How to Feature in Google's People Also Ask - PAA Box?

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Dec 05, 2022  . 12 min read
How to Rank in People Also Ask Boxes - TypeStack
How to Rank in People Also Ask Boxes - TypeStack
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When was the last time you searched for something on Google? We do it all the time. We are sure you probably would’ve noticed that when you search for something, there is a small pop-up window with questions related to the ones you have searched for. You simply click on the drop-down arrow of those questions and get them answered without even having to open a website. 

Yes, that is true. Google is trying to drive less traffic towards websites and ensure that users get the answers fast, without having to click on any links or visit any websites. This is Google’s newest way of answering questions, and it is called ‘people also ask’ results. 

So, this article will talk about how to make the most of Google’s ‘people also ask’ results by appearing in them. 

What is the People Also Ask box?

Google's People Also Ask feature, also known as PAA, has become a significant part of SEO (search engine optimization) strategies. Companies and businesses worldwide have been looking to make the best out of it in the last few years. 

Google's People Also Ask is a feature that ensures that users are provided with additional relevant information about the query they had entered in the search box. For example, if you search the name of your favorite sports team, like Manchester United, the People Also Ask feature will provide you with relevant questions like 'Who is the most famous player in Manchester United?', 'How many European titles have Manchester United won?' and many more. You must click on the drop-down arrow next to the question to get your answer without opening any website. 

The People Also Ask feature has been taking the SEO world by storm. However, it rose to dominance slowly over the years since it was incorporated for the first time in 2015. All businesses are making the most of it, and you should too. So, let's talk about how you can show up in the People Also Ask menu.

Four things to know about “People Also Ask” boxes

Before we start understanding and learning how you should pursue PAA rankings, let’s cover major things that you should know about “people also ask” boxes.

1. The boxes can appear in different SERP positions

PAA boxes can seemingly appear in almost any position, unlike featured snippets, which usually appear either first or second in the search results.

2. The questions are seemingly infinite

Whenever you click to expand to reveal an answer in the PAA box, more questions load automatically. And after some clicking, it looks like there’s no end to this.

3. The answer formats vary

In PAA boxes, answers to related questions come in different formats. The most common ones are paragraphs, lists, and tables, however, videos sometimes show up, too.

4. The given questions always* trigger the same answer

Across multiple search queries, the same questions often show up in PAA boxes, and Google appears to use the same source for the answer every time.

How to feature in People Also Ask - PAA box?

There are numerous benefits of ranking in the People Also Ask menu, and the higher you rank, the more you can gain. However, we will get to that part later. First, we will discuss some strategies you can implement that will boost your chances of being ranked in Google’s People Also Ask menu. 

1. Ensure you include relevant keywords

One of the first steps in your SEO strategies should be to conduct comprehensive keyword research related to the product or service you provide and implement them in your content. You have to be extra cautious when selecting which keywords to implement because selecting irrelevant keywords will make it difficult for the crawlers to find and display your website on SERPs (search engine result pages). Many tools can help you generate and use the right keywords with the correct keyword density. One such example is the Google keyword planner tool. 

2. Content is king

Bill Gates once said that content is king, and nothing can be more accurate than that statement. Quality and relevancy of your content are the two primary factors that enable search engines to rank your website. Irrelevant crawlers often ignore low-quality content as it would not provide any real value to users. One important thing to note is that having a visually appealing and easy-to-navigate website is essential. Still, if you don’t back it up with quality content, all your efforts will go to waste. 

Whenever you are writing for SEO purposes, you should consult Google’s SEO guidelines and see if your content matches all their requirements or not. Always remember, writing original and quality content will help you take a giant leap in ranking on Google’s People Also Ask menu.

3. Always choose relevant People Also Ask questions

It is essential that you can choose relevant People Also Ask questions. The algorithm of Google is always designed to display pages that answer all the appropriate queries targeted to the same question. You must ensure that you are performing extensive research on the questions that come up for as many keywords related to your niche. 

There are tools available that can help you collect the questions that you should be targeting according to your selected keywords and type of business. One such example is Ahrefs Site Explorer.

How to rank in “People Also Ask” pages using the Ahrefs tool?

Start with the basic procedure- find a relevant PAA question, and increase the likeliness of Google using your page as the source to answer, make on-page optimizations.

Nonetheless, it is inefficient to choose random questions to optimize. As the question might only show up in the PAA box for some of the low-volume search queries. And in cases like this, ranking is unlikely to send traffic your way or get you exposure. Rather, you would want to optimize for relevant questions that appear for lots of keywords with a high combined monthly search volume.

Now, the question is how do you find popular questions? And how do you optimize for them?

Here’s the process:

Find pages that rank for lots of keywords

It is not possible to find all the keywords where Google shows a particular question in the PAA box. All we can do is hope that we find questions that show up for lots of keywords with a high combined monthly search volume.

And it is possible only if we first find pages that rank for lots of keywords.

To do this, you need to paste your site into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, go to the Top Pages report, then sort by the Keyword column from high to low.

Pull their keyword rankings

Choose a page from the list, paste the URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, then go to the Organic Keywords report. This shows all the keywords the page ranks for.

Then, add these filters:

  • Keywords in positions <20. Keywords present in lower positions are likely to be irrelevant, so it is not worth taking them into account.
  • Keywords with a monthly search volume of at least 10. Keep in mind, we need to optimize for questions that appear in PAA boxes for popular search queries.
  • Keywords with PAA boxes in the results.

Export the full list of keywords from the filtered report to CSV.

Scrape the PAA questions

You need to know which questions are showing up in the PAA boxes for these keywords before you can optimize the page. And to do that, you need to open the CSV from the previous step, then copy and paste the full list of keywords into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Click on the “Export” button, check the “Include SERPs” box, then export.

Look for popular questions

Usually, Google uses the same source for a question’s answer, even if it shows up in the PAA box across multiple queries. Therefore, the next step is to find the most frequently occurring questions for your page. After this, if the same question is showing in the PAA box for hundreds or thousands of keywords, then it’s certainly worth optimizing for.

The simplest way to do this is to paste or import the CSV from the previous step into a Google sheet, then create a pivot table.

Pivot table is nothing but a way to extract and visualize data from a dataset.

Just replicate these settings and you’ll be good to go:

You can see the filter where it says “Showing 1 Item” above is set to only ‘People also ask’ results.

The result should show the number of times each question appears in the PAA box across all the keywords the page ranks for, as well as the total sum of search volume for those keywords.

For instance, the question ‘What are the top 10 websites?’ shows up in the PAA box for 212 keywords that our list of Google search operators ranks for. And the sum of monthly search volumes for those keywords is 61,800.

If Google will use our page as the source for the answer to that question, it will definitely send a few hundred extra visits our way.

Make sure you’re not already a source

Before moving forward, you need to rule out the possibility that Google is already taking the answer from your page. You can do that by searching for a query where that question shows in the PAA box.

To reveal those queries, hit the “+” icon on the question itself:

Copy and paste one of these into Google. You will be able to see the question in the PAA box in the SERP. Expand it and see if you’re the source.

If you are the source of the question, move on to the next question. There is no reason in optimizing for a question where you’re already the answer.

Check that you’re eligible to rank

Usually, the answers chosen by Google for the PAA box come from one of the top ten rankings for the question itself.

For instance, if you search for ‘the most visited websites,’ the answer to the question ‘What are the top 10 websites?’ in the PAA box comes from the list of the most visited websites.

If you search for that question, you’ll see the page in position #3:

Therefore, unless you’re ranking in the top 10 for the question itself, the probability is your page isn’t an eligible answer source. If that’s the case, go back and choose a different question to optimize for.

Optimize your page

If you’ve come this far, then the following should be true:

  • You’ve found a popular PAA question.
  • Your page is not currently the source of the answer.
  • You are ranking in the top 10 when searching Google for that question.

Now, how do you optimize your page?

Why you should use Google’s People Also Ask?

1. Drives organic traffic to your website

Driving as much organic traffic as possible is every SEO manager’s dream. It is one thing to rank top in the SERPs, but a whole other thing to rank in the People Also Ask menu. If you are a new and upcoming website and working on a budget, ranking in the People Also Ask menu is the best way to drive organic traffic to your website, as more and more people rely on this menu to resolve their queries.

2. Eliminates the need of repeated search

Let's face it, we all are lazy regarding the internet. No one likes to type their search query, again and again, only to have to go through different websites to find what they are looking for. The People Also Ask feature comes as a blessing in disguise. It eliminates the need for repeated searches. 

Let's take the example from above, we type in Manchester United, and the People Also Ask menu takes care of the rest by providing us with relevant questions associated with Manchester United. This saves us the effort of repeated searches, and sometimes we get the information we wouldn't have searched for if we were doing multiple searches.

3. Google could display your page for multiple answers

If your page answers multiple questions regarding a particular topic, then Google will show answers from your page. This not only drives more traffic to your website but, more importantly, ensures that your conversation rate rises.

4. Helps you create better content

One of the most important reasons to use Google’s People Also Ask feature is that it helps you create better content, which will help you rank your website better in this feature and attract more users. 

As we mentioned above, content is one of the most critical elements of SEO, and this feature of Google can help you create better content as you can see what users are searching for exactly. So, it becomes easier to create content that would satisfy their needs and ensure that whenever relevant questions are searched for, Google will show your content.

5. Find related keywords

Keywords are the backbone of a solid SEO strategy. Using Google’s People Also Ask feature helps you understand how Google functions and what results are being shown for any given search query. You can use this to ensure that your website by choosing the right keywords for your website.

However, sometimes it can be tedious to implement the exact keywords word by word. So, you can use related phrases that people are searching for, and you can also find those using Google’s People Also Ask feature.

Make the most out of Google’s People Also Ask results

Ranking your website in the People Also Ask menu should be the top priority of your SEO strategy list as it increases organic traffic and conversion rates. However, you should be clever in choosing what types of questions you want to rank for. Optimizing your content around keywords with very low volume is of no use. 

Do the necessary research and make the most of Google’s People Also Ask feature.