Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed that search results with FAQ-structured information are now limited to only two results. Danny also confirmed that SEOs did not curb the misuse of results contained in structured data, and explained the reasons why they did so.

Frequently Asked Questions – Rich search engine results page (SERP) results

Structured Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are a way to get valid content to appear in Google SERPs. The advantage of this type of display is that it causes the location of the website to take up more space in the search results.

Such rich results were announced by Google May 8, 2019.

“The FAQ page has a list of frequently asked questions and answers on a particular topic.

For example, the Frequently Asked Questions page on an e-commerce site may have answers to shipping items, purchasing options, return policies, and refund processes.

By using FAQPage structured information, you can make the content valid for displaying these questions and answers directly in Google Search and Assistant, which helps users find answers to frequently asked questions. “

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Another reason why the display of structured data for frequently asked questions was wanted was because it knocked a competitor or two off the first page of search results.

Search Engine Optimizer’s answer to frequently asked structured information

The initial introduction generated both praise and criticism depending on whether the SEO benefited from the SERP FAQs or whether the competitor benefited.

Google displayed up to ten frequently asked questions at a time, which could create a situation where two or three web pages could control the entire first page of search results.

One Search Engine Optimization (@brodyeo) tweet screenshot of how much frequently asked questions dominate search results:

Lily Ray (@Helsinki) sent a screenshot of the frequently asked questions that govern the SERPs.

Here’s a screenshot of the highlights I added to show how much space these rich results take up:

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Screenshot of frequently asked questions in 2019

He later has tweeted his mixed feelings about new frequently asked questions:

“I find it a little awkward to complain about organic results that take up too much space.”

August 2020: Google reduced FAQs from FAQs

About a year later, in the summer of 2020, the search marketing community noticed that there were fewer results in the SERPs with structured data.

Google’s John Mueller answered a question about appearances disappearance of frequently asked questions.

Mueller said:

“As for the frequently asked questions, I’ve found people talking online is that we show them less in search results.

And that’s something from my point of view, the kind of natural evolution where we’re trying to find the right balance between showing these everywhere and showing these on pages that make more sense.

… So we have a kind of fine-tuning, which, which queries, which pages we display frequently asked results with frequently asked questions. “

May 2021: Frequently asked questions about often missing results

In another Google office hangout in May 2021, someone else asked Mueller what happened to the Rich results of the frequently asked questions.

The questioner wanted to know whether the structured data no longer produced a rich result, asking:Does it work?

John Mueller replied that Google still showed frequently asked questions and that it goes through the normal process of updating various features and results to ensure that rich results are useful.

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Mueller said:

“Some of these structured data types or rich result types tend to tend to fine-tune over time how often we show them just to make sure we don’t
overload search results with all these… blings and extra functions that only confuse people in the end. “

Google reports rich results from frequently asked questions

What changed was that Google’s Danny Sullivan announced on Twitter that Google would limit the results of its FAQs to just two FAQs per webpage for the previous ten FAQ entries per webpage.

Someone asked in response to search engine optimizers who “play” Google:

Danny Sullivan replied that no, it is not an answer for anyone who plays out of results with frequently asked questions.

Danny has tweeted:

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Danny went on to explain:

It was beginning to feel that the rich results of the frequently asked questions had disappeared or were on hold. This new way of showing the results of frequently asked questions seems to be fairer than the original way of tending to crash more sites from the front page of search results.

Limiting websites to just two frequently asked questions in rich results seems to be a fair way to implement this feature, but it still benefits users.

But don’t expect this implementation to be permanent, as all search is constantly changing.

References

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

2019 Google
Frequently asked questions about Search and Google Assistant

SEJ September 2019
Do frequently asked questions dominate structured data in Google search?

SEJ August 2020
Why Google might show less frequently asked questions

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SEJ May 2021
Google is on the results of frequently asked questions

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