In the last 4-5 years, Google has made a lot of changes in the SERPs. The changes are certainly good for the users but what about people like you and me, who makes our living online.
Like it or not, we as an online entrepreneur has to make adjustments according to the search engines. Failing to do so can wreak havoc on our business.
Google started testing ‘People also Ask’ box in April 2015. And it has served well to both Google and the Googlers and that makes it an integral part of SERPs.
Coming back to the question, Is it good for us or not?
If you know how to use it, then yes it can help you in many ways. Firstly, it can generate a lot of content ideas. Secondly, it will help your content to rank for many more keywords. Thirdly, it will drive more traffic to your blog by getting featured in the People also ask box. Let’s delve deeper into it.
Suppose you are in a yoga niche then this section alone can give you a lot of content ideas. Let’s take the example of Yoga. Here I’ve searched Yoga and Google showed me all these questions.
These questions are being searched by other users (that’s why Google shows it) and some of them can be a great content idea.
At first, Google will show you 3-5 question and when you click the drop down of any question then it will pop out even more questions related to the question you have clicked. It’s a never-ending pursuit. More you click more questions you get.
If you want to go deeper into the evolution of People also Ask box then here is the great guide from Moz.
Get ranked for more keywords
It’s simple, if you are ranking for more keywords then your traffic will automatically increase. Let’s see how you can do this. Let’s say you want to do a review of Apple’s Macbook.
Now, why not write a post that includes these 5-7 questions. You could put these question in the sub-headings of your post. Once you do that Google will start ranking you for all of these terms.
You could also do this for your older posts. Get back to your old post, find all the questions that are related to that topic and then add these questions as sub-headings and adjust the content around these topics.
Make sure not to overstuff this as it will do more harm than good. Only do that if you think it will make it more high-quality than the previous version.
Here is a short video from Neil Patel explaining the same method in a slightly different way.
How to get featured in ‘People also ask’ section
People also ask appears in a lot of organic results which makes it noticeable to a majority of searchers, resulting in higher traffic.
You ask, how to get my own PAA box? Sadly I don’t know that and nobody does. It is chosen by Google by their own algorithm. But there are definitely some tips which can increase your chance to be featured in this section.
Let’s see what I mean by this. I searched for term bodybuilding. Look at the answer to this question.
Now, we head over to the original post. Look at the heading, it is nowhere related to the PAA question. Yet, Google thinks this is the more relevant answer to that question( which is somewhat true).
Let’s see another example.
Now, let’s see the original post
Here the keyword is similar in the heading of the post and the PAA question.
Google also shows it in listicle format similar to the post.
But there is one thing that I find interesting. Can you guess? Look at the bold words at the start of every point. Google has only extracted these bold words in the answer.
I’ve done this many times with different search results and some patterns are somewhat similar. Let’s see what these patterns are-
Keywords in meta title and PAA question is similar
Let’s see both of the above examples
PAA- How many years does it take to be a bodybuilder?
Meta title- How long does it take to be a bodybuilder?
PAA- How do you work out your mass?
Meta title- A simple workout plan for serious mass gain.
So, the first point is relevancy. Try adding these keywords in meta title but the title should strongly reflect the content of your post.
Make your answers in points
Majority of the answers that get featured are answered in points. In the point section, first, have a heading and then the explanation of that point as we have seen it in the last screenshot.
This blog is about making money without a job. Notice the heading and then the explanation of that point. In most cases, Google will only show the headings of your posts.
See the last 3 points of the above screenshot and now notice the headings of the original post.
Make your points in numbers, not dots
Well, it’s not always the case but remember we are increasing our chance to be featured. Most of the answers that are featured are written with numerical points like 1, 2, 3, etc. So if you are making points then use numbers, not dots.
Make small paragraphs
If your answers are not in the listicle format then you might want to write it in a small paragraph of 2-3 sentences. Though, sometimes Google will pull any part of a long paragraph.
Write just after the heading.
Whatever you are writing just after the heading is very important. Majority of the times Google extract the answer from the first paragraph. So, it’s better to provide a solution in the first para.
Myths about featuring in People also ask
- You need some schema code to be featured in People also ask box. This is far from the truth. Many featured sites don’t have any schema markup in their pages.
- Google only shows the authority site in the PAA. Well, you certainly can’t rank if your site is just a couple of months old but you also don’t need to be as big as the Wall Street Journal or The NY Times. I’ve seen many small blogs that get featured in the box.
- It decreases your traffic as the user get the info without visiting the page. This is absurd. It’s the other way round. Google has chosen your post over a thousand others. It’s great news.
A lot of SEO experts have so-called SEO checklists and guides. And the majority of people blindly follow that. I am not saying this is wrong but we need to understand the reason behind implementing these things.
Why do we add keywords in meta title? Why do we build backlinks? Why do we do anything in our blog?
Think deep and find out why we really are doing these things?
And always remember this,
Google wants to provide the best possible result for every query. The pages that are shown are the most relevant + high-quality. Respect that and you will have made Google your best friend.
Hope you get some new ideas in this post. Let me know if you have any queries or doubts in the comment section.