Ranking in ‘People Also Ask’ Boxes: Tips & Facts

May 13, 2022 | Advanced SEO

The expanding diversity of Google’s SERPs might be scary, but it also has advantages. 

There are several alternatives to obtain extra search visibility. And for many, earning the first blue link may no longer be the final aim of SEO.

One of the most loved ways to gain more search real estate is the People Also Ask (PAA) boxes.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • How to rank in PAA (People Also Ask) boxes
  • If there’s any reason for you to be bothered, and
  • How PAA boxes may benefit your SEO

But first, let’s get to the basics.

What is a PAA (People Also Ask) Box in Google Searches?

The PAA box is Google’s search feature for answering similar queries before people ever consider searching for them. 

It’s a set of intuitive suggestions that help narrow down a search query based on similar searches.

Here’s an example:

While the feature is popular, you’ll not find the PAA boxes for every search you do. 

Like this one:

But roughly, these boxes appear in around half of all SERPs. So, you should not miss out on ranking in the PAA boxes.

But is there any point for you to be bothered? 

Why Should You Rank In PAA Boxes?

How people interact and click on the link in the PAA boxes is a mystery because little or no information is available about it.

But certainly, the embedded links receive a lot of exposure. If the users find answers to queries they might have in PAA boxes, they don’t hesitate to click on the link!

If you can address the questions Google likes to use in that PAA box — the what, when, where, why and who — you can attract people to your site.

Optimizing your website for the “People also ask” box is still worth a shot.

Now, what’s the secret to appearing on the PAA box?

How Can You Appear in The PAA Box?

Appearing in the Google People Also Ask boxes might be a challenging task. 

Why? Because there is no particular rule or process for ranking. 

Google’s algorithms automate these based on the user’s search behavior. In fact, the PAA boxes may differ from user to user for the same query. 

You will also find different questions in the PAA boxes for the same query in different locations.

Plus, the number of questions that appear in the PAA boxes keeps fluctuating from a few variations on the search topic to a very long list.

However, there are several things you can do to improve your chances of ranking in the PAA box.

Here are some of them:

1. Prioritize Long Tail Keywords

Your target keyword set must have the potential for People Also Ask optimization.

Shorter “head keywords” (search queries of one or two words) are quite competitive.

If you are trying to rank in PAA boxes, target “long-tail” keywords. These are the search queries with a few phrases or a whole sentence.

To research and choose PAA questions for your target keywords, you can do either of the following:

1. Take help from Google Autocomplete, Related Searches & PAA boxes. Enter the long-tail keyword you’re targeting in the Google search box and get the suggestions.

2. Use RankWatch’s free Keyword Research Tool to find question keywords related to your target long-tail keyword. Additionally, you get to know the search volume, competition, and CPC.

Once you find the questions, start optimizing your content for PAA.

2. Optimize Your Content

If you analyze the content that appears in the PAA boxes, you’ll realize that it is short, crisp, and clear.

Besides that, it comes from sites already ranking in the top 10 search results for the target keyword.

So, your pages should be optimized for target keywords, including the PAA questions you have researched. 

While doing so, ensure the question answers are brief but complete and in the format that Google expects. 

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Write in paragraphs
  • Add tables if needed
  • Create lists if possible
  • Incorporate images & infographics
  • Keep it short and straightforward
  • Write in a non-promotional language
  • Use a conversational tone
  • Keep updating your answers

With that, you will increase your chances of ranking in PAA boxes for your target keywords!

3. Develop FAQ Content 

Yes, FAQs on your site can boost your chances of showing up in the PAA boxes for your target keywords.

You can either add the questions you’ve researched to your blog posts or create a separate FAQ section for them on your site.

Whichever way you go, add FAQ schema or structured data in your FAQ text. If everything is on-point, ranking in PAA boxes will be easy.

What Else Should You Know About PAA?

When you start ranking in the People Also Ask boxes, you’d notice changes in your search performance.

Besides this, you’d catch interesting things about PAA, such as:

1. Different positions on the SERP

PAA boxes can occupy several positions on the SERP (unlike the featured snippets, which are always at the zeroth position). Sometimes you’ll find them on top, other times in the middle, and sometimes in the end.

But, it’s nothing to worry about. PAA boxes attract users irrespective of their position.

2. Varying number of questions

The initial questions in the PAA box can expand to a plethora of results (sometimes continuing to hundreds of questions after being clicked). Or stay fixed at 3-4 questions only and not change even when a question is clicked on.

This variation is on account of the topic or the search query. If you’re trying to rank in PAA boxes, this can be an opportunity for you!

3. Questions & results are mysterious 

PAA boxes are composed of questions and results (answers, listing, videos, or featured snippets). 

There are two things about PAA boxes that you must know:

  1. PAA might have the same question and result for closely related or similar queries.
  2. Different PAA questions for a given query or different queries might show the same result.

That means you can rank in PAA for multiple keywords of your interest. All you need to do is target the right questions with your content.

Ready To Occupy The PAA Boxes?

PAA has only been around for a short period, yet it has quickly become a typical element in Google SERPs. 

The reason is right here: ranking on the PAA box enhances search visibility and might fetch traffic to the site.

Since Google alone knows how it generates the PAA content, there are no sure-shot methods that will help you out.

But, you need to create good content, optimize it for target keywords, and include questions wherever possible. 

Keep your site’s SEO on point, and Google’s algorithms will handle the rest. 

By the way, did you find this blog in the People Also Ask section? If yes, you know what I did here!

Ps: I’d love to hear you out in the comments section below.

Sahil is the CEO and Founder of RankWatch and thrives to make it into one of the leading technology companies in India. Gifted with unlimited ambition and drive you will generally find Sahil with his head down completely isolated from the world, plugged into his own world of coding.

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