This year you and I read how adding FAQ rich snippets boosted search rankings for various bloggers. I say “you” because I assume you read the same industry blogs I do. In this case, I’m referring to Neil and Matthew’s blogs.
Both of them explained the concept, set out loads of proof (screenshots) and were nice enough to step everyone through on how to execute the technical aspects.
As a niche site publisher, I wanted to know how FAQ rich snippets would perform across dozens of articles on a non-industry blog (i.e. real-world niche site like knitting, sneakers, pets, etc.). I suspect you want to know the same.
Table of Contents
Should you add FAQ rich snippets to your niche site, or not?
I publish several real-world niche sites. After learning about FAQ rich snippets, I was curious if these snippets would grow traffic on a real-world niche site.
I’ve published FAQ sections on some articles on my niche sites for years but hadn’t incorporated FAQ rich snippets.
It was time to put it to the test on a bigger level.
Instead, I want to share results of FAQ rich snippets for a whole lotta articles on a real-world niche site.
It’s been 3+ months since I added the first FAQ rich snippets to 59 articles on one of my niche sites. Here are the results.
For those of you who don’t want to wade through a long table of data, here’s the short version:
- Total number of articles with FAQ rich snippets added: 59
- Number of articles where traffic increased: 34
- Number of articles where traffic decreased: 25
- Average increase in traffic: 10.7%
FAQ Case Study Details
I added FAQ rich snippets to mostly established articles but also some new articles from July 13 to August 26, 2019.
- Average word count for FAQ section: 989 words (just the FAQ section, not the entire article).
- Average number of questions and answers I added to an article: 10.3
- Most articles were established (1+ years), but some were new.
FAQ Rich Snippet Results Table
PDF version of the table: Click here to download
|Article||Date FAQ Added||FAQ Word Count||# of Questions & Answers||June 2019 (Search Visits)||July 2019 (Search Visits)||August 2019 (Search Visits)||September 2019 (Search Visits)||October 2019 (Search Visits)||% increase June to Oct.|
|1||July 15, 2019||1,200||10||186||216||242||438||390||109.7%|
|2||July 15, 2019||1,011||14||4,795||4,187||4,353||3,594||3,578||-25.4%|
|3||July 16, 2019||766||7||182||318||395||401||528||190.1%|
|4||July 16, 2019||607||7||0||11||27||42||66|
|5||July 16, 2019||756||9||20||72||212||328||508||2440.0%|
|6||July 16, 2019||1,504||14||92||75||71||117||147||59.8%|
|7||July 16, 2019||969||14||286||300||329||350||447||56.3%|
|8||July 16, 2019||901||10||25||43||52||31||37||48.0%|
|9||July 17, 2019||750||10||270||232||183||165||145||-46.3%|
|10||July 17, 2019||801||10||6,164||5,835||4,101||5,176||5,247||-14.9%|
|11||July 18, 2019||915||14||886||775||933||758||623||-29.7%|
|12||July 18, 2019||765||9||413||376||560||524||756||83.1%|
|13||July 25, 2019||878||8||63||86||82||59||79||25.4%|
|14||July 19, 2019||504||6||452||282||249||255||174||-61.5%|
|15||July 19, 2019||650||7||1,353||1,526||1,342||1,004||1,144||-15.4%|
|16||July 25, 2019||856||7||351||404||348||357||373||6.3%|
|17||July 25, 2019||763||8||277||261||268||277||214||-22.7%|
|18||July 19, 2019||780||7||823||735||757||628||695||-15.6%|
|19||July 26, 2019||847||10||674||653||487||874||1,296||92.3%|
|20||July 26, 2019||900||11||351||343||322||245||258||-26.5%|
|21||July 29, 2019||999||9||110||126||82||121||133||20.9%|
|22||July 29, 2019||804||7||326||311||277||295||263||-19.3%|
|23||July 30, 2019||707||7||560||448||427||550||550||-1.8%|
|24||July 30, 2019||663||6||250||311||386||524||537||114.8%|
|25||July 30, 2019||500||6||1,346||1,244||1,152||1,552||1,362||1.2%|
|26||July 31, 2019||813||9||169||210||144||121||115||-32.0%|
|27||July 31, 2019||775||9||99||70||117||106||130||31.3%|
|28||July 31, 2019||750||8||321||257||260||324||312||-2.8%|
|29||July 31, 2019||905||10||106||126||172||191||174||64.2%|
|30||July 31, 2019||1,001||8||32||49||73||86||81||153.1%|
|31||August 1, 2019||1,043||11||881||845||908||976||1,178||33.7%|
|32||August 1, 2019||850||9||283||271||228||245||243||-14.1%|
|33||July 26, 2019||850||10||0||0||18||51||37|
|34||August 2, 2019||752||9||533||586||464||581||584||9.6%|
|35||August 2, 2019||1,153||7||191||212||199||220||233||22.0%|
|36||August 2, 2019||1,163||13||216||225||226||278||241||11.6%|
|37||August 2, 2019||925||8||283||280||297||308||339||19.8%|
|38||August 13, 2019||884||9||272||194||212||174||206||-24.3%|
|39||August 13, 2019||1,008||12||328||363||379||410||444||35.4%|
|40||August 13, 2019||1,400||18||926||800||1,042||1,345||2,498||169.8%|
|41||August 13, 2019||1,313||16||2,309||2,100||2,009||1,387||1,325||-42.6%|
|42||August 14, 2019||681||7||488||458||539||649||525||7.6%|
|43||August 14, 2019||1,038||9||135||140||160||90||164||21.5%|
|44||August 15, 2019||1,158||9||277||262||308||315||294||6.1%|
|45||August 16, 2019||1,227||11||1,068||978||1,038||1,334||1,610||50.7%|
|46||August 16, 2019||1,437||14||3,235||3,766||3,429||2,688||2,989||-7.6%|
|47||August 16, 2019||1,024||10||2,115||2,346||2,954||2,847||2,410||13.9%|
|48||August 19, 2019||807||9||218||232||194||216||216||-0.9%|
|49||August 19, 2019||800||9||168||174||155||136||152||-9.5%|
|50||August 19, 2019||1,254||12||74||67||66||172||164||121.6%|
|51||August 20, 2019||1,300||14||6,895||6,693||7,866||14,777||16,173||134.6%|
|52||August 20, 2019||1,560||14||2,280||2,317||2,345||2,427||2,442||7.1%|
|53||August 20, 2019||1,550||13||3,673||2,952||3,532||3,558||3,512||-4.4%|
|54||August 21, 2019||1,552||18||4,076||2,912||2,457||2,810||2,736||-32.9%|
|55||August 21, 2019||1,581||19||9,567||9,038||7,688||8,534||8,101||-15.3%|
|56||August 21, 2019||1,504||12||1,980||1,913||1,817||1,731||1,787||-9.7%|
|57||August 22, 2019||1,051||10||369||363||308||343||344||-6.8%|
|58||August 22, 2019||1,274||12||947||653||523||387||351||-62.9%|
|59||August 26, 2019||816||9||701||782||866||965||827||18.0%|
|983 (Avg.)||10.2 (Avg.)||65,470||61,804||60,630||69,447||72,487||10.7%|
PDF version of the table: Click here to download
A few notes about the table:
- The date column refers to the date I added the FAQ section and schema markup to the article.
- The word count pertains to the word count of the FAQ section, not the entire article.
- Apples to apples: Because some months have 31 days and others 30 days, for the months that have 31 days, I only used traffic data through the 30th. This was for July, August and October.
Search Console Clicks Data
It’s now September 21, 2020 which is almost a year after this was originally published. As you can see below, the FAQ snippets themselves do drive a decent amount of traffic to my site. Here’s the chart:
How many FAQ snippets are registered in Search Console? There are 82 URLs that are registered.
That means 82 sets of FAQ snippets drove 57,377 visitors in 30 days. That comes out to 699 visitors per snippet. I’d say those are very good numbers.
1. Many variables – correlation (not causation):
SEO case studies can do more harm than good. They can be downright dangerous and here’s why. It’s almost always impossible to say with any certainty what causes search traffic changes. With over 200 ranking factors, there are so many variables that impact search traffic that concluding changes are a result of one action is usually overreaching.
However, data can help us understand search to some degree. While I can’t claim FAQ rich snippets increased my search traffic on the whole, I can say there is some correlation between a slight upswing in traffic and implementing FAQ rich snippets for my niche site.
2. Only 2 to 3 months duration:
Also, it’s only been 2 months since the last FAQ rich snippet was published. Maybe traffic will improve.
3. Seasonal impact:
I definitely had some articles in that list that are seasonal. Some would have dropped in traffic no matter what (do well in Summer) and some would increase in traffic no matter what (Fall/Winter topics).
Mixed results, but on the balance, traffic eaked upward. Overall, results aren’t impressive. There’s no way I can conclude that FAQ rich snippets improved my organic Google traffic.
Just think, I spent well over $1,000 plus umpteen hours doing all this for not much of an improvement. That said, IMO, the FAQ sections make for a better website so I don’t regret a penny or a minute of time invested.
I’m not sure you can take much away from this other than have realistic expectations if you decide to implement FAQ rich snippets. It’s a huge and costly job for no tangible results.
If that’s the case, why bother publishing this case study?
Practical answer: Folks love reading case studies even if the results don’t necessarily provide clear conclusions or guidance.
Feel good answer: I felt the need to contribute to the blogging community with meaningful data to further our collective knowledge and understanding of SEO.
Greedy answer: These types of posts attract links, which increases traffic and makes me more money.
Snarky answer: My blog, my topics.
That’s a wrap.
P.P. (as in post post):
Where’s the FAQ section for this article? There isn’t one. I don’t want to lose traffic.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.