Nicole DiLisio, Ignite Visibility Project Manager, gives us insight into how to rank in Google’s “People Also Asked” searches.
By now you have undoubtedly conducted enough Google searches to see the “People Also Ask” (PAA) section. That’s the accordion box that appears just below the featured snippet and includes a series of questions related to your own query.
As a good SEO, you might be wondering how you can rank in that PAA box. If you are, then you’re probably smarter than a lot of your competitors.
Why? Because PAAs are outperforming.
According to a recent article at Moz, PAAs have enjoyed a 1,723% growth in the SERPs. That compares favorably with featured snippets, which have only seen a 328% growth.
So you can win by getting your content included in the PAAs. Here’s how to do that.
It’s Not That Different From What You’re Already Doing
The good news is that ranking for the PAA isn’t all that different from standard SEO tactics. In other words, you’re not going to have to deal with a huge learning curve.
TL;DR – A PAA ranking strategy involves keyword research, producing outstanding content, a great writing style, and on-page optimization.
That’s it in a nutshell, but let’s dive into the details.
You Already Know the Keywords
When it comes to ranking for the PAA, Google is nice enough to do your keyword research for you. Even better: you get that research for free.
To find those keywords, just Google queries related to your niche. Then, have a look at the questions in the PAA.
Those questions are your keywords.
Heck, you can even use the questions themselves as the title of your content, include that same question in the content itself, and then provide an authoritative answer.
That strategy alone could land you in relevant PAAs.
There’s still more that you can do, though.
Use Keyword Tools
Pick whatever keyword tool that you’re using and, once again, plug in a term related to your niche. Your tool should spit out a bunch of related keywords. Some tools, like http://answerthepublic.com will list popular questions being asked on Google.
At this point, you need to pretend that you’re Alex Trebek and only accept keywords that are in the form of a question. Those questions could be gold.
Once you’ve identified some questions that are suitable for use, it’s time to crank out some high-quality content. As you did previously, feel free to make the title of your content the question. Then, provide an in-depth answer to that question in your content.
Answer All the Questions
If you sell saltwater tackle on an ecommerce site, you might think that a great question to answer is: “How to catch sea bass.” That’s certainly a good starting strategy, but there’s much more that you can do with it.
Keep in mind that the question only answers “How?” It doesn’t answer what, where, when, who, or why.
So here’s the takeaway: produce content that answers each of those questions as well.
For example: you could also answer “What’s the best bait for sea bass?” Now, you’ve got a “what” answer.
Similarly, you can also answer: “When is the best time to fish for sea bass off the coast of New Jersey?” Obviously, you could take that question to other states that border an ocean.
As you can see, the possibilities here are enormous.
Use Those Tags
This is SEO 101, but it applies here: populate your tags so that they’re likely to be included in the PAA.
There are three important tags for PAA optimization: the title tag, the description tag, and the H1 tag.
As we’ve seen, a great way to increase your odds of ending up on the PAA is to make the question the title of the content.
It’s a good idea to use the description tag (really a meta tag with a description attribute) to give a synopsis of the answer. Since the description content appears in the search results, don’t be shy about entering a description that’s basically click-bait.
The H1 tag should match the title tag. That’s just good onsite SEO.
Above all else, you’re going to need content that shines. That means your article doesn’t just answer the question, but it answers the question thoroughly and in a way that’s very easy to read.
For starters, use short, snappy sentences. That will make your content easier for humans to understand and for Google’s algorithm to parse.
If possible, use listicles. You’ll find that Google loves listicles and knows how to parse them. They’re often included in the featured snippet.
Finally, write with authority. Cite sources, link to relevant content, and make your article a “one-stop shop” that answers the question.
Wrapping It Up Ranking in Google’s “People Also Asked” Searches
There’s no guarantee that you can end up in the PAA, of course. However, you can increase your odds with a little bit of keyword research and some onsite SEO. Add some solid writing to your content and you’ll boost your chances even more.