In a Google SEO Office-hour hangout, John Mueller explained the reasons why a site would lose all the FAQ-rich snippets.
What are rich results?
Google’s search results were traditionally ten blue links. Users did a search, and Google displayed ten links to ten web pages.
Now Google is showing what is called Rich Results.
There are search results that are more than a link.
This type of search results contains information that directly responds to the search query.
This is convenient for users because they do not have to click to find a quick answer.
However, if the user performs deep research, they have the option to click through to the web page to find a more detailed answer to their query.
What are often real results?
Google may display links to frequently asked questions (FAQs) contained in a web page.
FAQ-rich results can help a web page dominate two or three spaces in the search results.
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That is what makes such rich results desirable.
To display this kind of rich results in Google, a web page must have properly coded structured data to display these kinds of rich results.
Why is Google removing rich results?
The person who asked the question experienced the removal of all of their FAQ-rich results from Google search results.
This action felt like a punishment, and the person who asked the question would know why Google had not warned them of a problem before removing FAQ-rich results.
This is the question:
“What can cause Google to remove all FAQ snippets from a site without warning in the search console?”
Google’s John Mueller replied:
“We do not guarantee rich results.
So it is not that we will in itself give a warning … for any kind of rich result type in search.
But rather, when you use the correct selection, you are eligible to appear. ”
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Rich results change over time
FAQ-rich results have the ability to knock one or two competitors out of the search results.
This means that there is less competition for visitors to the website in the search results.
When FAQ-rich results were introduced, the web community reacted as if Google was handing out free money because this was a way to increase the presence of search.
The number of FAQ-rich results that Google shows in search results tends to fluctuate.
Mueller continued his response:
And it may happen that we show many of these rich results to your site, and maybe we scale them back over time, maybe we scale it up again over time.
It can also happen that we turn them off completely.
When it comes to rich results, we have different levels that we look at.
On the one hand, it must be implemented technically correctly.
On the other hand, it must be in line with our policies.
In general, we have algorithms that try to understand our policies and try to kind of … adopt … I do not know … engage in it.
So it’s something where you… could not see a message around it.
And the third thing we think about when it comes to rich results is that we need to make sure that the overall quality of the site is okay.
And understand the quality of a site that changes over time and especially when it comes to things like core updates that can change.
So if you saw this change… around when we launched a kernel update, it could be that our algorithms have refined what we think of your site, how we kind of see it fit in, how relevant we think it’s probably queries.
And because of this, rich results may no longer appear.
There is also the possibility that there was something so bad regarding the structured data on the page that the webspam team took a manual action.
But it’s really rare. And that would be something you would get a message about in the search console. ”
John Mueller gave a thorough answer as to why Google removes rich results based on user needs (relevance) and site quality issues.
Google Support Page article on rich results with frequently asked questions
Mark your frequently asked questions with structured data
VIDEO: Why would Google remove all rich results with frequently asked questions?
See the answer at the minute mark 39:11