You know that thing where you have a super idea and then you work on strategy and tactics for a client for a couple of days and then Google makes a change to the way the SERP works and you’re all like…
After having ‘experiment with FAQ schema’ on my TO DO list for bloody ages, and Martha’s email starred and at the bottom of my inbox since June 2019, I found a cool use case scenario and set about making it happen.
Martha. I’ll get around to it. It’s just going to take a little while.
I have some pages that perform really well for informational search queries, and these pages often win the featured snippet for those queries. Organic traffic to the site via these pages rarely has e-commerce revenue attributed to them but they do drive other micro conversions, such as newsletter signups, clicks through to social media profiles, and clicks through to the various ‘money pages’ on the website.
These pages REALLY suit FAQ, in fact they’re packed with FAQ content. Adding FAQ schema to these pages allows me to also include a range of bone fide ‘informational transactional’ questions in the schema, these questions already appear on the page and link through to the related transactional pages. By adding FAQ schema I can link directly through to these transactional pages from the SERP itself, and I can tag up my schema so that I can measure the impact of this strategy. If it’s successful I can work out other use case scenarios. Sounds good, right?
If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat the listing in the search results. This declutters the results & helps users locate relevant information more easily. Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show.— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) January 22, 2020
You read that? Danny is talking about DE-DUPLICATION. The URL won’t appear again in the SERP for that query. Apart from it might. For a bit. At the top of page 2, as Dr Pete tweeted. But that’s water under the bridge…
And though @rustybrick beat me to it,— Lyndon NA (Darth Autocrat) (@darth_na) January 30, 2020
but here's the updated image, with the suggestions by Barry and @taylorannberg: pic.twitter.com/SdJn0CnFgP
I only had my double whammy of FS and FAQ schema showing for a day before this kicked in. Bad timing or what?
It was pretty easy (for me, on this page, in this case) to have a quick re-jig of the page format in order to lose the featured snippet across a swathe of search queries, and instead to of the FS have my FAQ schema showing:
So - if you could pick and choose your SERP 'enhancement' - would you like a FS or FAQ schema? I've had both of these in the last 10 minutes. You'll need to assess on a case by case basis I guess! 🤪🥇🧐 pic.twitter.com/M26cHU9REN— Claire Carlile 🕊️ 🌊 🥑 🦥 (@clairecarlile) January 23, 2020
‘Un-optimising’ (de-optimising?) isn’t something I’d necessarily recommend, in this case it was a way for me to test the relative merit of appearing in the FS (and not having me FAQ schema show) and having the URL appear further down the SERP, with the FAQ schema showing.
There is lots of testing to do here. The loss of the double FAQ schema / FS whammy 👭 appears to be something that a few people are thinking about, mourning, and starting to measure in terms of impact…
We're about to find out. I have several clients I helped get FAQ visibility on big volume phrases in multiple industries. I want to see trends though, not "first day" data. #SEOChat— Alan Bleiweiss (@AlanBleiweiss) January 23, 2020
Tell me about it! Worked my little bum off to get FS and FAQ for an education client for specific courses.— Laura Lou (@lauralouise90) January 23, 2020
Now I have to choose which one to go for and I don’t want to choose. #Strop pic.twitter.com/RMS8N3jT6A
You likely did work to win those FAQ's. So now what do you do? Test to see if more people click now that you've got the FS? Add no-snippet meta data to lose it? But then you lose all snippet stuff. Augh! pic.twitter.com/tR8WxLmGPY— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) January 23, 2020
No snippet and max snippet meta tags
I wanted to test both of these tags (more details of the tags if you’re unfamiliar with them on SEL) – just to see how they’d work out in terms of suppressing the featured snippet. Again, I wouldn’t recommend applying these willy nilly, you’ll need to consider your own situation on a page by page, search query by search query basis.
If you want to see where your page would rank organically if it weren’t the featured snippet then this is a cool way to do so (hat tip Aledya’s Crawling Monday vid)
We know featured snippets are not always the most traffic-bringing spot. If I de-optimize I might go in #1 (organic), #2 but to a way lower rank (#6, #7). So how to know my "real rank"?— Kevin Richard (@512banque) January 23, 2020
Use this hack: add &num=9 in your SERP url, you'll see your real rank. pic.twitter.com/cjZ0AeybPL
No snippet tag
This was a bit too much of a broad sword. I added the no snippet tag to the page and I lost the FS, got my FAQ schema, but also lost my meta description snippet. This makes my SERP result look much less appealing (in my mind) and much less clickable:
Max snippet tag
I set the max snippet tag to a little more than the character count of the meta description, and this did the trick. My URL with the FAQ schema is showing here, along with the meta description snippet:
I’m interested to know people’s thoughts about the change and how it has impacted their FAQ schema / FS combos. Hit me up on twitter @clairecarlile with your thoughts!