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Dominating SEO SERPs: How the new FAQ schema feature turns any organic listing into a featured snippet

If you’ve been following Google SERPs (search engine results pages) closely over the last year, you’ve noticed an explosion in the number of SERPs with the “People Also Ask” (PAA) featured snippet.

People Also Ask Google Rich Snippet

Google’s People Also Ask related questions snippet, which expands infinitely to answer questions related to the search topic, was in only a handful of searches until last July, when it jumped to more than 40 percent of SERPs. Now, PAA can be found in roughly 85 percent of all SERPs. People Also Ask optimization has become an important part of SEO optimization.

Infinite People Also Ask results deals quite a blow to organic rankings in terms of true position, but a new (and possibly temporary) schema feature may allow savvy SEOs to dominate rankings pages by transforming their page listings into mini-PAA snippets.

Last summer, Google confirmed new FAQ, Q&A and how-to schema markups. When Google confirms new schema, that means they probably want you to start using it. I’ve been encouraging clients to experiment with this new schema since its introduction, thinking this would play into landing items in the People Also Ask widget.

However, in the last couple of weeks, a few articles I consulted on have seen their SERP presence physically (or is that digitally?) transformed. A colleague at SuperMoney used an FAQ schema JSON-LD markup I provided for his article on tax deduction questions. While the creation of the schema was a bit time consuming, the results were shocking and well worth the effort.

Now, any article can be transformed into a “People Also Ask” snippet

As you see in the image, the FAQPage schema transformed this page’s SERP result into a mini, expandable PAA. while their article is in the top two or three positions for several queries about tax deductions, the schema markup allows the article to claim a much larger piece of the SERP landscape .

This SERP result has been changed into a featured snippet-like appearance via schema

While possible temporary, this is a huge swing in potential away from featured snippets and back to organic results for those who use the right markups. In accordion fashion, the questions and answers contained in an article expand and contract, allowing users to browse the content of your article from the SERP.
Note: While I haven’t seen an FAQ schema markup generator yet, you can run the above article through Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to get a usable faq schema markup example.

schema for FAQ

As paid search and featured snippets have dominated the SERP and drastically cut into CTR from “position one”, this may be the first signs of Google offering some relief to standard  listings. As demonstrated in these images, the snippet can apply to any question and answer element in an article, including brand FAQs.

Sharpen up your structured data game

Structured data (schema) is more vital than ever to SEO, and Google has been telegraphing this for a while.

In 2017 at Pubcon, Google’s Gary Illyes implored website developers to, “[Add] structured data to your pages because, during indexing, we will be able to better understand what your site is about…It will help us understand your pages better, and indirectly, it leads to better ranks.”

Even further back, Google’s developer page formerly stated, “When information is highly structured and predictable, search engines can more easily organize and display it in creative ways.” These “creative ways” of displaying information have been seen in review stars and supplemental data in product SERP displays and for recipes but has primarily been used to power featured snippets about events and showtimes, to enhance rankings for local listings and to contribute to snippets like the answer box.

schema for recipe
schema for product

This new development gives some of those “creative ways” of displaying data back to the organic listings.

While I do not have exact data on the performance of these marked-up articles, SuperMoney tells me that they have seen significant increases in rankings and traffic and are now applying this FAQ schema example at scale.

Here is a link to an FAQ Schema generator to help you easily create code for your page. Look through your site for any FAQ and Q&A content that can be optimized. Take advantage by optimizing any information rich pages with QAPage and FAQPage schema while it lasts.

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