How to Take Advantage of "People Also Ask" Search

by Becky Cable ON Oct 24, 2019

Answering questions is the new way to dominate Search

Quality answers in plain language land in Google’s Featured Snippets and “People Also Ask".

We talk a lot about Featured Snippets. We've covered more about them in this blog article. We talk about them a lot because we truly believe they are at the heart of search queries, and can generate so much more traffic to your website, and, ultimately, landing you more conversions.

Featured Snippets were Google’s most noticeable attempt to provide a definitive answer to queries. Unfortunately, this prime spot was only limited to one answer. Google began to remedy this with the “People Also Ask” snippet (PAA), which allowed for variations in answers to the question, and for searchers to see related queries.

"People Also Ask" (for quickness in this article, we will now be referring to this section as PAA) boxes have become an increasingly prevalent SERP feature since their introduction in 2016.

This box, tied to Google’s machine learning algorithms, shows questions related to a user’s initial query. For example, if you input “how does a computer work” in, then you see the following:

Initially, the reception to this feature amongst the SEO community was somewhat muted – perhaps because many saw it as another feature designed to erode organic CTRs – but over the past two years, more and more people have identified the value of leveraging this data to supplement their campaigns.

Read on to learn how your business can take advantage of PAA boxes.

How to use the data

  • 1. You can use the questions to build FAQ pages on your website

FAQs can become an invaluable resource for customers using PAA data.

  • 2. Use the information to adjust the targeting of your pages via page titles and headings, or even the creation of new pages. 

Appealing topics related to your keywords can easily be found using PAA data - which can help build out the content of your site and give additional information to users.

  • 3. Find related questions which may trigger Featured Snippets

By formatting the answers to these questions as lists or step-by-step guides, it is possible to be featured in snippets, like so:

This will enhance your SERP listing, and may give your site more prominence and authority in your chosen subject.

The Rise of Related Questions

Due to the ever-expanding, accordion-like nature of PAA, organic search results may be pushed infinitely down the page. The good news, however, is that now, there are many chances to get a Featured Snippet for your site instead of one almighty answer box.

The importance of PAA and the Featured Snippet become even greater when noting that 22 per cent of UK households now own a voice-controlled digital home assistant device, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home, doubling the 11 per cent figure recorded in 2017. Furthermore, according to a latest digital home report, 41 per cent of households plan to own one of the in the next five years.

Google Home uses Featured Snippets (along with structured data and knowledge graphs) to answer user questions.

How to create content that lands in PAA sections

In short, create quality content that clearly answers questions about your topic or service. This means answering questions in short, plain language or in easily-digestible bulleted lists. This is not the place to push a sales message.

You'll find more ways to create this quality content in this article. If you aren't confident on writing quality content, that's fine, not everybody is. You can get some help from us to really drive that quality traffic you want to your website - check out our copywriting services.

This is also a warning to brands – especially B2B businesses – that shy away from answering questions about your business costs and terms online. If you don’t answer these questions clearly, someone else will.

If your website’s answer to “How much does your service cost?” is “Call us now for a free quote”, you aren’t getting into the PAA. Someone else will answer that question and steal away your snippet and, potentially, your traffic.

People Also Ask isn't going away

Remember these tips to improve your website’s chances of landing as a Featured Snippet for searcher questions: Write complete questions and answers, use plain language, and avoid promotional language.

Organic space will continue to shrink, and PAA will continue to appear in more searches as Google attempts to answer searchers questions as quickly as possible. If you aren’t answering those questions clearly with your content, someone else will. Take advantage, and reclaim your SERPs.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help your business get seen online, and stay seen.

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