We google a lot, from small things to some major points of discussion, we rely on Google in our daily life. If you have recently put in a search term in the Google search box, you would have seen a grid box titled- ‘People Also Ask’, containing queries and answers related to your search query.
This expandable grid box is relevantly a new concept introduced by Google. For users, it provides some quick results to questions they are looking for, without moving to any other website or webpage at an instant, while for the web marketers it provides a new platform that they can target to capture the attention of their target audience.
What ‘People Also Ask’ box is? Why is it becoming so significant in today’s times? We discuss further.
People Also Ask
People Also Ask is a SERP feature that is dynamic in nature, as when you click on a question, it expands detailing a brief answer to the question; along with further questions listing below that are related to the question/topic you have clicked on. Clicking on further questions will lead to more questions listing at the bottom of the list with their answers.
This shows the result for our query ‘Restaurant Apps, and as you can see, after the 1st organic result, the SERP shows ‘People Also Ask’ box, containing 4 queries relevant to the original search query of the user.
If we move to a question and look for the related answer, the box will expand with more listings related to that clicked-question, as represented below:
We clicked on the 4th question from the 1st result, which came up with a brief answer to that and more questions available below that. When you move further and click on other questions, the box will expand listing other relevant questions. This is how ‘People Also Ask’ feature works.
As the SERP field is constantly evolving and there are several features that we have seen crop up in recent years, like Knowledge Graphs, Featured Snippets, Local packs and more; and ‘People Also Ask’ is another feature addition that has expanded the character of how Google works and shows up results, meaning an altogether different experience for users, as well as more ladders to climb on for the web marketers to cement a strong presence on the SERP.
How ‘People Also Ask’ is Different from ‘People Also Search For’ and ‘Featured Snippets’?
You may be wondering why we have including only these two features in our comparison study’ it is because these are related to ‘People Also Ask’, as we detail below:
- People Also Search For
Type in a search query, click on a link from the organic result and then return back to the search result page. Now, you would see a box – ‘People Also Search For’ listing some search queries related to your original query.
This happens as Google infers that the user has returned back from a website because they didn’t find what they were looking at and therefore it provides more alternate searches to help you look for better solutions.
A highly prevalent feature, Featured Snippets is an answer box, detailing summarized answers to the user’s query, and what makes it highly significant is that it appears at the top of the search results. This box contains a brief answer to the user query with page title link and URL. The top positioning of the Featured Snippets is the reason why it is often referred to as ‘position zero’, which marketers vie for to attain for their keywords.
Here, you can clearly see the featured snippet detailing about the docker image as per the user’s query. It lists the page title link, along with the URL, for you to click on to move to and read further about that.
‘People Also Ask’ can be termed as a combination of both, ‘People Also Search For’ and ‘Featured Snippets’, as that provides a listing of several questions relevant to the searched query, along with brief answers to those questions. ‘People Also Ask’ SERP feature is more detailed, more comprehensive and helps you find answers to your query and more questions with related queries.
Some Significant Characteristics related to ‘People Also Ask’ Feature
This feature has had an effect on SERPs for businesses and therefore for a website owner or marketer, it becomes important to dig deep and know more about ‘People Also Ask’ to leverage this feature to rejig their Search Engine Optimization process and improve their SERP results and rankings.
- For Different Searches ‘People Also Ask’ occupies different positions
There is no certain positioning of the ‘People Also Ask’ feature on SERP. Unlike Feature Snippet feature, this can be located in different parts of the page, possibly because of the kind of authority and ranking the answer detailing site has for a certain query with respect to other organic results appearing on the page.
In the above result for our query ‘women dresses’, the ‘People Also Ask’ feature appears below the 9th organic result, at the bottom of the page.
And when we searched for ‘design software’, ‘People Also Ask’ feature appeared right below the 1st result on the page. Similarly, for any other search query, the positioning of this feature is not uniform.
This is a key concern, which does affect the organic results’ CTR. And if you are targeting mobile devices then with limited space availability, this feature can really impact your organic result’s positioning.
- People Also Ask feature can expand further and further
If someone asks me- Do People Also Ask feature has a limit to questions? my answer would be – no.
With the research I have conducted till now, there is no defined criterion for the listing limitation. For some queries, you can find the questions to only 3 or 4 even after you click one, and for some, when you start clicking on questions further, the list keeps on expanding. It does show that Google is still experimenting with the feature and doesn’t take any defined vertical or pattern to show the results. The presentation differs variably for different keywords and searches queries.
Usually, the ‘People Also Ask’ feature shows up 4 listings (in most of the cases), as depicted above for our search – wooden spoon.
When we clicked on a question, the list expanded further, now totaling 6:
For any other query, you can see different expansion pattern. For a user, it provides different experiences each time with new search queries. For a marketer, they need to understand this inconsistency to determine how they can take advantage of varying listings.
- This feature can trigger Featured Snippet
There are instances when you click on a question in ‘People Also Ask’ it triggers Featured Snippet.
When we search for ‘artificial grass’ the SERP comes up with a People Also Ask feature. Now when we use the first question of the listing as the main query, it will result in Featured Snippet, as shown below:-
‘People Also Ask’ can also show video results
As you can see in the above example, clicking on the first question shows a YouTube video in the answer section.
- There is a feedback feature in ‘People Also Ask’ listing
When you come across a ‘People Also Ask’ box in a SERP, you would find the presence of a ‘Feedback’ feature just below the listing, as you can see in the example below:-
When you click on it, it will come up with a pop-up, requesting your feedback for your experience:
When I checked an option, then this was the response I got:-
According to Google, this feature is available for some search results, not for all. And Google won’t respond to your submitted feedback but will collect the information to further work on to improve the accuracy of the listings. It is also not clear how much impact our feedback response will have on the listings as per its positioning or appearing.
For marketers, this means that they have to be more accurate and concise in queries and keywords they are competing for. They can also flag a listing if they don’t find that suitable, hoping it gets changed and they have a chance of appearing in the listing results instead.
How to Take Advantage of ‘People Also Ask’ Feature for Your SEO Strategy?
One of the most important things that you need to understand before crafting your plan to target this feature’s listing is that it makes users playing with SERPs longer. And as Google stresses on quality and relevancy for the ‘People Also Ask’ listing, it signifies that you have to craft a solid strategy where you are in the good books of Google to stand and shine as per the targeted queries and keywords.
- Know the Listings
How can you work upon something, if you are not digging deep into that to know the why’s and how’s? Extract the listing questions in the first place, for which you can take the help of some new and up and coming tools, and then studying the whole report to get to the bottom of the process.
- Understand the Type of Information That Triggers Listing
Are those queries and keywords informational, instructional, navigational or some other types that trigger ‘People Also Ask’ listing? This is a key concern that you have to address in your research and study before crafting an SEO strategy to target this feature.
- Build Authority
Each listing question and answer that shows up in SERP is from a source that has built high credibility for its relevancy and accuracy. So, start assessing your SEO strategy and re-optimize your process to develop into an authoritative source for users that delivers quality and is a major traffic attraction.
- Re-Optimise The Content
As you would have noticed, the ‘People Also Ask’ feature shows up results in the Q and A format. So, it makes sense to formulate your content in a way that it addresses questions and answers them. Being in an informative flow is not enough when you want to target the listing, but have to be precise, to the point and in a condensed format that syncs well with the ‘People Also Ask’ pattern.
For you to appear in the listing, Google has to know that you are answering a question, relevant to certain searched keyword and query, and in a concise way. It would be a great step to wrap your questions in the content in H2/H3 tags and build the answer around that, for a clear and easy to grasp, and defined information to the user.
- Will Schema Help?
While there are several listing results that I have come across, without any schema code, implementing this may be helpful to your chances of being shown in the listing. How-to schema and FAQs have the format and layout that matches well with that of ‘People Also Ask’ and ‘featured Snippet’ features, then why not give it a try.
With ‘People Also Ask’ working fine for the users and Google and as is expected to be worked upon and upgraded by the search engine giant, digital marketing services providers must consider this as an extended search volume opportunity. Looking at these listings as organic and incorporating into your SEO strategy would help you re-define your existing process and scale your approach further and wider.