One of the recent additions to the schema markup library has been FAQ markup, along with HowTo markup. With each new set of schema markup that becomes available, it plays a role in generating rich snippets, thus representing a new opportunity to experiment with the SERPs. Alongside this, the information onsite is displayed in a much more structured way.
So, with this new potential tool in the arsenal, it’s worth looking at exactly what we can do with FAQ schema and what you need to do to properly implement it on your site.
If you’d like more info on schema in general, check out our previous guide on how to effectively use schema markup.
What is FAQ Schema?
FAQ schema allows you to markup the contents of a page which are in a classic question and answer format. With the use of proper markup, these answers can then be presented within search results.
Here’s an example of how FAQ schema, taken from a brief test on our main organic SEO page:
This kind of markup allows you to provide information directly within search results for any questions on your page. Now, this opens up a whole can of worms about Google trying to keep users within the SERPs, but we’ll get into that a bit later on.
What are the guidelines for FAQ Schema?
In order for FAQ markup to properly validate and potentially appear as a rich result, there are a few guidelines which it has to meet.
- The text you’ve included in the markup has to actually appear on the page – both the question and the answer.
- Content on the page has to have been written by the site itself, without it being user generated.
- It can also be used for product pages, with supporting information presented via FAQs.
- Invalid implementation includes the likes of forum pages + product pages, both where users can submit their own questions/answers.
- FAQ markup can’t solely be used for advertising purposes – it has to genuinely answer questions on the page.
There are also three properties which are required for the markup to validate: FAQ Pagetype, Question, and Answer.
What does valid FAQ Schema look like?
Using this page itself as an example, this is what FAQ markup would look like for the first question on this page:
“name”: “What is FAQ Schema?”,
“text”: “FAQ schema allows you to markup the contents of a page which are in a classic question and answer format. With the use of proper markup, these answers can then be presented within search results.”
The aforementioned 3 required properties are all provided, under the type, mainEntity, and acceptedAnswer property arrays respectively.
Due to the rather limited amount of information required, creating this markup is rather simple. There are also tools out there which can provide this markup for you, such as the Merkle’s Schema Markup Generator.
You’ll be able to validate your markup via the Structured Data Testing Tool, or the Rich Results Test.
As pointed out within a similar post on SEMrush, Compare the Market have a good example of this, where the content is laid out in a very nominal FAQ format:
How can FAQ Schema be used?
Now, remember the can of worms I mentioned earlier? Here is where it gets opened up.
Having this space within the SERPs appears to be a fantastic prospect – as is the case with rich snippets in general. I mean, look at all the space that they’re taking up in the SERPs!
With that in mind, it can be very tempting to just mark up any question-led pages on your site with FAQ markup, with the aim of grabbing a featured snippet. In the case of the example provided above, it’s massively helpful for the user. They can get their answer without needing to click through to a site – seemingly what Google are aiming for.
The content on the page for that particular answer is the same as what can be found in the featured snippet. That being said, there’s a CTA found on the page – not the text in the snippet.
If you’re attempting to bring users through to the page, marking up all questions may result in a snippet but could also result in a lower click-through rate. The user already has their answer!
This has been looked into by several members of the community, including Lily Ray, who reported that upon implementation there was a sharp rise in impressions, but a drop in clicks:
— Lily Ray (@lilyraynyc) June 13, 2019
Well then, is this markup worth it? Should it just be left to the more brand-centric FAQ pages and nothing else?
On the subject of experiments, Dave DiGregorio has tested the use of FAQ schema and identified that you can actually include internal links, among other items such as emojis, within this markup. It then appears in the SERPs:
Looking at the actual markup, here’s what has been used for the first question:
This was mentioned in another post on FAQ schema by the aforementioned Lily Rae. Though it’s not the most formal example, could it represent a great opportunity going forward?
Is it worth bothering with FAQ schema?
Essentially, this is an area where testing is the best course of action. Just marking everything up could result in problems like those shown above, where impressions improved but clicks dropped, as there was simply no reason to click through to the page.
John Mueller himself spoke about this, stating that just because something is possible, doesn’t mean it should be done.
Do things deliberately – don’t just do them because they’re possible. (Also: it’s good to experiment and see where your assumptions are right or wrong :))
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) June 13, 2019
As is the case with most things in SEO – test them out for yourself and see if it’s worthwhile. If you’re going to use the internal links within markup, they have to still reflect the content of the page – there needs to be an internal link on the page itself.
It’s yet to be seen if the use of internal links within these snippets actually brings through an increase in clicks, though it’s an area that can be experimented with. It could be the next big thing, it could fade out within a month. That’s the fun though, right?
For more technical SEO tips, check out other articles in our blog. If you want help creating FAQ Schema for your website or any technical SEO work to improve your rankings on Google, get in touch today!