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Tips for Ranking High on SERPs and Optimizing for Google’s “People Also Ask” Feature


The “People Also Ask” (PAA) feature has been growing in prevalence since it was first introduced back in 2015—so much so that Google isn’t the only search engine that’s using it. Bing has also adapted its own version of the PAA feature. But it doesn’t appear on every single Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

According to a recent study performed by Keyword Explorer, approximately 43% of SERPs in the U.S. display a PAA box at the top of the search results page. PAA boxes typically only appear on SERPs in lieu of featured snippets—another prominent search engine optimization feature that can help improve your rankings.

Over time, it’s estimated that PAA appearances on SERPs will continue to skyrocket and web experts are definitely taking notice.

So, how can you use the PAA box to your advantage and improve your rankings? Here are some excellent search engine optimization (SEO) tips that can help boost your ranking by focusing on PAA.

What Is the “People Also Ask” Feature?

Before we dive into how the “People Also Ask” box can help you grow your web traffic, it’s important to understand what it is and how it works. Whenever a user enters a specific query into a search engine like Google, they’re presented with general information regarding that search. The PAA box typically appears under the general information that the user was looking for.

It presents the user with about three to four questions that are related to the original search query. Users can then click on any one of those related questions and get a quick answer from a top-rated source. If they want to keep reading that particular entry or the whole article, then they can click on the link that’s provided.

Clicking on any one of the PAA questions provided generates more questions, answers, and sources that are related to the question that was clicked on. The idea behind this feature is to make research on specific topics easier and more accessible.

Why Is ‘People Also Ask’ Important for SEO?

The answer is simple. Like featured snippets, the PPA box can also be used to provide concise, yet informative answers to your readers while increasing your search ranking visibility. PPA usually appears within the top-ranking position on SERPs, which means any content that’s featured in it will most likely be seen by users. Moreover, Google has become increasingly intuitive over the years and can generate PPA questions and answers based on search intent.

So, how can you rank higher and make sure your content appears in the coveted PPA box? Create content that follows a question and answer format. Use subheadings in the form of a common question that users might ask about your brand or industry. Then provide short and easy to understand answers to those questions that feature common keywords. It really is that simple.

How Can You Use PAA to Increase Brand Awareness and Web Traffic?

Create Dynamic, Interesting, and Informative Content

 The PAA box gives your brand a unique opportunity to shine as a knowledgeable industry insider and a reliable source of information. There’s a certain level of prestige that comes with landing this high-ranking SERP position. Users assume that the information presented in the PAA box is coming from a reputable source given Google’s well-known commitment to vetting the information it presents as much as possible. And, for the most part, they’re right.

Of course, there are always some misleading sources that manage to slip through the cracks, but Google is diligently working to crack down hard on websites that present false information. Also, it’s up to users to use their best judgment and practice discretion when clicking on unfamiliar links.

Regardless, appearing in a high-ranking position such as the PAA box often establishes certain brands as authority figures on certain subjects and this can help increase brand awareness, visibility, and web traffic. As long as you create enticing content, users will always be tempted to click through to your link to learn more about the topics you’re writing about. And this can help boost your conversion ratings significantly.

The great thing about the PAA feature is that users find your content organically and you don’t necessarily have to appear in a high-ranking search results position for your content to appear in the box. Even if your content organically appears on the second or third page of a SERP (also known as no man’s land), you could still be featured in a PAA box on page one if the content is captivating and informative.

Include Relevant Keywords

As always, keywords are important to helping you rank higher on SERPs and be featured in the PAA box. But avoid keyword stuffing at all costs as this can lower the quality of your content and Google doesn’t look too favourably on this practice.

Instead, do extensive keyword research. Use prominent industry-related keywords to enrich and enhance your content rather than to simply gain more visibility. The higher the quality of the content you produce, the more you’ll be regarded as an authoritative figure in your industry.

How to Optimize Content for PAA

  • Use simple, easy to understand language. Avoid using too much obscure industry jargon that only your peers would understand, but don’t patronize your audience either. Strike a balance. If you do use industry terms, make sure to explain them clearly and concisely.
  • Don’t make your content sound too much like a sales pitch. Focus on presenting high-quality informative content in a manner that’s relatable to your readers.
  • Research common industry-related questions and present the answers in complete, succinct sentences.
  • Write FAQs where applicable.

What Numero Uno Web Solutions Can Do for You

As industry-leading web developers, we can help you reach a much wider audience and build your online brand by producing high-quality SEO content on a number of prominent platforms. At Numero Uno Web Solutions, we believe content quality and consistency is the key to online marketing success and increasing conversion rates. Contact us today to find out how we can help you build your online brand.

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