A summary of Google’s changes to their Education Q&A structured data documentation.
Google updated the Education structured data documentation with new content guidelines and a manual action warning for sites that don’t conform with the new requirements.
Education Q&A Carousel in Search Results
Google added documentation for new structured data that helped relevant pages become eligible to be shown in the Education Q&A carousel.
The Education Q&A carousel is an enhanced search listing available in the following search types:
- Google Search results
- Google Assistant
- Google Lens
Two very different kinds of pages are eligible for this enhanced search feature.
- Flashcard pages
- Single Q&A pages
Google described the two kinds of pages that are eligible for the Education Carousel display in search:
“Flashcard page: A page that contains flashcards that typically have a question on one side and an answer on the other side. To mark up flashcard pages, continue reading this guide to learn how to add Education Q&A schema.
Single Q&A page: A page that only contains one question and is followed by user-submitted answers. To mark up single Q&A pages, add QAPage markup instead.”
Flashcard pages use the Quiz markup. Q&A pages use the QAPage structured data.
Google’s new Education Q&A content guidelines advise that pages that do not conform will be subject to a manual action, which is a penalty that prevents a site from appearing in Google search results.
The new section of the documentation warns:
“We created these Education Q&A content guidelines to ensure that our users are connected with learning resources that are relevant.
If we find content that violates these guidelines, we’ll respond appropriately, which may include taking manual action and not displaying your content in the education Q&A rich result on Google.”
There are three points to keep in mind:
1. The publishers of Education Q&A pages are advised to consult Google’s Content Guidelines for Q&A pages.
Those guidelines state that the QAPage structured data markup can only be used on pages where users can answer questions. The valid use case example given is a web forum.
Sites that don’t offer users a way to answer questions but rather only present a question and an answer are advised to use the FAQPage structured data instead.
2. The page must feature education-related content in the form of questions and answers, and the answer does answer the question.
3. Answers must be accurate and correct. The guidelines state that if an (unspecified) amount of the content is found to be inaccurate, then Google would make all the content ineligible to be seen in the Education Q&A carousel.
Focus on Accuracy
Education is a sensitive topic, so it makes sense for Google to add an extra layer of strictness concerning the quality of information shown in their Education Q&A carousel.
Google is increasingly emphasizing correct and helpful information, which could be part of the ongoing process to improve search results.