4 Little-Known FAQ Schema Filtering Commandments

By Brodie Clark

February 10, 2020
faq schema filtering commandments on google

In the beginning, Schema.org created FAQ Schema. Google then introduced the filtering parameters that come with implementation in Search.

These filters act as commandments for Google’s algorithm which should be abided by for whenever the markup is used within search results.

In this post, I outline 4 little-known filters for FAQ Schema which are not written about in Google’s B̶i̶b̶l̶e̶ Guidelines.

And Google said: “let there be FAQ Schema filtering”, and there was filtering. Here’s what they are:

Honor thy ability to have a maximum of 3 SERP treatments

For this first filter, it relates to Google not showing more than 3 FAQ treatments in search results at a time.

This filter was put in place when the feature first launched to prevent the 10-blue-link results being dominated by the Schema.

If you rank at the bottom of the first page and you have 3 pages using the Schema directly above you, then your treatment won’t show.

Thou shalt not have the SERP treatment on the second page

For the second filter, this is another major one that has been put in place. If you rank on the second page for a query, the SERP treatment won’t be enabled.

So if you add the Schema to your page, but your page does not have the ability to rank on page one for the desired query, it’s basically pointless.

FAQ Schema implementation requires relatively low time investment and skill level, making this filter a way to combat excessive usage. Can read my post with more thoughts on each of these filters.

Remember to respect the filter of not using HTML in the ‘question’ of the Schema

This is an interesting one. Google’s guidelines state that you can use HTML in the ‘answer’, but don’t say you can’t for the ‘question’.

This was brought to my attention by Peter Mindenhall from a question by Greg Bernhardt. So I tried it out (naturally), and here’s what happened:

Google filtered out my question completely. Not cool. So I changed it back. A case of “you didn’t say not to do it” 😆

Suganthan Mohanadasan also did an experiment that had a similar outcome. Don’t try this at home, folks.

Thou shalt not receive thy SERP treatment on mobile when a sticky local panel is present

And finally, the last commandment relates to queries that aim to have a local panel and an FAQ Schema page visible at the same time.

This filter seems to only apply to mobile search results (with the sticky header), but works fine on desktop.

This one was pointed out to me by Daniel Cheung:

I was able to replicate this one across other queries too. So there you have it, branded local panel + FAQ Schema + mobile device = no SERP treatment.

Keep these filter commandments in mind, along with the official documentation, and you’ll be on your way to receiving the SERP treatment.

Reminder: I’ve written about FAQ Schema a few times now, mainly because there’s a lot of complexity to it as you dig deeper. But it’s not something where I rave about it’s usage (see the notice here).

Also, I love it when people tag me on Twitter asking questions. That’s how I discover a lot of these findings – so keep em’ coming!

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