People Also Ask SEO: How to Optimize & Rank for PAA Queries

Google often introduces new SERP (Search Engine Results Page) features to make user experience better. A SERP is generated by Google to provide a useful and relevant answer to a searcher’s query.

Some of the notable SERP features include featured snippets, image carousel, shopping results, product star ratings, Site Links and so on.

One of the dynamic Google SERP features that’s becoming popular these days is “People Also Ask”.

If done right, as a website owner, you can optimize your pages for PAA (People Also Ask) snippets to get more traffic from Google.

So in this detailed guide, we’ll discuss some of the following things.

So are you ready to learn how to do People Also Ask SEO? Let’s get started.

People Also Ask SEO: The Beginners Guide to Optimize And Rank for PAA Related Queries

What is Google’s People Also Ask?

“People Also Ask” also known as PAA box is a SERP feature that contains sets of questions related to the users’ search query.

People Also Ask (aka “Related questions”) are generally additional questions that are relevant to the user queries. They will appear as a list of dropdown boxes on first page of Google search results.

For example, if you type “Google CEO” in Google, then you see the following:

As you can see above, in the People also ask section, Google is showing us some of the most frequently asked questions around our keyword term.

Once you click on any of those PAA listing questions, the PAA box expands to show you a text snippet with a brief relevant answer to the query.

For instance, if you click on the query “What is Google CEO salary?”, it will display you the following text snippet along with the URL to the original source.

The interesting thing about “People Also Ask” snippet box is that it helps you understand how Google processes users’ Search Intent to provide related queries.

For instance, in the above example screenshot if you click on a question related to “Who is the highest paid CEO in the world?”, the further questions which will instantly show up below that question will be around “richest CEOs”.

From this example, you can easily understand that users will get instant relevant answers to their queries without browsing a ton of links online.

So ultimately, the PAA related queries SERP feature is providing a BETTER and FASTER experience to the users who’re using Google search for their queries.

Why is PAA so important?

Over the past couple of months search engine results pages (SERPs) have changed considerably.

From featured snippets to Knowledge Graphs to PAA (People Also Ask), Google is evidently making the searchers’ experience better and faster.

Out of all the recently introduced SERP features, PAA is particularly interesting. The latest data from Mozcast suggests that PAA features on around 88.2% of the queries they monitor.

Have a look at their data.

As you can see above, PAAs have a big impact on SERPs. So if you’re looking to increase your search visibility, you need to target related questions and optimize for PAAs.

One of the biggest benefits for search users with PAA boxes is: they save time. Yes, “People also ask” boxes are helpful if you are looking for quick and direct answers.

They are particularly helpful if you’re searching for something on your mobile devices so you don’t have to click on multiple website links to find answers.

Here are a few more benefits with PAA.

You can get search traffic from PAA even without ranking in the first page results

Did you know that you can rank for PAA related queries for certain keywords even if you’re not ranking in the first page results?

Yes, that’s true. For instance, we’re currently not ranking in the first page results for the keyword term “how to increase website DA” but still we’re getting some traffic for that keyword because we’re ranking for the PAA related queries.

Have a look;

As you can see above, we’re listed in the PAA box and getting some traffic (but we’re NOT ranking in the first page for the same keyword term).

If you notice the above example, you’ll see that Google is currently generating a “Featured snippet” for SEOPressor and the first page result for NeilPatel’s blog and in the 2nd place, it’s showing a PAA box.

That means, if you optimize your pages for PAA related queries, you’ll be getting search traffic even without ranking in the first page search results.

You can improve user experience

The ultimate mission of Google is this: “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

So if you’re optimizing content for PAA related questions, you’ll be actually providing useful and relevant answers to searchers’ queries which ultimately helps you with higher search rankings.

Better Voice Search Optimization

Whether you know it or not, voice search is the next big thing. All the big players including Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa etc are using voice search to simplify people’s lives.

In fact, 50% of all searches will be voice searches in 2020.

So if you’re targeting PAA related questions, you’ll also likely be optimizing for voice search SEO which ultimately improves your organic visibility.

If you’re using People Also Asked data to find related questions to include within your content, you can also get rankings for featured snippets.

Featured Snippets can trigger PAA (in most cases).

In the majority of cases, Googling the questions from the “People also ask” results will return a featured snippet.

For instance, if you search for “interior design ideas” on Google search, it will show the following results in its People Also Ask section.

And if you Google the expanded question above, “What are the 7 elements of interior design?” we get the same piece of content as a featured snippet.

Have a look;

As you can see above, the keyword phrase which is “interior design ideas” triggers PAA and whose questions, if used as the main search query can trigger a featured snippet.

People Also Ask Examples

Here are some of the live examples for People Also Ask related queries that we’re currently ranking in Google search.

When you search for “popular blogs in India” on Google.com, in the PAA box, you’ll see our site’s listing for the question “Which is the best blogging site in India?”.

Have a look;

Similarly when you search for “how to increase website da” on Google.com, you’ll see we’re getting a PAA listing as shown below.

The interesting thing to notice from the above PAA examples is that we’re getting some traffic from those PAA listings although we’re NOT currently ranking on the first position for those keywords.

How to Rank for People Also Ask?

So how can you rank for the People Also Ask section? Here’s a simple tutorial on how to rank for the PAA box in your niche.

Research PAA Questions (3 FREE Tools for You)

The first step to ranking for PAA snippets is to create a list of questions that people are already asking.

The best way to find related questions for your target keywords (or topics) is to use tools.

When it comes to finding related questions, you can use the following THREE tools which are extremely useful. The good part? They are free to use.

1. AlsoAsked

Here’s how it works.

Once you’re on their website, enter any search term to discover PAA related queries. You can also choose your preferred language along with a region and hit the Search button to continue.

It instantly generates you a list of all the related queries for that search term in a visual form.

Have a look;

See that? That’s a fast, simple, easy and FREE way to scrape all the ‘People also ask’ SEO related queries for any topic.

Answer The Public is an amazing topic research tool that you can use to find a ton of related queries for any search term. Although it has a premium version with unlimited searches but it’s free version is useful as well for scraping PAA queries.

Here’s how it works.

Once you’re on their site, enter any keyword term of your choice. Pick your region and language and hit the Search button.

It will immediately run a search for you and display you a list of questions in a visual chart.

Have a look;

As you can see, there are a ton of PAA ideas that you can use to create content around.

Not only that, this amazing tool also gives you data in multiple ways including;

If you want to know more details about this awesome tool, you can read our review of Answer The Public.

3. Scraper Browser Extension

You can also use the free Chrome browser extension called “Scraper” to scrape people also ask queries into Google Docs.

Just install and enable this Chrome extension and once you’re on the PAA box for any search term, right mouse button on any one of the questions and from the context menu choose “Scrape Similar”.

Here’s how it looks like;

That’s it, you can now scrape all those related queries and copy them all into Google Docs.

Here’s a quick video on how to use Scraper to extract queries and copy them into Docs for free.

Learn How to Optimize Content for People Also Ask

Once you’re done with the PAA related questions selection, you need to create content in the right way.

Use subheadings smartly: Make sure to use subheadings that end with questions. For instance, if you’re writing a blog post around “Macbook repair”, you can use subheadings like;

Use simple language: Most people who use voice search devices like Siri, Alexa etc ask detailed questions to find answers on the PAA section. So write in a simple language. Don’t use jargon. Your content should be easy to consume.

Use Jump Navigational Links: You can create a “Table of Contents” to easily divide your content into various sections (use subheadings). These quick jump links help your site visitors to quickly navigate to the answer that they want.

Quick note: We’re currently using Table of Contents Plus plugin on our site to display Table of contents (jump links) to display subheadings as most of our blog posts are really detailed. This plugin automatically generates a table of contents if a post has at least 4 heading tags such as <h1>, <h2>, <h3> etc.

Analyze others results: You should analyze related questions that appear in the PAA box carefully. Learn how other websites in your niche are getting rankings for those PAA queries. Few people might be using bullet points, subheadings etc. You can follow the same approach for better chances of showing up in the PAA box.

Add Q&A Schema

You can use Question schema to enable the FAQ schema markup on your website. If you’re using WordPress, you can install a free plugin called FAQ schema to easily add a schema markup.

Another thing you can do to rank for PAA is to use an FAQ section for most of your contents. If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll notice that we often use an FAQ section for most of our blog posts.

FAQ sections not only help your blog audience but they can increase your chances of ranking for People Also Ask SEO.

Keep it Up to Date

One important thing you need to remember is PAA related queries get updated with useful content. That means, if your competitors are already ranking for some PAA related questions, you can also try creating better content around them to outrank their listings.

Even if you’re already ranking in the PAA box, your answer listings can disappear sooner or later. So the bottomline is to keep them up to date with useful content and answers.

How to Monitor Your Results in PAA?

The best way to track your results in the PAA snippet is to use tools like SEMrush. We’re currently using SEMrush (it’s the same tool used by over 5 million people worldwide) to track our PAA related questions.

Quick note: You can visit this exclusive link to grab SEMrush Pro account FREE for the next 30 days (which is worth $99.95)

Here’s how it works.

Once you’re on the SEMrush dashboard, go to the SEO Toolkit > Organic Research report and enter your domain.

Now, click on the “Positions” tab. Here’s how it looks like;

Now simply click on the “SERP Features” dropdown.

Then, select “Domain ranks” >> “People also ask”.

As you can see above, by choosing the above filter, SEMrush Organic Research tool will show you a list of all the keywords that are ranking in the People also ask section for our blog BloggersPassion.

Have a look;

See that? That’s how you can easily track and monitor all your PAA related questions that your domain is currently ranking for.

Not only that, you can also find PAA related queries of your competitors to get a ton of ideas.

Have a look;

As you can see above, WPBeginner site is currently ranking for over 11.6K PAA related queries. You can check and analyze some of those queries to see how you can optimize your content for those queries.

But wait… is SEMrush only limited to showing PAA results? No.

It does a lot more than that as here are some of the important SERP Features you can research on SEMrush.

And many more of such useful SERP features can be easily discovered and tracked by using SEMrush Organic Research tool. It’s an essential toolkit for anyone who’s looking to grow their organic traffic.

So what are you still waiting for?

FAQs About People Also Ask SEO

Here are some of the frequently asked questions around PAA.

What is “People Also Ask” in Google?

People also ask boxes are also known as “Related questions” which provide answers or text snippets to users’ search queries. Each one of these questions can be further expanded using a drop down menu to see the answer.

How to rank in the People Also Ask box?

Ranking for People Also Ask box will be much easier if you’re already optimizing your content for featured snippets. In most of the cases, featured snippets are what you see in the PAA related questions box.

If you want to improve your chances to rank in the PAA box, make sure to use sites like AlsoAsked.com or AnswerThePublic to discover the questions and try to provide useful and relevant answers.

What is a featured snippet?

Featured Snippets are short text snippets that answer a searcher’s query and appear at the top of Google’s search results. Featured snippets are also known as “answer boxes” as they provide instant relevant answers to users’ questions.

Generally, Google’s automated systems determine whether a text snippet would make a good featured snippet to highlight for a certain search query from users. The main purpose of featured snippets is to provide users with a short, relevant and direct answer to their search queries.

How do people also ask about work?

PAA (People Also Ask) snippet box contains sets of questions that are related to the original search query. Once you click on any of those questions, the PAA box expands to display a brief answer to the question (along with the URL for the answer’s source).

How can I scrape ‘People also ask’ on Google?

One of the best ways to find People also ask questions on Google for scraping into a list is to use the “AlsoAsked” website. It helps you easily discover the questions people are asking on Google search.

You can also use a free Chrome browser extension called Scraper to copy all the questions from Google’s PAA box to clipboard and paste them into Excel or Google Sheet.

Why does the People Also Ask section not show up for all search queries in Google?

First things first: not every query will return a “PAA” section. There could be so many reasons for the PAA section not showing up including less demand for the search queries, not having really good information around the search terms and so on.

The PAA section will definitely appear when there are “featured snippets” showing up for specific user queries.

Final Thoughts on People Also Ask SEO

Google constantly changes its SERP features to provide a better user experience. People Also Ask SEO is a great SERP feature indeed and it’s not going anywhere anytime sooner.

In fact, with the rapid growth of Voice Search SEO, PAA related queries are also growing. So if you’re already running a blog or website, you should definitely optimize and rank your content for People Also Ask queries.

So what are your thoughts about People Also Ask SEO? Have any questions? Share your views in the comments.

Anil Agarwal

People Also Ask SEO: How to Optimize & Rank for PAA Related QueriesAnil Agarwal who owns Bloggerspassion.com, is a full-time blogger and SEO expert who has been helping people build profitable blogs for over a decade. Bloggers Passion has been featured on premium online sites like Forbes.com, Huffingtonpost, SEMrush, Problogger, Crazy Egg, The Next Web and so on.

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