Fat Stacks quote from Breaking Bad by Jesse Pinkman
Tags:

Do FAQ Rich Snippets Help or Hurt SEO Traffic? (Case Study from 59 Articles)

This post may contain links to products, software and services. Please assume all such links are affiliate links which may result in my earning commissions and fees.

Frequently Asked Questions image

 

Podcast version:

Video version:

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.

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.

This post isn’t going to go into how to actually create the code for rich snippet FAQ because Neil and Matthew do a great job stepping you through it.

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.

Results Overview

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

ArticleDate FAQ AddedFAQ Word Count# of Questions & AnswersJune 2019 (Search Visits)July 2019 (Search Visits)August 2019 (Search Visits)September 2019 (Search Visits)October 2019 (Search Visits)% increase June to Oct.
1July 15, 20191,20010186216242438390109.7%
2July 15, 20191,011144,7954,1874,3533,5943,578-25.4%
3July 16, 20197667182318395401528190.1%
4July 16, 20196077011274266
5July 16, 2019756920722123285082440.0%
6July 16, 20191,5041492757111714759.8%
7July 16, 20199691428630032935044756.3%
8July 16, 201990110254352313748.0%
9July 17, 201975010270232183165145-46.3%
10July 17, 2019801106,1645,8354,1015,1765,247-14.9%
11July 18, 201991514886775933758623-29.7%
12July 18, 2019765941337656052475683.1%
13July 25, 20198788638682597925.4%
14July 19, 20195046452282249255174-61.5%
15July 19, 201965071,3531,5261,3421,0041,144-15.4%
16July 25, 201985673514043483573736.3%
17July 25, 20197638277261268277214-22.7%
18July 19, 20197807823735757628695-15.6%
19July 26, 2019847106746534878741,29692.3%
20July 26, 201990011351343322245258-26.5%
21July 29, 201999991101268212113320.9%
22July 29, 20198047326311277295263-19.3%
23July 30, 20197077560448427550550-1.8%
24July 30, 20196636250311386524537114.8%
25July 30, 201950061,3461,2441,1521,5521,3621.2%
26July 31, 20198139169210144121115-32.0%
27July 31, 20197759997011710613031.3%
28July 31, 20197508321257260324312-2.8%
29July 31, 20199051010612617219117464.2%
30July 31, 20191,00183249738681153.1%
31August 1, 20191,043118818459089761,17833.7%
32August 1, 20198509283271228245243-14.1%
33July 26, 20198501000185137
34August 2, 201975295335864645815849.6%
35August 2, 20191,153719121219922023322.0%
36August 2, 20191,1631321622522627824111.6%
37August 2, 2019925828328029730833919.8%
38August 13, 20198849272194212174206-24.3%
39August 13, 20191,0081232836337941044435.4%
40August 13, 20191,400189268001,0421,3452,498169.8%
41August 13, 20191,313162,3092,1002,0091,3871,325-42.6%
42August 14, 201968174884585396495257.6%
43August 14, 20191,03891351401609016421.5%
44August 15, 20191,15892772623083152946.1%
45August 16, 20191,227111,0689781,0381,3341,61050.7%
46August 16, 20191,437143,2353,7663,4292,6882,989-7.6%
47August 16, 20191,024102,1152,3462,9542,8472,41013.9%
48August 19, 20198079218232194216216-0.9%
49August 19, 20198009168174155136152-9.5%
50August 19, 20191,25412746766172164121.6%
51August 20, 20191,300146,8956,6937,86614,77716,173134.6%
52August 20, 20191,560142,2802,3172,3452,4272,4427.1%
53August 20, 20191,550133,6732,9523,5323,5583,512-4.4%
54August 21, 20191,552184,0762,9122,4572,8102,736-32.9%
55August 21, 20191,581199,5679,0387,6888,5348,101-15.3%
56August 21, 20191,504121,9801,9131,8171,7311,787-9.7%
57August 22, 20191,05110369363308343344-6.8%
58August 22, 20191,27412947653523387351-62.9%
59August 26, 2019816970178286696582718.0%
983 (Avg.)10.2 (Avg.)65,47061,80460,63069,44772,48710.7%

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.

Caveats

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).

Conclusion

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.


Best blogging email newsletter ever

2 Comments - Add Comment

Reply