What to Know About Google’s FAQ Rich Snippets
Google’s search engine result pages are ever changing and becoming more visual, informative, and interactive.
They now include featured snippets, interactive image and video carousels, local three-pack boxes, people-also-ask sections, and an array of so-called rich snippets with additional information, like customer reviews and price.
One recently introduced rich snippet is the FAQ snippet, and lots of content marketers are unaware of what it is or how it works. Let’s change that.
What is an FAQ rich snippet?
An FAQ rich snippet is one of Google’s enhanced search snippets that includes questions covered on the linked page. Every question can be clicked to unfold an answer taken from the linked page.
An FAQ rich snippet is one of @Google’s enhanced search snippets that includes questions covered on the linked page, says @SEOSmarty via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet
How to get an FAQ snippet for your pages
Like any other Google-supported rich snippet, a structured markup, i.e., FAQPage schema, enables FAQ snippets.
The two required properties for the rich snippet to work are:FAQPage schema lets you enable your #content for @Google Q&A rich snippets, says @SEOSmarty via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet
A standalone WordPress plugin – FAQPage schema plugin – makes it easy to add the schema to your blog posts and pages:
With the plugin, you can mark up on-page H2 and H3 subheads as questions and type in your answer underneath. FAQ/knowledge-base-building plugins and themes also support the markup.
Some brands use FAQPage schema creatively. Nextiva creates long-form content powered by niche frequently asked questions. Zoho integrates an FAQ section on cornerstone landing pages. WorkWise uses the code on software product pages:
It is also a good idea to create a clickable table of contents based on those subheadings (this is what generates that “JMP to” link in the screenshot above).
Should it only appear on an FAQ page?
You can add the FAQ section anywhere on your site as long as at least two questions are immediately followed by a concise answer. A single author must write the questions and answers.
Don’t use FAQ page schema if answers are submitted by users or through forums. There’s a separate rich markup for that called Q&A page schema.
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
Are there any restrictions?
Google offers guidelines on properly using the structured markup:
- Don’t use it in a promotional way (no ads). This schema is only for informational purposes.
- Mark up your question and answer with the code. Don’t provide an excerpt of your question or answer. Include all of it.
- If an FAQ section appears sitewide or on many pages of your site, only mark up one instance.
Other than that, at the time of this writing, Google doesn’t provide any fierce restrictions as to where it wants or doesn’t want you to include the schema.
As far as official guidelines are concerned, you can use it on your homepage as well. (Even though many Google experts argue that no structured markup should be included on the homepage, I have no reason to agree with that argument in this FAQ case).
How to tell if I did everything right?
Once you push your FAQ schema markup live, go ahead and run Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. It will show if Google can see the markup and if there are any errors to fix:
Within a week or so, you should see the markup from within Google’s Search Console inside the Enhancements section:
Do FAQ rich snippets only work for desktop-viewed results?
The FAQ rich snippets show in both desktop and mobile search results, and work the same on both:
.@Google’s FAQ rich snippet results appear on desktop and mobile, says @SEOSmarty via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet
Where to find questions to create your FAQ section?
I love a few powerful SEO-driven question research tools, including:
Google’s People also ask
Google helpfully suggests related and follow-up questions for search queries. Always pay attention to those boxes as they give a clearer idea of how Google understands the query and a possible buyer’s journey.
IMN’s Featured Snippets+ Tool offers a more productive way to collect and research People-also-ask questions around your site’s important search queries (Full disclosure: I work for Internet Marketing Ninjas):
Text Optimizer uses semantic analysis to extract related questions for any given search query:
Click any question for Text Optimizer to provide more related concepts for it. This will help you or your team write a better optimized answer for each question.
Ahrefs allows you to collect and analyze questions that show up in Google’s suggested results for your target query:
When playing with these tools, you are likely to find that each provides different results, because they all have different data sources and analyses. Hence, all of them are worth running for every important and/or well-performing page.
Can the FAQ markup combine with other rich snippets?
Yes, it can. For example, you can combine FAQPage and product schema on your product pages. As these two appear in different parts of the search snippet, they are unlikely to contradict one another.
Sticking to one structured data per page is a popular argument from several SEO experts I respect. They advise against using several types of structured data within one page unless you want Google to choose one of them.Sticking to one structured data per page is a popular argument from several #SEO experts I respect, says @SEOSmarty via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
Yet, I have seen lots of rich snippets showing several schema types, and all look awesome. For example, this rich snippet includes both FAQ and product schema:
(Notice this site’s adventurous usage of emojis. Knowing Google’s history, I don’t expect it to allow this for too long, but why not enjoy it while it lasts?)
Do FAQ rich snippets help or hurt organic click-through rate?
There’s no easy answer to this question as all results are different. Normally, I see higher click-through after implementing the FAQ schema.
Besides, the SEO rule of thumb is clear: Occupy as much SERP space as possible or your competitor will take it. Extremely noticeable, FAQ rich snippets are normally a good idea to mark up on your pages. Once you do, use Google Search Console to keep an eye on the organic click-through rate of the page.The #SEO rule of thumb is clear: Occupy as much SERP space as possible or your competitor will take it, says @SEOSmarty via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
Another tool I always use after implementing changes is Finteza because it conveniently overlays traffic sources on your conversion tracking reports. You can see exactly how well each page is performing:
In the image above, I filtered tracking Google organic traffic and its conversions after adding an FAQ schema to the page. As you can see, both have been growing steadily since I added the structured markup.
When you monitor the organic click-through rate, mind that lots of factors are in play. Make sure to note any on-page changes you implemented. This will help you to spot whether a change affected your traffic or whether it was a possible Google update.
That said, I have heard about alarming results from fellow search engine optimizers who saw lower click-through rates after adding FAQ schema:
How to generate more clicks from your FAQ rich snippets
FAQ rich snippets are both interactive and informative, so I can see why users may prefer to read answers without ever clicking the search listing and proceeding to your site.
To increase your odds of getting a click, include internal links in each and every answer. These links currently populate in search results once the searcher clicks the question to unfold the answer:
(Notice how Zoho not only uses links to drive people from FAQ answers to its site, but also to track URL parameters to monitor those clicks.)
When seeing more links, searchers may feel more like clicking.
Get rich with FAQ snippets
Keeping up with Google search engine result pages is hard: There’s always a new section or search feature showing up. In fact, Google’s SERPs are getting so rich and informative that searchers have no need to click anywhere.
There’s only so much we can do to get people to visit our sites from search results. Making the most of rich snippet opportunities is a low-hanging-fruit opportunity that may help. But don’t trust any data until you test it on your site. Implement structured data and monitor your page performance closely.
The tools mentioned in this article are identified by the author, not the CMI editorial team. If you have a tool to suggest, please include in the comments.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute