Google Rolling Out Limitations to FAQ Rich Result Snippets
On June 17th, 2021, Google implemented a new update to its search engine results page (SERP). Following this new algorithm, Google confirmed that users will now see a maximum of two FAQ rich results per snippet on SERPs. Prior to this update being made, the maximum number of FAQs per snippet was ten, allowing for fewer companies to appear on SERPs because select websites have been monopolizing the space with their FAQs. As users became aware of this update, Danny Sullivan, Google search technologist, released a statement confirming that two will be the new maximum for the number of FAQ results. This change will give more websites the opportunity to stand out on results pages, which is what Google intended.
FAQ Rich Results
Many websites employ frequently asked questions (FAQs) to boost their search engine optimization. By including a section of a site that consists of answers to commonly asked questions where there are known knowledge gaps on the subject, Google may include these questions and answers in the search results snippets. However, Google will only include the FAQ pages that are properly marked up with structured data to be eligible to have a rich result on Search and Action on the Google Assistant. Once the structured data is inserted into the page by following Google’s guidelines, the website can run a Rich Results Test to validate a code and deploy FAQ pages knowing they may appear on SERPs, making it far easier to reach users.
The main goal that Google executives had in mind when implementing this update is to allow more websites the opportunity to appear on the SERPs. This is done by not only allowing a maximum of two FAQ Rich Result per snippet, but also by limiting the length of the FAQ Rich Results. This will give the websites that have appeared on more SERPs less real estate in terms of FAQ content that is easily accessible to the user, leaving room for other websites to display rich results. In Google’s prior format that allowed for up to ten FAQs per snippet, two to three websites were able to completely dominate the first page of search results, stealing users from other websites because of the abundance of FAQs they utilized. Thanks to the new update, more websites will be able to appear on SERPs, reaching more users, and stimulating digital competition.
Not Yet Globally Implemented
At this time, the new FAQ limitations are still being rolled out, and while many have noticed the change already, there are still some users that have more than two FAQs per snippet, especially users not located in the U.S. For example, in the UK the standard SERP will show three FAQ Rich Results per snippet. However, the update is still rolling out and the company-wide mindset of Google is one of change, meaning that no implementation is permanent by any means.