How to Maximize People Also Ask SEO Opportunity | Blog

How Can You Maximize “People Also Ask” SEO Opportunities on SERP?

After being tested first in April 2015, PAA or People Also Ask feature has become a crucial facet of SEO and content strategy over the past few years. PAA boxes have become prominent, according to the data of SEM Rush. For desktop and mobile, the average percentage of SERPs with PAA has become 40-42%.

The study conducted by SEM Rush has researched 1,000,000 keywords of the keywords results in desktops of the users of the USA. This has inspired a massive change in the Google search feature as well as action plans for any brand if that is willing to implement the PAA strategy effectively for SEO.

The keywords chosen for the study were randomly chosen without the filtering of volume, length, or any other parameters. That is why the study reflects the general trends in the search results.

What was Found in the 2020 “People Also Ask” SEO Study by SEM Rush?

  • PAA boxes are omnipresent in almost all half of all the search results and it is growing rapidly.
  • To refine the search query, Google is using the PAA boxes. This allows your website to appear on the first page of the SERP with search terms that used to be too broad to target.
  • No matter what sector you are in, the PAA SEO strategy will be still relevant to you. Industry-specific research and breakdown only can give you some idea about your overall efforts for PAA optimization.
  • If the PAA is for branded search terms, big brands can automatically get the opportunity of controlling the answer.
  • Unlike feature snippets, your website will have the chance to appear on PAA answer and organic ranking of the SERP page 1.
  • Around 75% of the time, PAA appears in the third position of the search results, increasing the chances of visibility in manifolds.
  • For around 86% of the time, question terms are more likely to generate PAA results.
  • For PAA results, Google takes web text content from paragraphs, in stats, it is 48%.
  • Google still has left the opportunities untapped for now for video content to appear in the PAA results, when there is no suitable result in terms of textual content.
  • Keep your content precise and brief as texts within 41 words are more likely to appear in the PAA results.

What are the “People Also Ask” Box in Google?

When you are searching for a specific term on Google, an interactive universal search result appears displaying a box of relevant questions that users have asked about when they have entered the same search term or topic.

When you click on the question, it will open in a snippet box with a text explaining the answer along with the link of the content. At the same time, dynamically, more relevant questions will be added below the box.

Usually, the initial PAA box can have three or four questions.

Since 2012, Google has changed their strategy when it comes to addressing the search queries of the users. It had clearly stated that they want to “move from becoming an information engine to becoming a knowledge engine.” This means that the search engine now tries and answers the search queries of the users with the relevant information rather than forcing them to click on the link of some website that offers similar products or services.

Google also uses the “Time to Result” as their key metric to determine the standard of performance. For reducing the time and the friction from the searches of the users, Google has deployed several in-SERP features for this function. And that has been done primarily with Knowledge Graph and later on, with rich snippets, featured snippets, and PAA or People Also Ask.

In their recent study, SEM Rush has shown that the PAA questions are six times more likely to appear in the SERP for the users than the featured snippets.

In this graph, it is pretty evident that the frequency of PAA results in SERP for desktop and mobile has been consistent. The only exception was in March 2020 when Google made adjustments.

How Often You Can Find PAA Results in the SERP?

According to the results of the study by SEM Rush, PAA results appeared

  • 49.37% of the results on Desktop
  • 52.27% of the results for Mobile

If we take account of the data from different 25 industries, you can notice that PAA results appear a minimum of 9.5% in the category of real estate and a maximum of 64.2% in computer and electronics.

This data shows the most common intent of searches and how Google is using search features for that.

For example, in the News industry, the users will look for the most current news. And that is why the search results come up with the “Top Stories” or Twitter cards for reflecting this.

For the real estate industry, the search terms will be “apartments in (location)” and that is why only 2.5% only produced PAA results.

You need to understand how well PAA can work for the target audience who are specific to your industry and depending on that, you can leverage your strategies of SEO and content marketing.

Brand Protection with PAA

The study has been repeated with some other brands for checking how often the brand keywords can trigger the PAA questions. These are the top 30 brands:

We have found out that the big brands generate PAA irrespective of their industries like this,

When these questions are showing up with any brand, it is necessary to audit the results to know how the PAA questions are appearing.

Where Do PAA Boxes Also Appear?

Most of the time, statistically 58% of the time, the PAA boxes appear on the first page of the organic search results, no matter whether it is a standard blue link or any other type of results.

For at least 75% of the time, PAA boxes appear within the top three of the search results. And being such a consistent feature, it is imperative that you pay attention to it for your brand marketing.

Can PAA Boxes Help You Twice in SERP 1?

Unlike featured snippets, your website can appear on the search results twice if your content comes in PAA boxes. Featured snippets are considered to be one of the standard top 10 rankings. But PAA is all about addressing the search query. 13% of the sites that have appeared in the PAA boxes should appear within the search engine results page too.

However, if you look at the results, the majority of the sites, 74% in numbers, are not present on the first page as they are comparatively less authoritative sites. Hence, even if your website doesn’t have that much authority, it still can appear in the PAA boxes.

How Does Search Query Length Affect PAA Boxes?

When a bit longer keywords or more complex search queries have been entered in the search box, it is more likely to trigger PAA results. At least 72% of keywords with 10 words keywords can trigger PAA results while compared to the 47% of 3 words long keywords.

Query Length with PAA and Featured Snippet

Google tried to address the search query right away. And that is why the featured snippet will appear at Position 0 so that the user gets the answer they are looking for right away. From the data of the SEM Rush, you can get a clear glimpse of the correlation that is there between the search query and appearance of featured snippets and PAA questions.

As the queries will become more complex with longer words and more specific, Google’s job for addressing the search query will become difficult. And that is when the sources of the answer will become nuance and fewer. And this will increase the chances of your website appearing in the PAA boxes.

As an attempt to answer the questions by the users, Google triggers more PAA questions when the query becomes more specific.

What Type of Queries can Trigger PAA?

The common queries that trigger PAA boxes are the ones that start with “why”, “how”, “when”, “what”, “where”, “who.” It is more likely to trigger questions 86% of the time.

Hence, it is recommended that when you are writing content, it is better to address these queries rather than relying on the audience that they will understand the context of the article from a cryptic title.

Query Refinement with People Also Ask

There are multiple options for refined queries that have been introduced by Google. From People Also search for Google suggest links, all of these are provided with just one goal. The PAA box is the latest addition in their offering for the same aim.

It appears when the user is not specific enough in their search query or has entered multiple queries in the search box.

For some rare instances(- 1%), PAA can appear at the top of the search results too. Thus, you can get a unique opportunity to get the maximum visibility within search results that used to be reserved for authority sites all along.

In this graph from SEM Rush, you can get the comparison of featured snippets and PAA boxes clearly.

This can also help you understand that the PAA boxes are most likely to appear when Google fails to interpret the search query precisely.

What is Contained within PAA Box?

There are 4 types of blocks that can appear when you are clicking on a PAA question.

Just like the featured snippets, around 79% of the PAA boxes contain paragraphs from website content which is often followed by lists, videos, and tables. This comprises 7.6% of all PAA results.

Of the 97.3% of initial PAA, results can be divided into two groups. 48.3% of the content is paragraph driven and 49% are the ones where there is at least one relevant paragraph in the content with the search query.

Just like other search results, in terms of PAA, Google favors videos for the search query answer. That is why going for a mixed format content strategy could be advantageous for you.

PAA Text Length Analysis

PAA Paragraph

The average number of words that can appear in the PAA box can be of 41 words. This paragraph should be precise, apt, and should address the search query the right way.

PAA List

Though SEM Rush didn’t say that they have found any list in their database after their study, yet it can be safely said that the list size should not be more than 8.

PAA Tables

14 rows and 3 columns of tables can appear on PAA. However, it is more likely that the textual content will only appear on the search results.

Defining A Specific SEO Strategy

The main aim of SEO is addressing the search query, satisfying the potential customer, and helping them make the informed purchase decision. But as more than 50% of searches showing PAA questions, devising a strategy so that your website can come in the PAA box can be crucial for your brand.

Before your website gets the traditional blue ink ranking, just like featured snippets, PAA questions can lead your SEO strategies for the better. With the help of PAA, Google can build knowledge graphs deriving information from the search results that will meet the demands of the customers.

So, if you are already thinking of using this technique and make the most of it, you need an expert’s guidance and professional assistance. For that, get in touch with us at +91 98301 40672 today.

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