Here at Pure SEO Auckland, we’ve heard that Google has been trialling new varieties of search result snippets for a few months now. Frequently Asked Questions, Questions & Answers, and How-Tos will allow webmasters to display their content to searchers in new ways, and provide more information to searchers on what they are likely to find from a result – before they even click on it.
Schema.org Markup – usually just referred to as Schema – is a library of tags you can add to your HTML. Schema enhances the link that a search engine delivers when your webpage is referenced as a result.
This could be star ratings for recipes, publication dates for articles, or other user-focussed information that exists to customise search results – the goal is to deliver information that can be easily understood at a glance.
Schema is an ongoing collaboration between Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex, to encourage webmasters in providing data a search engine can use when translating content for a more user-friendly experience.
The new formats which Google showcased are fairly straight-forward:
Q&A brings up variations on the searched question and their respective answers for users to browse. FAQ brings up related, frequently asked questions – most likely when a user asks something of a specific brand or product. Finally, How-To displays collapsible step-by-step guides for a user when they ask for instructions.
Google has already integrated new methods for displaying the most relevant answers in forum threads or other discussions to match a search query, including the most upvoted area on a site it has been drawn from. It seems like the plan is to surface information in a similar manner for FAQ and How-To content.
It’s worth mentioning that the Schema.org website already has this new markup available. Google plans to open an interest form to webmasters soon, to give them a chance to properly implement the markup formats, but the opportunity to integrate them into your HTML ahead of time is already here!