Marketers took to social media when they noticed their FAQ section had been limited back in June 2021. This created a stir because there was no announcement before the change, and it didn’t roll out universally at first. Some properties had been reduced to two, while others were still showing the full FAQ section.
People questioned whether it was a glitch, but Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Liaison for Search, confirmed the new change on his Twitter.
The most recent core update reduced the number of FAQ-rich results to two. For those using the Google FAQ-rich results section in marketing endeavors, you need to know how the change impacts your business. This includes whether you still need to include more than two FAQs (even though they won’t be showing) and how to develop your strategy with the limited FAQ-rich results in mind.
Using Structured Data to Engage Searchers
The FAQ sections offer a great tool for marketers to enhance the searcher’s experience. That’s what all the Google Algorithm changes are made to improve. It’s also a best practice for marketers in terms of engaging customers and offering value.
Website owners use structured data to answer the most frequently asked questions from their visitors. These might depend on the search criteria, so including a wide range of questions was the best approach prior to the change. This way, searchers would be able to access a drop-down menu in your Google listing that allowed them to pinpoint exactly what they were looking for from your brand.
The searcher could see the most frequently asked questions to find what they needed with minimal search. Websites could tailor questions to the type of searcher they were targeting, and boost SEO efforts to help increase views on a website.
Google’s Decision to Limit the FAQ
If the FAQ section offered great information at a glance to searchers, why did Google decide to limit the number to two? As always, it has to do with meeting the searcher’s needs. Google found that the previous standard, where all of the FAQ questions appeared on the search listing, was confusing for the user. Rather than quickly scan through different listings, they saw a plethora of unnecessary FAQ questions for one listing, which knocked the next website property lower on the page. As more companies used the feature, more FAQs showed up for each of their listings.
Google decided to limit the FAQ listing to two per website property to enable a better experience for searchers. With this change, they could still dive into individual listings that appeared relevant for them. But they weren’t getting inundated with a lot of information they didn’t need. It also meant that the user could find more options on one page of search.
Understanding the Change in the Algorithm
For businesses, the key question is, “How do they choose which FAQ to show?”
Businesses didn’t configure their FAQ for this change. They were unaware that Google was going to limit the feature. So, the first thing that marketers need to understand is how Google chooses which FAQ to showcase. Is there a way for marketers to control which FAQ will appear?
Google uses an algorithm to choose the FAQ questions based on previous data. As we move forward, marketers are currently deciding how to configure their FAQ. But it’s not as simple as just limiting your FAQs to two. Let’s dive into some strategies.
Building Your Strategy for Google’s Updated FAQ Display
We need to see a lot of different scenarios and how they play out over time to be 100% secure in our strategy, but there are some things that we can be sure of now.
Different Search Terms Lead to Different FAQ Results
In most cases, the top two FAQs will be the ones shown. However, there have been cases where marketers testing different search terms found that the results do change. This indicates that we may be able to develop FAQs to match search terms strategically.
Watch for new best practices to be announced through your favorite marketing resources. Many marketers are playing with specific keywords in their FAQ development. It may help to align FAQ answers to match keywords.
Include More Than Two FAQs
You need at least two FAQ-rich results for Google to include your website and list the answers. You can’t stack the odds of a particular question being shown because there is a minimum requirement. You can decide on only two FAQs, but you might limit the amount of information your searcher wants or needs.
Right now, the best practice is to list the most important FAQ first because they seem to be more likely to be chosen by the algorithm depending on the search. Choose the rest based on search data and keyword research.
What Will This Mean for Your Business?
Is this change good or bad for your SEO and traffic? We believe it’s likely to be beneficial for everyone in the long run. Plus, it doesn’t significantly change how you approach the FAQ section. You may not have been worried about keywords or placement of FAQs before, so those might be best practices that you implement. But we would still recommend using the structured data as part of your SEO strategy.
Searchers will still be able to dive deep into your FAQ section if they click into your listing. Limiting the results on the page doesn’t change that. What it does is help you rank higher. When Google showed all the FAQs for each listing, it pushed properties beneath that listing lower and off the page. Unless you’re in the top position for every search term, this will be a benefit for your website. However, it will give other competitors some space on the same page. For most websites, this is going to be far more beneficial than not.