It has been confirmed by Google that the company has been busy testing for the past several months a new form of search results snippets: the way the search results appear to searchers.  These new search snippets have taken the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs), questions and questions (Q&A) and How-Tos.

Akhil Agarwal first notified Search Engine Land about this feature on Twitter.  Google then sent them  a statement explaining the test.  The following is a screen shot that was presented at a recent Google event in Singapore:

A Google Spokesperson told us:

We’re always looking for new ways to provide the most relevant, useful results for our users. We’ve recently introduced new ways to help users understand whether responses on a given Q&A or forum site could have the best answer for their question. By bringing a preview of these answers onto Search, we’re helping our users more quickly identify which source is most likely to have the information they’re looking for. We’re currently working with partners to experiment with ways to surface similar previews for FAQ and How-to content.

With these new snippet features, more insights can be gained into what the search can expect from that web page before deciding to click on the search result.  Webmasters should have the ability to mark up their content with structured data, as well as to have their search results be eligible to have question-and-answer previews shown.  This is similar to how supporting metadata around the number of upvotes and the Top Answer feature works.

Soon, an interest form will be opened up by Google that will let publishers and webmasters to participate in the FAQ and How-to formats shown in the screen shot that is shown above.

By reviewing the Schema.org website, you/ll be able to find a lot of this markup available already, including HowTo markupQA page markup and FAQ markup. If you’re interesting in getting started early, consider adding the appropriate markup to the sections of your HTML.

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