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In response to a question about the status of the FAQ structured data and whether it still works for providing efficient search results, Google’s John Mueller explained: the process for optimizing both the rich results and the search results themselves. Structured data is markup, like HTML, which organizes information on the web page in ways that can be used to display featured search results as Rich Results. Since they are bigger and feature at the top of search results, rich results tend to be preferred. Frequently asked questions have the tendency to dominate search results and obstruct chances of competition from page one of the top ten, leading to perhaps fewer search results showing instead of ten. When asked whether the FAQ’s actually work Mueller had this to say: “I assume this means the FAQ structured data. …From what I know that continues to exist and continues to work.”
Mueller explained that google FAQ makes adjustments to its search results, perhaps in the interest of improving user satisfaction with the search results.“What usually tends to happen with some of these structured data types or rich results types is that over time we try to fine tune how often we show them just to make sure we’re not overloading the search results with all of these… bling and extra functionality that just confuses people in the end. So what often happens is when we start a new type of rich results people will kind of reluctantly try it out and if it works well then everyone tries it out. And then suddenly the search results page is totally overloaded with this type of structured data.” He followed up by saying: “…Then our systems and our engineers work to kind of fine tune that a little bit so that we continue to use that structured data. We just don’t show it for all sites all the time. Which kind of makes sense, similar to how we tune the snippets that we show for websites and tune the rankings and tune the search results overall. So that’s something where from at least as far as I know I don’t think we’ve turned off any of the FAQ rich results types.
Google’s FAQ rich results:
“During the office hours hangout with John, it was interesting to learn that multiple people informed John that they had made changes to their website that resulted in a negative ranking outcome. Mueller responded to those questions by noting that google FAQ is continually tweaking the search results as well as downplaying a causal connection as to the changes the people were asking about. Google hasn’t been showing as many FAQ rich results as it was when it first introduced them. What’s interesting about John Mueller’s comment is that the answer implies that Google is “fine tuning” the rich results. Google changes some of the search engine results page (SERPs) occasionally, and there are both fine and crude changes to the search engine results pages. The answer may be that Google fine-tunes stuff for user experience and its desire to provide as many answers as possible on a web page.