Google officially launched a search feature that they had been testing since April 2015; “people also ask.” So, what is the “People Also Ask” feature? Here’s an excerpt from a Stat blog post that succinctly explains it:
“WHAT IS A “PEOPLE ALSO ASK” BOX?
The “People also ask” box is a Google universal SERP result that answers questions related to the searcher’s initial query. We like to think of it as the cousin of the featured snippet.
Each PAA box contains anywhere from one to four related questions (known as “PAA questions” from here on out), which expand to reveal answers that Google has pulled from other websites. The site’s URL appears below each answer, along with a “Search for” link, which guides the user to a Google SERP of the PAA question.”
Moz wrote an article about the evolution of this feature, and it gives a full picture of how it’s evolved and changed over the past almost-three years. I’ve seen this feature in random searches for a while now and decided to put it to the test now that it’s live and in full use. To put it to the test, I figured I would ask a general (and timely) question and see what came up. My search question was “what is government cheese” and this was the “People also ask” result:
When a searcher clicks an article and then returns to the SERP, this “People also search for” box will pop up below the link and schema. These terms are another good indication of terms and keywords that can be used in place of or in addition to your main keyword or search term.
This is great news for people in the digital marketing industry who focus their energy on organic search results through link-building and keywords. Showing a variety of options and alternative search terms give anyone who writes for a website an advantage. We can write more conversationally, varying the terms and keywords we use without worry that missing a particular term could keep us from potential web visits. Additionally, PAA boxes are seeing a surge of clicks over standard featured snippets. The amazing thing about PAA and PASF is that searchers can get caught in a long rabbit hole of searches without ever leaving the main page of results. Each click on a new article or search term gives a new page of results without diving deep into SERP’s. In 2017, Stat wrote a post about this exact thing, noting that each new search request contained only one similar search question The remaining three questions were new and different than previous PAA results.
So how can you relate this to your law firm’s website, blog or guest posts? “People also ask” gives you a leg up when you know how people are finding your site. You may shy away from putting “we’re the best XYZ lawyers” on your website, but your FAQ page could answer the questions associated with this search.
Here’s how you can get started and take advantage of Google’s new feature:
- Head over to Moz’s Keyword Explorer
- Type in your desired search term. For an example, I used “Columbus tax lawyer”
- Search Google in an incognito browser for “best (the type of law you practice) (your city)” OR you can try the search method I used: regular browser, general search without the city listed. I would only do this if you are in your office, to see the results for potential clients within your neighborhood.
- Check the “People also ask” box for associated terms
- Compare those results with the Moz keyword suggestions and see where you could naturally add or alter your site’s current content.
- If you don’t already have a Frequently Asked Questions page or post, make one right away. Or, use the people also ask questions as your blog post subjects.
These are just a few of the many ways you can incorporate Google’s new feature to support your website and Search Engine Marketing efforts. It’s my personal theory that this is one step for Googe to have more voice accessible search results. This is one more (incredibly important) reason to start paying attention to your PAA and PASF results, you’ll have a better chance of coming up in voice searches using more speech friendly search terms.