Digital MarketingTechnology

Google Adjusts Visibility of How-To and FAQ Rich Results: An In-Depth Analysis

Google has formally declared a reduction in visibility for two types of rich results: HowTo and FAQ. The FAQ rich results will gradually diminish for most sites, while HowTo will be entirely eliminated from mobile search results.

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 serves as an official declaration, Google had previously diminished the visibility of FAQ rich results in April 2023, a fact communicated through a notification in the Search Console.

Google Rich Results

Google Rich Results refer to a prominent search feature that showcases website content through enhanced listings, often resulting in increased traffic.

Rich results come in various formats, including carousels featuring larger images, such as those found in recipe cards, listings in a sidebar, or listings with star ratings.

Both these types of rich results rely on structured data to activate, necessitating additional effort from publishers to meet the criteria for eligibility.

A distinct type of structured data, HowTo rich results, display images and step-by-step instructions for completing tasks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) rich results necessitate publishers to generate question and answer content tailored to FAQs, along with the requisite structured data.

FAQ Rich Results for Government and Health Websites

Google’s decision to downgrade these two types of rich results is motivated by the aim to offer users a more streamlined and uniform search experience.

Google has announced its intention to exclusively display these results for health-related websites with high authority and for official government websites.

Google 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.”

Undoubtedly, this announcement is likely to be viewed as a setback by publishers who dedicated efforts towards incorporating FAQ content along with the associated structured data.

Should You Remove FAQ & How-To Structured Data?

While Google disregards structured data for the purpose of rich results, it’s plausible that other search engines might utilize it.

Hence, eliminating the structured data is not imperative if it proves to be inconvenient.

For those employing plugins or other functionalities that facilitate the addition and removal of structured data, the process of removal should be straightforward.

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.”

Diminished Visibility for How-To Rich Results

Maintaining How-To structured data remains valuable as it is not being completely phased out. Its exclusion applies solely to search results on mobile 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.”

Global Implementation in Progress

These modifications are currently being introduced worldwide and are expected to be completed within a week. A limited selection of rich results will persist as part of an ongoing experiment.

Read Google’s announcement:

Changes to HowTo and FAQ rich results


Google’s decision to downgrade the visibility of How-To and FAQ rich results underscores the company’s commitment to enhancing user experience and refining the quality of search results. While this adjustment poses challenges for content creators and SEO professionals, it also presents an opportunity to elevate their strategies by focusing on delivering valuable, relevant, and engaging content. As the digital landscape evolves, staying informed and agile will be pivotal in maintaining a competitive edge in the realm of search engine optimization.