Schema markup was introduced in 2011 as a way to help search engines better understand the contents of a page.
You may be familiar with some types of schema already: ratings, reviews, events, and recipe schema can all be found on the search results pages for certain queries.
In 2018, Google introduced the FAQ schema to provide the most useful, relevant results for end users. Testing occurred until May 2019, and the schema is now open for everyone to implement.
And, more schema are to come …
I think in the future, at least in a near-term future, we will have more types of structured data markup.
For the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on the FAQ schema: what it is, and how to implement it.
What is the FAQ Schema?
Many web pages house a frequently asked questions page, where users can turn to for a quick Q&A style clarification to their questions.
The FAQ schema takes those questions and their respective answers and turns them into structured data so that both the question and answer appear on the Google SERP as a rich snippet.
This means that users can have their specific questions answered from a certain website without actually having to leave the SERP to visit that web page.
(An example of the FAQ schema in the search results for a travel-related query.)
You probably noticed that the FAQ schema caused the listing to be larger than normal. This feature not only allows users to have their questions answered via the organic listing, it also increases search visibility and draws the user’s eye.
Because of this, listings with an FAQ schema have a higher click-through rate (CTR) than listings without.
Voice search also comes into play here, as the FAQ schema is eligible for voice search actions — Google says this structured data can have an action on the Google Assistant.
As for specific industry information: we really see the aggressive nature of the FAQ schema in the travel and coupon industries.
At seoClarity, we’ve also tracked an increase in FAQ schema for two clients in the delivery and pharmacy industries, with an increase from 16% to 21% and 10% to 22%, respectively. Percentages represents the number of tracked keywords with an FAQ schema.
FAQ Schema Best Practices
Like most other components of SEO, there are guidelines that Google has in place for the FAQ schema markup so the search engine can properly pick up on it.
These guidelines explain where to add the schema markup, and perhaps more importantly, where not to.
#1. One Answer Per Question
The FAQ schema can really be added to any page where you add FAQ-type questions and answers. This would include blog posts, service pages, product support pages, etc.
You could, of course, have an entire FAQ page that addresses common company questions.
But according to Google's documentation, the FAQ schema should only be used where there is a single answer to each question.
Take an FAQ page, for example. The company creates each commonly asked question, and lists each respective answer.
This is different than something like a web forum, where there is one question, but any site visitor can input an answer. (In that case, the QAPage schema is for you.)
#2. Don't Use FAQ Schema for "How To" Content
While it may seem applicable (e.g. How do I fix a clogged drain?) the FAQ schema isn't meant for how to content. This is against Google's guidelines.
If you're looking to add schema to your how-to content, don't worry. There's a designated schema type for this purpose.
#3. Don't Use the Markup for Advertising Purposes
Schema is meant to give search engines more context about your pages' content, and hopefully offer users a direct line to valuable information should the schema result in a rich result.
For this reason, it's against Google's guidelines to use the FAQ schema for advertising or promotional purposes.
#4. Avoid Repetitive FAQ Content
Google also recommends that if you have FAQ content that is repetitive on your site (i.e. the same question and answer appears on multiple pages) that you implement that specific FAQ schema only once for the entire site.
#5. No Hateful or Profane Language
Google makes it clear that certain types of content won't be displayed as a rich result:
- Sexually explicit
- Graphically violent
- Promotion of dangerous or illegal activities
- Hateful or harassing language
#6. Answer the Question Entirely
Both the question and answer need to be written out in completion in your schema code. After all, the entire question and answer may be shown as a rich result, so there can be no fragments.
Tip: The question and respective answer need to visible on the page to the user. You can't list the FAQs only in the schema snippet but not on the page source.
Which Questions to Answer in Your FAQ
The best place to find the FAQ type of question and answers is from your customer success department. Many times they receive the questions from customers over the phone about the specific products or services offered.
These insights from clients or prospects can be converted into the FAQ content for that specific product page.
Google’s People Also Ask can serve as a source of inspiration for thinking of popular frequently asked questions. seoClarity clients can view top People Also Ask Questions collected by topic to use for this purpose …
Recommended Reading: Testing FAQ Schema for Greater Search Visibility and CTR
FAQ Ideation at Scale
It can be tedious and time consuming to manually search Google for People Also Ask suggestions in order to generate questions. And if your organization operates in silos, then collaborating with the customer success department may not be the most efficient approach.
In order to help our clients better understand how people search for their target keywords at scale, we integrated People Also Ask into Content Fusion, our AI-Driven content optimizer.
Content Fusion pulls in the People Also Ask questions from the Google SERP in real-time so you can be informed as to what questions end users are asking. When you answer these questions appropriately, you’ve just generated FAQ content that can be turned into the FAQ schema.
(People Also Ask for the keyword “iPhone 11” in Content Fusion.)
How to Add FAQ Schema
In order to add the FAQ schema to the SERP, you’ll need to create the right code format with the questions and answers labeled accordingly. Then, you implement that code on your pages.
Now, not all SEOs know how to write schema code. Even devs can be unfamiliar with the language.
Luckily, generating schema markup is now point-and-click easy with Schema Builder - a free Chrome extension. A few clicks will generate your schema code for you in JSON-LD format.
Recommended Reading: Schema Markup Generator: Build Structured Data Without Developers
Now all that's left to do is implement.
Once you’ve copied the code and adjusted the questions/answers appropriately, load the code into the page’s settings on your Content Management System. Most CMS’s have an advanced setting for code snippets. In HubSpot, for example, it looks like this:
(Additional code snippet section of the HubSpot CMS.)\
However, we realize not all SEOs have direct editing access within the CMS. Usually, any site changes have to go through dev - and that can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Schema Optimizer lets you scale your schema implementation across your entire site with just a few clicks. Implement schema across thousands of pages according to the variables that you set up.
Testing Your Schema Code
Implementing code on your site can be a nerve-wracking process, and you may question if you’ve done it correctly. There are two methods we recommend you follow in order to check your code.
TIP: Always double-check the code, even if you’ve done this process before. A small typo can ruin everything!
#1. Google’s Rich Results Test
One step in the verification process is to run Google’s rich results test.
Here, we’re going to input a published piece of content’s URL to test if that page is eligible for a rich result. Input the content’s URL in the text bar, and click “Test URL.”
(Enter the URL or code to see if the page is eligible for a rich result.)
You’ll be alerted to whether or not your page is eligible for rich results. If the test is successful, you’ll see a message that reads “All structured data on the page can generate rich results,” as well as the detected items (i.e. FAQ).
(Our URL is validated as being eligible for rich results.)
#2. Schema Tester
Our handy Chrome extension not only builds schema code - it can test it too!
This way, your schema building and testing can live in one cohesive environment.
#3. Use an SEO Platform
To test schema at scale, and make sure it's being picked up properly, leverage an SEO platform to run a schema audit.
A structured data audit will tell you how many pages had schema out of the total number of pages crawled, the different schema formats (JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa), and more.
It's the best way to validate your schema implementation across thousands of pages.
The FAQ schema is an easy-to-implement secret weapon for increasing your search visibility and CTR, whether it be for a dedicated FAQ page or blog content.
The increase in the size of your listing draws the user’s eye, and useful information offers a positive user experience. Plus, you give Google an extra clue as to what your page it about.
The SERP is always changing, and so is the way we measure search visibility. To learn more about a new way to track search visibility on the SERP, reference seoClarity’s updated approach to rank tracking: Visibility Share.