AI's Quiet Revolution: Google's Shift Away from Structured Markup for How-To and FAQ Results
- Home /
- AI Blog /
- AI's Quiet Revolution: Google's Shift Away from Structured Markup for How-To and FAQ Results
- Justin Riddiough
- September 19, 2023
In the ever-evolving world of online search, Google leads the way, reshaping our digital landscape. Recently, Google quietly made an announcement that could have far-reaching implications for website owners and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals. The search giant has decided to de-emphasize How-To and FAQ rich results, and while it may seem like a minor tweak, it hints at something much bigger on the horizon.
Google’s recent changes may appear subtle, but they signify a shift in the way we consume online information
On September 14, 2023, Google revealed that it would bring changes to How-To rich results for mobile and desktop. In simple terms, this means that when you search for “how to bake a cake” on your computer, those step-by-step guides might no longer appear in those neat, structured boxes. The same goes for FAQs; they’re getting a little less love from Google too.
These changes come as Google strives to provide users with a cleaner and more consistent search experience. But what’s lurking beneath the surface? Why would Google reduce the visibility of these helpful snippets of information? Could there be a bigger plan at play?
The Evolution of Structured Data
Before we dive into Google’s recent moves, let’s talk about structured data. It’s like the secret sauce behind search engines’ ability to deliver precise and relevant results. Structured data helps search engines understand the content on webpages better, making it easier to present information in a user-friendly way.
Over the years, structured data, often represented in the form of structured markup, has played a pivotal role in improving the search experience. It allowed How-To guides and FAQs to shine brightly in search results, helping users find answers to their questions quickly.
The How-To Rich Result Change
Google’s latest announcement may leave website owners and SEO professionals scratching their heads. How-To rich results, once a staple of the search experience, are going away. If you’ve been meticulously crafting structured How-To content for your website, these changes could feel like a curveball.
Not only are How-To rich results disappearing from mobile and desktop search, but Google is also trimming away some of the tools website owners use to track their performance in the world of structured data. How-To search appearance metrics and rich result reports will soon vanish from the SEO toolbox. It’s all part of Google’s plan to streamline search results.
The FAQ Rich Result Change
The FAQ section is also getting a makeover. Google has decided to dial down the prominence of FAQ rich results. Going forward, only well-known and authoritative government and health websites will regularly feature FAQ rich results. For other sites, those neatly presented FAQs might be a rarer sight.
Who decides which websites fall into the “well-known and authoritative” category? Google has its criteria, and website eligibility for FAQ rich results will be determined automatically.
It’s a reminder that Google’s algorithms are always at work, quietly assessing and categorizing web content.
Preparing for the Future
So, what’s Google’s game plan? Why is it sidelining How-To and FAQ rich results? One possibility is that Google is paving the way for a new AI perhaps Bard, or its upcoming Gemini. This advanced AI could revolutionize the way search engines interpret and deliver information.
As we say goodbye to the old, structured markup-based results, we may be ushering in a new era where AI-powered assistants like Bard and Gemini can understand and generate complex responses to our queries. Imagine asking a question, and instead of a step-by-step guide, you receive a concise, human-like answer from your AI assistant. That’s the future Google might be preparing us for.
The Changing Landscape of Online Information
As Google shifts its emphasis away from structured markup for How-To and FAQ results, we can expect to see changes in the types of web content that receive the spotlight. Websites offering in-depth articles, expert insights, and comprehensive guides may find themselves in higher demand.
It’s a reminder that the digital landscape is constantly evolving. Website owners and content creators will need to adapt their strategies to cater to the changing needs of search engine users. In this dynamic environment, staying adaptable and keeping a finger on the pulse of the latest SEO trends will be crucial.
Google’s recent changes may appear subtle, but they signify a shift in the way we consume online information. As AI-driven technology like Bard and Gemini inches closer to becoming a household name, the days of structured markup for How-To and FAQ results may be numbered. It’s a reminder that in the world of search, change is the only constant.