Google’s Changes to FAQ and How-To Schema: A Necessary Evolution in the Era of AI

Google’s Changes to FAQ and How-To Schema Reflect a Commitment to Quality, Trust, and Responsible AI Integration

Key Takeaways;

      • Addressing SEO Abuse and Ensuring Content Quality: Google’s changes to FAQ and How-To schema aim to curb potential manipulations by limiting these rich results to authoritative sites. This aligns with a broader movement towards genuine, valuable content and away from mechanised strategies to gain visibility.
      • Fostering Trust and Credibility: By restricting FAQ rich results to well-known government and health websites, Google is reinforcing its commitment to providing reliable and trustworthy information. This decision reflects an industry-wide focus on combating misinformation and enhancing the user’s trust in digital content.
      • Embracing Change in the AI Era: This policy update is a sign of the ever-changing landscape of AI and content. As search engines continue to adapt to the challenges and opportunities that AI presents, content creators and digital marketers must remain agile and user-centric in their strategies. This shift underscores the importance of quality, ethics, and authenticity in the modern digital age.

Google’s recent announcement on August 8, 2023, regarding changes to FAQ and How-To schema is a seismic shift for many SEO strategies. But it’s not just a mere technical update. It’s reflective of the ongoing tensions in a world where artificial intelligence is redefining content quality, trust, and the nature of search. The update also makes way for Google’s SGE, which can be tested over at Google Labs

Addressing Potential Abuse by SEO Strategies

For years, many SEO practitioners have been utilising FAQ and How-To schema to gain ‘position zero’ rankings in the featured results. This strategy, although beneficial for some businesses, has led to an over-saturation of these rich snippets and has, in some cases, been abused.

Some sites have manipulated these structured data markups to gain more visibility, even when the content doesn’t serve the users’ needs or align with Google’s quality guidelines. By limiting the visibility of FAQ rich results to authoritative government and health websites, Google is taking a step to ensure that the content displayed in these rich results is reliable and trustworthy.

Ensuring Quality Content in the Age of AI

Artificial intelligence has radically transformed the way we create and consume content. AI-driven algorithms are capable of generating content, evaluating its relevance, and even determining its quality. However, these advancements come with their own challenges.

As machines become more adept at understanding and interpreting human language, the risk of content manipulation and quality degradation increases. By tightening the criteria for displaying FAQ and How-To rich results, Google is asserting its commitment to quality content. This move underscores the importance of genuine, valuable content that serves the user’s needs, rather than a mechanised approach to gaining visibility.

Trust and Authority in Information Dissemination

In an age where misinformation can spread quickly, trust in the sources of information is paramount. Limiting FAQ rich results to authoritative sites ensures that users are receiving information from credible sources. It aligns with Google’s ongoing efforts to combat misinformation and foster a more trustworthy digital environment.

An Ever-Changing Landscape of AI and Content

This change should be viewed as a sign of the times. The intersection of AI and content is a dynamic and complex field, and we should expect continual shifts in how search engines interpret and present information.

Google’s decision to refine its approach to FAQ and How-To schema is a clear indication that it’s adapting to the evolving challenges and opportunities that AI presents. It’s a reminder to all digital marketers and content creators that the game is always changing, and that agility, ethics, and user-centric strategies are key to success in this ever-changing landscape.

Signing off

Google’s update to its policy on FAQ and How-To schema might be a technical adjustment for some, but it’s a significant step in a broader movement. It’s a reflection of the growing complexity and responsibility that comes with the integration of AI in content and search.

By understanding and respecting this shift, we can align our strategies with a future where quality, trust, and authenticity reign supreme. The evolution of search is inevitable, and it’s our responsibility as content creators and marketers to evolve with it. The future might be uncertain, but it’s undoubtedly exciting.


— Josh