Google FAQ Rich results limited to two per page

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Google’s Danny Sullivan has confirmed that search results displaying structured FAQ data are now limited to just two results. Danny also confirmed that this was not done to combat the abuse of structured data rich results by SEOs and explained the reasons they did it.

Google FAQ Rich Results Not Limited to UK

Google’s Danny Sullivan tweeted that they have limited FAQ-rich results to two per web page.

But this is not the case in the UK and elsewhere in the world.

Here’s what a UK FAQ-rich result looks like:

Screenshot of an enriched UK result with 3 FAQs

Apparently the update is still rolling out, so there may still be some FAQ rich results that show more than two results.

FAQ Rich results in search engine results pages (SERP)

Structured Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) data is one way to become eligible to display FAQ content in Google’s SERPs. The advantage of this type of display is that it takes up more space for a website’s position in search results.

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This kind of rich results have been announced by google May 8, 2019.

“An FAQ page provides a list of frequently asked questions and answers on a particular topic.

For example, an FAQ page on an e-commerce website can provide answers on shipping destinations, purchase options, return policies, and refund processes.

Using structured data from FAQPage, you can make your content eligible to display these questions and answers for display directly on Google Search and Assistant, helping users find answers to frequently asked questions quickly.

Another reason why displaying structured data for FAQs was coveted was that it knocked a competitor or two from the first page of search results onto the second page.

SEO response to the FAQ Results rich in structured data

The initial rollout generated both praise and criticism, depending on whether SEO benefited from FAQs in the SERPs or if a competitor benefited.

Google has posted up to ten FAQs at a time, which could create a situation where two or three web pages could dominate the entire first page of search results.

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A single referencing (@brodieseo) tweeted a screenshot showing how FAQs dominated search results:

Lily Ray (@lilyraynyc) posted a screenshot of the FAQ-rich results dominating the SERPs.

Here is this screenshot with the highlights I added to show the space taken up by these rich results:

Screenshot of the enriched results of the FAQ in 2019

Screenshot of the enriched results of the FAQ in 2019

Her later tweeted his mixed feelings about the new FAQ-rich results:

“I feel a little embarrassed to complain that the organic results are taking up too much space.”

August 2020: Google reduced the rich results of the FAQ

Then, about a year later, in the summer of 2020, the search marketing community noticed that there were fewer FAQ-structured data-rich results posted in the SERPs.

Google’s John Mueller answered a question about the apparent disappearance of FAQ-rich results.

Mueller said:

“When it comes to FAQ markup in general, one of the things I’ve noticed people talk about online is that we show less of it in search results.

And that’s something from my point of view, it’s kind of a natural development, where we try to find the right balance between showing them everywhere and showing them for the pages where it makes more sense.

… So we have to somehow refine the questions, queries and pages for which we would display the type of enriched results of the FAQ.

May 2021: the enriched results of the FAQ are still missing

In another Google office hours hangout in May 2021, someone else asked Mueller what was going on with the enriched FAQ results.

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The person asking the question wanted to know if structured data no longer returned rich results, asking: “Does it work?

John Mueller responded that Google always shows the rich results of the FAQ and goes through the normal process of updating the various features and results to ensure that the rich results are useful.

Mueller said:

“What usually tends to happen with some of these structured data types or rich result types is that over time we try to fine-tune how often we display them just to make sure
overloading search results with all those bling and extra features that end up confusing people.

Google announces that the rich results of the FAQ are limited

What has changed is that Google’s Danny Sullivan announced on Twitter that Google is limiting FAQ-rich results to just two FAQs per web page instead of the previous ten FAQ entries per web page.

Someone asked if this was in response to Google’s “gaming” SEO:

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Danny Sullivan replied no, that’s not an answer to anyone playing with the rich results of the FAQ.

Danny tweeted:

Danny developed his explanation:

Are the Rich Results FAQs limited only to the United States?

As of this writing, the structured data update for the FAQ is still being rolled out.

We began to feel that the enriched results of the FAQ had disappeared or had been put on hold.

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This new way of displaying rich FAQ results seems fairer than the original way that tended to remove more sites from the first page of search results.

Limiting web pages to just two FAQs in rich results seems like a fair way to implement this feature while still being useful for users.

But don’t expect this implementation to be permanent as everything research-related is constantly evolving.

Quotes

2019 Google
What’s new in structured data: FAQs and instructions

2019 Google
Google Search and Assistant FAQs

SEJ September 2019
Does structured FAQ data dominate Google search?

SEJ August 2020
Why Google might display fewer FAQ-rich results

SEJ May 2021
Google on what’s going on with the FAQ-rich results





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