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Google has announced that it is reducing the visibility of FAQ rich results and limiting How-to rich results to desktop devices “to provide a cleaner and more consistent search experience”.
For FAQ, rich results will only be shown for “well-known, authoritative government and health websites”.
Rich results will no longer be shown regularly for all other sites, though they may automatically be considered for this treatment depending on eligibility.
Google’s advice is not to remove structured data, saying there is no need proactively to do this.
Structured data not actively being used doesn’t cause problems for, or have visible effects in, Google Search.
How-to rich results will from now only be shown for desktop users, and not on mobile devices.
Google adds that “with mobile indexing, Google indexes the mobile version of a website as the basis for indexing: to have How-to rich results shown on desktop, the mobile version of your website must include the appropriate markup”.
Google says the change will be visible in your Search Console reporting and you may notice this in the metrics for FAQ and How-to search appearances in your performance reports.
If your site is affected, you may see a decline in clicks in your Google Search Console performance report and your analytics may show a decline in traffic from Google Search.
The update is global, for all languages and countries, though some users may not see the changes immediately due to a small holdback experiment. Google says it should not be considered a ranking change.