Google says that there may now be fewer FAQ rich results being served to users in search results following concerns that the presence of markup pages detracted from the overall experience.
Google’s SEO expert John Mueller revealed in a Webmaster Central hangout last week that rich results are still important in certain contexts, but noted that they can take up the space of additional standard search listings in SERPs.
Mueller’s response comes several weeks after eagle-eyed SEOs spotted a drop-off in the number of rich results being presented in Google’s search results.
Research by Rank Ranger backed up the claims, showing that rich results featured in 25% of search queries on 20th June before dipping to just 14.6% of results a month later.
FAQ rich results provide information for users via a series of frequently answered questions that appear beneath a listing in SERPs.
Publishers only become eligible for these rich results if they have posted a FAQ section to their webpage and mark it up accordingly with structured data.
While these rich results are useful for searchers, the presence of FAQs in SERPs does push other results further down, which can lead to some sites being relegated to the second page.
When asked about the changes last week and the fact that fewer FAQ rich results are showing, Mueller offered a general explanation about what may have happened.
He noted: “And that’s something from my point of view, that’s kind of natural development, where we try to find the right balance between showing these everywhere and showing these for pages where it kind of makes more sense.”
Mueller added that “everyone” now has FAQ makeup and that it would be impossible to show them all, so there has been some fine-tuning to the algorithm to improve the experience.