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Jul 7, 2022

People Also Ask on Google: What it is & How to Optimize for it?

Scalenut
People Also Ask on Google: What it is & How to Optimize for it?

Contents

As humans, we are constantly asking questions and seeking answers. We search for information on the internet, in the newspaper, or ask our friends.

Google has become an invaluable resource for many people. It’s a comprehensive place to find answers to just about any question you may have and is widely used by professionals as well as everyday users.

In 2015, Google introduced a new SERP feature- People Also Ask. With the rise of the PAA section, SEO specialists were able to see a great deal of information regarding questions people searched for and wanted answers to.

What is People Also Ask?

People Also Ask is simply a new SERP feature added to Google in April 2015. It’s an answer section on the right side of your search results page, under the query box and includes questions related to your keyword or topic.

This makes it easier for users to find information about different topics by offering relevant answers from other people who have searched for similar keywords or phrases previously.

Gradually, Google improved the functionality of PAA. It made it more dynamic and let people search quickly through variations on questions. This made it easier to find what they were looking for.

Each answer comes from a web page, and Google provides a clickable link to the source below each one.

Things to Know About ‘People Also Ask’ Boxes

While there have been a lot of misconceptions and myths about the People Also Ask box, here are a few to clarify:

  • PAA Boxes can Appear in Different SERP Positions

Unlike featured snippets that appear on the first position or zero what we may call, PAA questions may occur on any position on the first page.

  • PAA Questions are Seemingly Infinite

“People Also Ask” questions do not include a limit on the number of results that are returned, so it is essential to know what you’re looking for before searching.

To look up an answer to your PAA question, click on the “show more answers” link at the bottom and then enter your search term. You will see all relevant matches beneath this box on the Google Search Results page.

  • PAA may Pull the Same Answer From Various Questions

If you are looking for information on a particular topic, it is best to search with and without the “People Also Ask” box. If you see no difference in SERP position or visibility of results, then PAA may be what has brought this content up.

Moreover, PAA may also give answers from the same sources for different search queries.

  • PAA Answer Formats Vary

Like featured snippets and answers to related questions, answers in PAA boxes come in different formats. Sometimes they are paragraphs; other times, they are lists or tables. Videos sometimes show up too.

People Also Ask vs. Featured Snippets

Many may confuse PAA with a featured snippet.

However, the following are the differences between the two SERP features of Google:

The objective of both features is to help you find information. The formats and mechanics are different. “Search With Snippets” is a short question that will appear at the top of the SERP page, at position zero.

The top position on Google can have a significant effect on your visibility. If you at the top, you will attract more people because your site will stand out.

How do I Rank for People Also Ask?

The process is simple: find a question people have about your topic, then optimize the page to be better for Google and the audience.

Choosing a question to optimize for at random is not a good way. That question might only appear in the PAA box for a few low-volume searches. In that case, the ranking will probably not send traffic your way (or get you much exposure).

The best practice is to choose a random question; choose one that shows up in the PAA box of many high-volume searches.

  1. Find the Pages that Rank for Various Keywords

There is no way to find all the target keywords where Google shows a specific question in the PAA box.

You can only hope to find questions that show up for lots of words together with a high monthly search volume. 

You can use the Ahrefs Site Explorer and enter the site URL to sort the keywords from high to low.

  1. Check out Their Keyword Rankings

Pick a page from the list, paste the URL in the site explorer and use the filters like:

  • Keywords in positions <20
  • Keywords with a monthly search volume of at least 100
  • From the SERP feature, use the filter PAA.

Download this report as CSV.

  1. Scrape out PAA Results

It would be best to find out which questions people are asking for these keywords. Open the CSV file from the previous step, then copy and paste all keywords into Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer.

Export the results again and include the SERP feature. When you tick this, only the keywords shown in SERPs will be displayed.

  1. Look for PAA Questions

Google seems to always use the same source for a question’s answer, even if it shows up in the PAA box across multiple queries.

If the same question is occurring for various keywords in the PAA box, you know how important it can be for you.

You can use the Ahrefs report to check for the questions occurring on various sites as PAA.

Next, copy the exported result in a Google Sheet and sort the 'Volume Count' in descending order.

  1. Check if You are Eligible to Rank for the PAA Queries

Most of the answers that Google chooses for a particular question come from one of the top ten results on Google, even though they might be different from what is appearing in the box itself.

So, this is one eligibility criteria that you should look at when optimizing the page for PAA. For example, in the image below, the first PAA comes from the first result of SERPs.

If you're not ranked in the top 10 for this question, your answer source won't be an eligible one. You might want to choose a different question in this case.

  1. Optimize Your Page for PAA

So, here is a quick summary of what should PAA necessarily have:

  • You should look for popular questions ranking in PAA for various keywords.
  • You are not the source of PAA.
  • You should rank in the top 10 for the keyword or any of those related keywords.

Here is a quick tip for writing an answer to your question:

  • Provide the answers in the format Google wants. For example, if the answers are in the form of ordered lists, then you should try to create an answer that is in the ordered list as well.
  • Keep the answers in a way others have answered, which is best for your target audience.
  • Write a short answer but a descriptive one.

To create better answers, you can use the “Answer a Question” tool from our AI copywriter:

For the relevant questions where you need an ordered bullet list, the Scalenut AI copywriter can create the bulleted answers as well.

  1. Create FAQ Content and Use FAQ Schema

FAQ schema markup is not necessary to comply with Google's requirements, but it can help your page rank better in search. The schema markup helps improve the relevancy of a website by cataloging information that users may find helpful while searching on a specific topic.

Google relies on semantic analysis to determine which questions fit every searcher's needs. Bill Slawski has a patent called "Generating related questions for search queries," which also mentions that the related questions rely on search intent.

This way, you can show the search engine that the content answers all the relevant questions asked.

For the WordPress sites, you can use various FAQ plugins to create FAQ schemas in your content.

How Can You Use PAA Boxes to Improve SEO?

Besides the methods given above, there are a few other ways to use Google’s “People Also Ask” boxes and generate organic traffic to your page or blog post.

  • Create Better Content

Google loves content that is informative and detailed for the target audience. If you want to appear more on the organic search results pages, include as many related keywords and write as many questions as you can.

Enter your target keyword and look for the PAA boxes; check for any new questions or the questions that you might have missed.

  • Find New Keywords

Most of the questions that show up in PAA boxes rarely seem to have high search volumes on Google.

Well, if you see the search volume for PAA questions in any keyword research tool, you will see these strings or questions have search volumes in 10 or 20.

But, certainly, that doesn't mean that people are not searching for it. If you look for the traffic for the pages with H1 or the topics covering PAA, they may have enormous organic traffic.

Well, this keyword research process would give you hundreds of questions and topics to include in your content. If you keep expanding the PAA box, you may discover various related questions that also cover many keywords.

  • Give Answers to Brand Queries

Branded queries are usually low-volume, but people looking for them often get to the bottom of the purchase funnel and are close to conversion.

If they get wrong or misleading information at this stage, it could easily change the reader's mind.

Hence, one of the key steps is to look if the question Google shows for brand queries is answered rightly.

How Often Do PAA Results Appear in SERPs?

According to research by SEMRush, PAA results appeared in 49% of desktop search results and 52% of mobile search results.

PAA results are much more common in mobile SERPs. In the U.S., they appear three times as often on mobiles than on desktops. In Singapore, they are even more common than that!

Google has a variety of ways to make search results fresh and show them in a way that's interesting for users.

For example, it might show Top Stories from different news sources on the same page as popular searches or reviews of popular movies or TV shows near search results. It may also feature Twitter card features about what people are saying about specific topics near the top, such as sports events or musical concerts.

Where do ‘People Also Ask’ Boxes Appear?

58% of the time, you will see PAA after the first organic result. They are often in the top 3 results, so they are very visible.

You can include relevant keywords in your content to help people find your business or website more easily. You'll want to do this without writing keyword-heavy content that won't convert well.

PAA increases the requirements for content quality, relevance, availability, and usefulness.

Can PAA Boxes Help You Rank Twice on Page 1?

Yes. According to a data, around 13% of the pages that appeared on the PAA box were also ranking in the top 3.

However, 70% of the sites present inside the PAA box were not found to be on the first page of the Google search results page.

What Types of Queries can Trigger PAA?

The most common question words in the PAA boxes include  “what,” “why,” “when,” “where,” and “who.”

If you want people to understand your content, you should make it so that the information is easy to understand.

It's best to answer a question and then say what other questions people might have about this topic. This way, people can find out what they want to know without reading your whole article.

What is the Length of Text Inside of the PAA Box?

In general, the longest answer in a PAA box would be around 130 words, whereas the shortest answer can be just a single word.

For the listicles question, the word limit appeared less than 8 or just 8.

FAQs

Q1. What is the Google People Also Ask Accordion-like Feature?

Ans: The People Also Asked Accordion-like Feature may expand into an endless number of PAAs. When you click the right arrow on a PAA inquiry box, it expands. It not only gives the solutions to that single question but also displays two or three other connected questions at the bottom. The more you click, the larger the box of frequently asked questions becomes. These limitless PAA lists can provide hundreds of extended results in the end.

Q2. What is AnswerThePublic?

Ans: AnswerThePublic is a keyword tool that uses a picture called a search cloud to show search inquiries and recommended autocomplete searches. The 5 Ws, as well as 'how,' 'can,' 'are,' which, and will', are divided into different categories.

Q3. Why is People Also Ask important?

Ans: People Also Ask assists in securing a long-term presence in SERPs and increases organic traffic for websites pushing organic search results. People Also Ask results give additional information and responses that may be related to the searcher's query or search subject. The PAA box displayed in Google is an important feature of the SERP and an important SEO factor.

Q4. How does People Also Ask work?

Ans: The PAA (People Also Ask) snippet box displays a list of related queries to the original search query. When you click on one of those queries, the PAA box expands to show a short answer to the query (along with the source URL).

Conclusion

When you’re looking to improve your organic traffic, the best place to start is with PAA. There are so many questions and answers on Google that it can be hard to find the right ones.

While it’s not possible to rank for every question in the world, it is possible to optimize for questions that show up frequently. To do this, you need to know which keywords are important and how often they appear on PAA pages.

Using the above methods, you can quickly find the most relevant questions to answer and boost organic traffic.

If you need help finding the right questions to optimize for, try using Scalenut SEO Hub for free and find the questions that are most relevant to your topic.

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