Many people are wondering how to rank in the People Also Ask (PAA) answer boxes.
This is a great goal. Showing up in PAA boxes is useful for anyone who wants to achieve a position above most organic rankings, depending on the query.
The People Also Ask answer box can help you get more traffic from people who are looking for a specific topic or question that closely matches your website’s content.
In this blog post, we will discuss strategies that may help you rank in the People Also Ask answer boxes!
People Also Ask Answer Boxes May Show up in Various Positions on the SERPS
This is the first thing that people should know about ranking in PAA answer boxes. While it seems like they will always be near the top of a SERP (search engine results page), this isn’t true! They are varied, and can show up in different positions depending on the query.
According to Semrush, People Also Ask answer boxes are “six times more likely to appear within a SERP than a featured snippet result.”:
Targeting the appropriate queries is critical to your success. Finding queries with enough search volume, along with matching user intent, is something that will help you optimize your page for the query.
That’s why thorough keyword research is so important.
You can find out more about the best keywords to rank for by using a keyword tool, such as Keyword Scout or Semrush!
These tools can help you find the keywords with lower competition, and help your website rank higher in PAA boxes.
People Also Ask Questions Seem to be Endless
Yes, while some SERPs show PAA questions and others don’t, many people also ask the same question on a number of different search engines.
It’s important to know how to rank in PAA boxes right now while you still can!
Here are some great strategies for ranking in People Also Ask answer boxes:
- Optimize your website content with topical keywords and phrases related to the topic so that Google knows what your site is about.
- Use keyword research tools like Keywords Everywhere or Semrush to find which SEO keywords will help your page rank higher within all SERPs, not just PAA
- Answer questions relevant enough to rank for using sites like Quora as well as other question and answer tools like Answer The Public.
- Concentrate on optimizing your page with the correct on-page optimizations so Google thinks of you as the ultimate answer to that query.
- Use question and answer JSON-LD Schema markup to map FAQpage data in a way that Google understands it.
This is just a start, but these tips should help get you well on your way to optimizing your page for these queries.
People Also Ask Answer Boxes Vary Quite a Bit
There are also different formats that PAA answer boxes can take, which means you don’t have to be limited in the number of questions you’re answering.
- You might see a single question with an answer at the top and three answers below.
- Or it could be multiple people asking similar questions with one response for each question.
- Lastly, different answer formats may include things like tables, paragraphs, lists, and even video.
Remember these principles when dealing with People Also Ask Answer Boxes and make sure you know how they work so you can optimize your page properly for People Also Ask Answer Boxes!
Think about what keywords would help Google understand what your site is about, and write your content with those keywords in mind.
Write your content with the goal of answering questions that people have about your topic in the search results.
Answer Boxes Sometimes Show the Same Question
While it may seem that PAA queries are always the same and therefore you might as well just write one response, they don’t have to be.
There are many hundreds of different variations that you may run across in the SERPs. It all depends on what your analysis reveals when you are uncovering queries to target.
If people ask both “How far is it?” and “What’s the distance?”, for example, then there will be two answers in a PAA answer box: one for each question.
The key with People also Ask Answer Boxes is that if you know what queries people are using when searching Google (queries like ‘how far is that distance’), then you will nail down a better focus on user intent behind that query!
Think about these kinds of questions when writing content so that you can work on becoming the ultimate answer for your specific query.
Is It Really Worth It Going After Rankings in the People Also Ask Boxes?
Some people say that it’s worth trying. Others think it can be tough and rely on gut feeling when deciding whether or not to try.
It all depends on what you want to get out of ranking for PAA questions, really. If the answer is getting people who are interested in your product/service then, yeah—it would seem like a good idea! But if the goal is driving more traffic from the Google SERPs, this may or may not be a good option depending on what your initial analysis of these queries reveals.
According to Semrush, more than 57.00 percent of the time, PAA answer boxes appear in position #2 of the SERPs. This is a very powerful statistic that should way your efforts to go after these types of SERP features.
Clearly, there is no denying that there is significant benefit when it comes to focusing on ranking in the People Also Ask answer boxes.
How do you know how many people search “People also ask” every day?
The number of searches per day will vary depending on word choice as well as current trends in how people are searching.
If you’re looking for data behind PAA answer boxes, you may want to try Google Trends and see what kind of interest exists for specific queries, their seasonality vs. not, and other factors.
What you should do first if you want to rank for People Also Ask?
If you think your content could offer an answer to questions people might have related to topics people would be interested in, then yes! We recommend trying it out.
Personally, we try not to bother with answering all those little things within our site unless we know something that will really boost the site and answer people’s questions about the topic extraordinarily well.
For example, if we know a really good article on how to bake cookies, we’ll try answering the question “What are ways to make cookie dough?” and “What are the best baking pans?”
If it looks like queries don’t have search volume, don’t discount them outright. Google doesn’t always disclose exactly which queries have exactly what search volume. And don’t base your decision on keyword targeting on search volume alone.
You can use CPC (cost-per-click) to determine if there is significant competition on the PPC side. This can correlate with higher competition in the SERPs for some queries.
If there is no search volume, but the CPC is super high, this could signify that there is actual value from this query.
How do you figure out what keywords your site should target?
This can be tricky but Google has this nifty tool in Google Search Console: Search Query Report, —which will tell you what people search when they come across your page or website.
You can even use their keyword planner if you are so inclined.
You might think about using people who ask as a catchall term instead of trying to rank individual answers by default because there are some times where people will ask entirely unrelated questions.
By having people who ask available, you’re able to answer questions that are much more of a deeper dive than your article and it’s still helpful for the reader, and shows you care about them.
Now let’s get into how to rank in People Also Ask Answer Boxes:
Thorough keyword research is a must when targeting People Also Ask – to get started, you can use the Google Search Query Report or their Keyword Planner tool. It really helps determine what people are looking for so they can find help in your articles specifically.
Google Trends is another tool that allows you gauge recent (and past) interest in your topic, so you can assess proper search volumes and whether or not it’s even worth it to go after this query.
If someone searches “how do I make cookies”, then yes! We want our cookie dough baking tutorial page to rank high because we know there will be demand from people also asking this question.
But, it’s important to select questions that bring in traffic. You don’t want the situation where you target a bunch of questions only to find that maybe one or two of them bring in any meaningful traffic. You have just wasted a lot of time and effort toward ranking for queries that won’t make a difference whatsoever.
Also, if those people also ask answer boxes go away in a coming Google update, you have just lost all of your traffic as a result of targeting queries that are too narrow in their focus.
It’s a balance of trying to find the ones you want to rank for that also have good enough search volume, that you can also stand a chance of ranking for.
How to Rank in People Also Ask Answer Boxes
You must know the competitive landscape first if you want to develop a strategy for ranking in the People Also Ask Answer Boxes.
Get to know what other queries are being searched and how they are related to your topic.
Find relevant and specific PAA questions. Then, target your on-page optimizations in such a way that Google uses your page as the true source of the answer.
It’s important to find pages that rank for lots of keywords, so they can be used as a source to help people also asking the same question.
You also want to find pages that are ranking well on Google Search and have plenty of backlinks coming in too.
It’s important for these sources to be reputable also.
A great place where you’ll see this is with Wikipedia articles because anyone can edit them and it won’t affect their reputation; however other sites like Quora don’t allow editing unless you’re a member which means there’s more accountability.
For some queries, you can also directly answer the question with a bolded short paragraph answer. This does tend to help with some People Also Ask queries. Be sure to test and assess your results after testing – you may find a format that works better than this for PAA queries.
If you’re so inclined to create a long FAQ page, don’t forget to include JSON-LD Frequently Asked Questions Schema to help highlight your answers here in the SERPs as well.
Look and See How Your Keywords Rank
Here, you want to identify the top ranking keywords and their respective positions so that you can replicate the content to rank for those keyword phrases.
While you may want to replicate, you also want to be unique. Don’t go stealing other people’s content. Be creative. Put your own spin on things!
Using a tool like BuzzSumo or Semrush, you can identify keyword targets in the “People also ask” or “Questions people have asked” answer box.
This is another way to do keyword research for your articles and blog posts by taking advantage of what’s already ranking from a major site like Wikipedia! It all depends on your niche.
You can also perform individual research for each keyword phrase to find what people are asking and how they’re phrasing their question.
Drill down as far as you can. Figure out the real questions people need answers to, so you can become the de facto source for your industry.
People Also Ask Answer Boxes Can Be Challenging, but Worth It If You’re in the Right Industry
It can be challenging trying to rank in the People Also Ask answer box because it’s such an unknown entity and not many behind-the-scenes statistics are available.
But there are still opportunities that you can take advantage of!
When writing long-form content, create bulleted lists with statistics and original research related to your article to help break up monotonous sections.
Use graphics to communicate valuable statistics where needed to break up exceedingly long text. Make sure the graphics that you use are relevant to that section.
Provide a strong introduction and conclusion for your blog post, with one paragraph between each section.
Include quotes from others (or yourself) as part of your article if it sounds more natural than just typing everything out without any change in style.
Finally, be sure that people actually want what they’re asking about before attempting this strategy; otherwise, all of these efforts will not be worth it in the end.
This is why it’s important to make sure you double check research results before continuing on with creating content for the People Also Ask answer boxes.
Shutterstock / June 2021
Semrush / June 2021