As a Sr. Technical SEO Strategist, Schema markup is very intriguing to me and I have always wondered how Google planned on expanding the already growing list of supported Schema markup. It is becoming clear now that with the focus on mobile and the rise of voice search that structured data is not something to be ignored if you want to continue to compete in search.
Google announced that they now support structured data for FAQ and How-to Schema markup at Google I/O 2019. This type of Schema is not a new development because it was first announced at Google I/O 2018. However, they have now released new markup to support these 2 types to show in rich snippets.
This is particularly good news because Q&A Schema was announced not too long ago but Google specifically stated not to use Q&A Schema for FAQ pages. Now we have an alternative to support these types of pages and to top it all off they have also thrown in How How-to Schema also.
The Best Part is that Both of These New Schema Types Will Offer Results in Google Assistant Too! Google’s Webmaster Central Blog has released an article about these new Schema types including images of what the FAQ and How-to Schema markup will appear in the search results and in Google Assistant. Google Assistant searches will result in voice-guided step by step instructions. Lastly, Google search console’s new Schema Markup error report will also begin showing errors and warnings for both of the new markups. The Google Assistant results will not roll out until later but will be coming soon and will allow for results in Google Hub.
Example of a How-to Markup test in Search Console
How-To Schema Markup
How-To queries will show step by step instructions on how to complete a task that takes multiple steps. These results will appear directly in the search results and provide this information without requiring a click.
It is worth mentioning that If you don’t have a website for your how-to guides, you can still create a How-to Action that uses your how-to videos. The two types of rich results users will see on desktop and mobile are standard How-to rich results with dropdowns for each step and results with images for each step. Similar to image carousel results. You can learn what the requirements are and get a How-to guide for building How-to Markup.
FAQ Schema Markup
FAQ structured data is similar to the Q&A markup. However, FAQ markup is for single pages that have FAQs, whereas QA markup is for sites like forums where people can submit answers to one question. This difference is a key reason why more websites can now use FAQ schema.
FAQ pages that are eligible can have a rich result on Search and Markup Action for the Google Assistant will come later. Meaning, in addition to being able to show up in rich snippets Google can automatically build FAQ actions to appear in Google Assistant.
You can learn the requirements to be eligible for FAQ rich results and how-to guides on the developer site.
As it is with all new things it is important to see if these types of markup are worth going after. If your website is ranking on page one, then using markup may help your keywords move up in rank or even provide a rich result with your data.
There is also the matter of CTR to think about. If you get the zero rank and your info appears in the SERPS where users can get the info without clicking you could see a drop in CTR. Or your competition could suddenly take that position causing you to lose visits.
The bottom line is do not just go and add markup to every single eligible page on your site just because you can. Try testing it on a couple of your high performing pages and measure the results. Then decide how Schema markup can best support your marketing strategy.