Meaning of the People Also Ask box

The “People Also Ask” (PAA) box is a dynamic feature in Google search results. This feature displays additional queries, which are related to the original search. This PAA box often pops up after the first few search results and answers questions directly in the form of drop-down content.

When a visitor selects a question from the PAA box, the search is automatically updated to show the answer to that specific question. Google simultaneously generates new, related queries in the PAA box. This tool is valuable for users to dive deeper into a topic while not having to perform multiple searches.

PAA for SEO and online visibility

SEO specialists and website owners make extensive use of the PAA box to increase visibility in search engines. A Web site that appears in the PAA box can obtain significantly more traffic. This is because it provides a direct response to specific user questions.

The box also has a stake in positioning a Web site as an authority on the specific topic or area. When a website ranks in the PAA box, it not only receives more clicks, but also comes across as a lot more trustworthy to users.

How to get into the People Also Ask box in a nutshell

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How do you get into the People Also Ask box?

How does “People Also Ask” work?

Google’s PAA box uses an algorithm, which selects relevant queries related to the user’s search query. This algorithm pays attention to the popularity of questions and the quality of the content that answers them.

It also takes into account the relevance of answers in relation to searches. The PAA box aims to help provide users with additional information and give them in-depth answers to their questions.

Google’s selection of questions for the PAA box

Which queries Google selects for the PAA box depends on a combination of machine learning and algorithmic processes. These evaluate the relevance and quality of content. Users’ search queries, interaction with search results and web page content are analyzed. It then determines which queries are most relevant to the original query.

Google also takes into account the structure of content on Web pages. The search engine uses question-and-answer formats and displays clear but concise answers to specific questions.

Search intent and relevance in relation to the PAA box

When selecting questions and answers for the PAA box, search intent and relevance are the most important factors. Google wants to understand the intent behind a search. Are users looking for information? Do they want to visit a specific website? Or do they want to buy a product? The content that best aligns with this intent while providing accurate and relevant answers to related questions will be displayed in the PAA box.

Content creators must therefore go deep into topics, answer questions directly and create content that connects with the target audience.

Key factors ranking PAA box

Websites must focus on a number of key factors to rank in the PAA box. These key factors should increase visibility and relevance for specific searches. I make sure the content is high quality and relevant. I also pay attention to website structure and use schema markup.

In addition, the website must have high authority and appear trustworthy. Optimizing these aspects increases the chances of a website appearing in the PAA results and subsequently attracting more traffic.

Quality and relevant content

Quality content is the most important thing in SEO. Good content is also essential for the PAA box. Google prioritizes content that is not only high quality, but also has high relevance to the search query. And the content provide deep and well-researched answers to potential user questions.

Websites that focus on creating detailed, informative and user-oriented content appear in the PAA box faster. It is also necessary to understand search intent and create content that matches search intent.

Schema markup and structure of a website

Search engines understand and index the content of a well-structured website better. Schema markup is an advanced SEO tactic that provides specific information about a page’s content to search engines. Schema markup can help websites explicitly indicate that content answers questions. This increases their chances of being included in the PAA box.

Schemas such as FAQPage, HowTo, and QAPage are effective for highlighting question-and-answer content. Search engines can more easily identify them and present them in PAA results.

Authority and reliability of a website

To rank in the PAA box, it is important for a website to exude authority and reliability. Websites that are considered reliable sources of information within their domain are more likely to be chosen by Google for the PAA box.

Factors such as the quality of inbound links, a website’s history and reputation, and the consistency of publishing high-quality content make a website more trustworthy. Building a strong authority requires more time and commitment. However, it is a crucial component for long-term success.

Carefully consider the above factors to increase the chances of a website ranking in the “People Also Ask” box. This requires a strategic approach, in terms of content creation, website optimization and building authority in the digital ecosystem.

Choosing the right questions

Select appropriate questions in the content to answer. Only then will there be a chance to be included in the “People Also Ask” box. First, conduct thorough research to determine which questions are most relevant to the target audience. See which queries have the greatest potential to attract more traffic.

Find frequently asked questions within the niche

Research what are the frequently asked questions within the niche through forums, social media and other online platforms. Analyze where the target audience is most active. Recurring themes or specific questions from users are especially interesting. This makes it easy to identify topics that have not yet been fully covered on the website or that could be explored in more depth.

Using tools for keyword research

Keyword research tools help find relevant queries tied to a website’s core topics. Some examples of these tools are Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or SEMrush. These tools provide valuable data on search volume, competition and related searches.

A website is more likely to appear in the PAA box if it focuses on queries with high search volume and low to medium competition.

Optimize content

Once the relevant queries are identified, the content must be optimized. The questions must be answered in an efficient manner.

Using question and answer formats in texts

Use question and answer formats in content to show in a direct way that the text answers relevant questions. Sections or paragraphs can begin with the question as an intertitle. Then immediately comes a concise but informative answer. Question-answer formats are effective not only for readers but also for search engines. In addition, the chances of the Web site appearing in the PAA box get a lot better.

In-depth and informative answers

Always provide in-depth and informative answers to have a better chance of ranking in the PAA box. Content with superficial responses is not often selected. It is especially important to provide detailed explanations, including context, examples and – if possible – data or research to support the claims. These factors provide the reader with information while showing search engines that the content goes deep into the topic.

Using relevant keywords and phrases

I use relevant keywords and phrases in content for SEO optimization and to increase the chances of ending up in the PAA box. Keywords should be used naturally in responses to questions.

I also try to use synonyms and related terms to make the content broader. Search engines thus better understand what the content is about. Moreover, it is more likely to be seen as a relevant answer to the questions asked.

Improve technical SEO

Optimal technical SEO is critical for any website that wants more visibility in the search engines and to get into the “People Also Ask” (PAA) box. So the website must be fast and accessible, and both users and search engines must understand it easily.

Mobile-friendliness and loading speed

Since many searches today are performed by cell phone, a good mobile-friendly display is necessary. For Google, mobile-friendliness is an important ranking factor. So make sure you have a responsive website that adapts to different screen sizes.

Loading speed is also important. Websites with fast load times, have a better user experience and are ranked higher by Google. Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights evaluate a website’s performance. This provides insight into needed improvements.

Structured data and schema markup

Structured data helps search engines better understand and index the content on a page. Schema markup allows you to highlight specific information about pages, think articles, products, FAQ’, among others.

The visibility in the search results can be significantly improved and also, this way, a website has a better chance of being included in the PAA box. The Schema Markup Generator and Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool help implement schema markup correctly.

Building authority and reliability

Authority and reliability are indispensable for search engine success. Websites that are considered trustworthy and with high authority are more likely to rank higher.

High quality backlinks

Backlinks, or inbound links from other Web sites, are important components to demonstrate to search engines that the content is valuable and reliable. It is important to get backlinks from reputable websites within the industry. You can do this by creating high-quality content that is inherently link-worthy.

Some ways to achieve this is by guest blogging, creating shareable infographics and actively participating in relevant online communities.

Positive user signals

User behavior is an important indicator for search engines to determine the quality of a Web site. Positive signs such as low bounce rate, visitors spending a lot of time on a page and interactive engagement (such as comments and shares) drive higher rankings. By providing relevant content, using intuitive site navigation and using call-to-actions (CTAs) for more interaction, the user experience can become optimal.

I implement these strategies to improve a website’s technical SEO and to build a website’s authority and reliability. This also increases your chances of ranking in the “People Also Ask” box. Continued effort and adaptation to changing SEO practices are key. However, the benefits to a website’s visibility and traffic are significant.

Summary

To rank in Google’s “People Also Ask” (PAA) box, it is vital to create quality and relevant content, optimize the technical aspects of the website and build authority and reliability in the niche. I strategically choose queries that match the search intent of the target audience, improve the structure of the website and positively impact user signals in order to have a greater chance of ranking in the PAA box.

It is necessary to make efforts and understand SEO best practices in a consistent manner. The rewards, however, are great. My website becomes more visible online and accessible to a wider audience.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 26 April 2024. The last update of this article was on 26 April 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.