What do we mean by next-level? We start by identifying specific, advanced, tactics to use in order to gain an edge over your competitors. These are not required actions in some cases, but once you have built a great foundation of content and technical SEO implementation these should be on your to-do list. Last time we touched on featured snippets, in this article we’ll look at the “People Also Ask” box available in Google searches.
What is a “People Also Ask” box?
People also ask boxes (PAA) are another type of rich search results similar to featured snippets. They are highly related to the searcher’s query but don’t necessarily answer their initial query (For the PPC folks think of this as a broad match keyword being triggered by the query). These PAA boxes can actually become a never-ending cascade of questions as searchers click into them and uncover yet more unrelated questions like some sort of question wormhole. In addition to a box with related questions, relevant video can occasionally be triggered as part of this function which you may have seen when Googling questions. The positioning of PAA boxes varies widely from search to search, sometimes it will be just below paid search ads or it might be at the bottom of the page.
What do “People Also Ask” (PAA) boxes look like?
Here’s an example highlighting questions Google found helpful in relation to the quary “what is a featured snippet”:
How does a page get selected for a PAA box?
The same way it gets picked up for a featured snippet. Often the question and answers in the PAA boxes are featured snippets for other search queries. What this means for your SEO strategy is that by seeking out questions your audience is asking in search and answering them in content you will not only be potentially helping the humans who get to your site but you could be getting both featured snippet AND people also ask box placements! Here are some specific action items suggested by Search Engine Land.
- Write complete questions and answers. Make sure that each question is asked and answered fully.
- Use plain language
- Avoid sales language
- Add Q&A schema.
Increasing popularity of PAA Boxes
It’s understandable why Google would build PAA boxes out as they provide a quick way to get information on multiple topics closely related to the search query – but just how widespread are PAA boxes becoming? According to Moz, almost 85% of searches in Google are now triggering PAA boxes. Related questions are the rage in SEO right now, make sure that you or your SEO partner are aware of how popular these boxes are becoming and working towards incorporating it into your strategy.
What are the SEO benefits of a PAA boxes?
Similarly to featured snippets, getting picked up for “People Also Ask” boxes increases your pages potential for search impressions and clicks in SERPs. Everything we are doing in SEO is designed to get your business in front of people who need you and generate business opportunities while solving searchers problems. PAA boxes are just another way of doing this that we as SEO’s need to think about!