with a loss of rich results.
They tested their schema markup to see if there was a technical problem but the markup passed all the tests.
It’s hard to fix something when you don’t know what is wrong, so the person asking the question just wants an idea of what direction they should go with this.
Google’s John Mueller Discussing Rich Results
This is the question, part two of a two-part question:
“Another customer they just redesigned their website. It’s still the same CMS and content.
And after that, all of our FAQ schemas stopped being displayed in Google Search results.
And this is three months old now and we still are not there., even everything being passing on the rich results test and inspection tool.
Why did that happen and when should I expect to see FAQ being displayed again or if it will ever be?”
Related: Why Google May Remove a Site’s FAQ Rich Results
Loss of Rich Results Might be Coincidental
John Mueller answered the question, at one point suggesting that it’s possible that changes on the site might not have caused the loss of rich results.
But he also mentions re-evaluating the site for quality.
John Mueller answered:
“I think there are two things that might have happened… It’s hard to say offhand.
One is that we might have re-evaluated the quality of your website overall at about the same time that you made those changes.
It’s probably more of a coincidence if that were the case.
But it could be that we kind of like are not that convinced about this website anymore.
And if we’re not convinced about the website, then usually we don’t show any rich results. And that would include the FAQs.”
Related: 12 Reasons Why Your Rich Snippets Aren’t Showing
Site Quality Can Affect Rich Results Eligibility
That is a useful insight, that something about a redesign could trigger a re-evaluation of site quality.
That’s something that is not widely known and can be useful for diagnosing why a rich result stopped showing.
Related: Google Offers a Definition of Quality Content
John Mueller Hack for Rich Results Quality Check
John next suggested a way to check if the rich results are missing because of a technical issue or because Google is “not convinced” about the site.
“So one way to kind of double-check that is if you do a site query for these individual pages, do the rich results show up there or not?
If they do show up there then that means technically we can recognize them but we don’t want to show them.
So that’s kind of a hint that maybe from a quality point of view you need to improve things.
If they don’t show up with a site query then that means more that there’s still something technical which is broken with regards to that.”
Related: Google’s John Mueller on Troubleshooting Rich Results
There is No Fixed Delay After a Redesign
After a site is redesigned, if everything otherwise stays the same then Google generally will crawl it like usual and there shouldn’t be a disruption if any, as the old site is gradually replaced in Google’s index by the new site.
Mueller finished his answer:
“So it’s not that there is a fixed delay, after restructuring of a website, for us to start showing them again.
It’s more like… maybe there was coincidentally weird timing or maybe there’s a technical issue.”
Regarding the site query test he suggested, Mueller cautioned that it’s not absolutely reliable.
“Yeah, it’s not 100% perfect. But it works for a lot of these cases when it comes to rich results.”
Related: How to Avoid SEO Disaster During a Website Redesign
The Site Query Hack
A site query is a search that looks like this:
site:example.com Example Keywords
A site query doesn’t use Google’s regular ranking algorithm. It’s not known what it uses but it is known that it’s not the same as a regular search query, which is the case for all of the advanced search queries. It’s just a simple search of a single website.
It’s not every day that Mueller offers a convenient way to check what’s wrong with a site. Although he did say that it’s not 100% though.
The important takeaway is that site quality can be the reason why rich results don’t show on Google. What might be interesting is to check if the rich results show on Bing, because Bing also has rich results.
Related: An SEO Guide to Advanced Google Search Operators
Poor Site Quality Can Cause Rich Results Removal
Watch John Mueller provide reasons for losing rich results at the 55:19 minute mark (part of two-part question from 52:26 minute mark)