Important: this has been confirmed as a bug from Google. Adding Schema to a homepage should not create a rich result (changes expected soon).

Update July 2nd: this bug has now been fixed.

As far back as I can remember, the homepage for a website has never been able to obtain a rich result (AKA “rich snippet”) in Google Search.

This means if you were to add Structured Data that has the potential to show a rich result (Product and FAQPage in particular) to a homepage, nothing would happen.

I had a quick look and found a reference from Gary Illyes back in July of 2015 where it was confirmed that this was in fact a feature of Search:

As of June 4th 2020, I’m now seeing a big change with this regard. The two Schema types that previously didn’t show rich results on the homepage now do.

For the most part, I suspect sites that now have a rich result appearing for their homepage will not have been on purpose. This may be because they implemented the markup within the <head>.

Taking this approach can result in a Spammy Structured Data Penalty and is not advised. But somehow, this is still a nuanced topic that Google hasn’t fully addressed across the web yet.

In terms of the Product markup example (with the star ratings), I would expect that a lot of sites using this are not going completely by the guidelines. The guidelines state:

There are two types of pages where you would typically use this markup:

• Product page that describes a single product

• Shopping aggregator page that lists a single product, along with information about different sellers offering that product

And I’m specifically mentioning Product Schema on purpose here, because that’s what a lot of sites (even those considered “local businesses”) are likely using to receive the rich snippets after the reviews update shook things up.

Sites that were using Organization Schema and sub-types likely lost their rich snippets because of this update. And this is again mentioned in Google’s guidelines for ‘review snippets‘:

google review snippet guidelines doc

Similar can be said for FAQPage, but this specific update doesn’t require more detail. The point is that some site owners will probably be surprised and happy that they’re now showing more prominently for their homepage in Search. Followed by others who now want to join in.

I wouldn’t expect to get an official announcement from Google on this one. And if we do, it would probably be something like: “Search is constantly changing and these things evolve over time”. ;p

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