Editor’s note: As of September 2023, Google reduced the visibility of FAQ rich results, addressed below, to “well-known, authoritative government and health websites.”
Google’s search results pages are evolving. New elements and sections present organic-traffic opportunities. One of the most useful is “People also ask.” It’s a standalone section on the results page that lists users’ questions related to the query.
According to Mozcast, “People also ask” appears in more than 85% of searches.
Google implies that the questions could give searchers additional research ideas, stating (behind the three dots next to “People also ask”), “These questions are related to your search terms and may be helpful as a next step.”
Google has obtained a U.S. patent on selecting questions for “People also ask.” Essentially it relies on actual searches in a question format.
That means the ‘People also ask’ section reflects potential buying journeys of your prospects and thus is very helpful when optimizing for just about any keyword query.
Using ‘People also ask’
When choosing a keyword to target, click through several questions in the “People also ask” box. Note that every click triggers more questions.
In the example below, clicking on “What is the best most affordable laptop?” produces queries related to a Chromebook and the best laptop brand.
However, clicking “Which laptop is best for middle class family?” results in an option for a child.
Clicking “What laptop should I buy for my child?” produces selections for homeschooling and a laptop for a 10-year-old.
Imagine a target customer clicking these questions. What is her buying journey? Can you optimize your ecommerce site for all of these possibilities?
AlsoAsked.com is a third-party tool that replicates “People also asked” questions and follow-ups. The tool can help structure your site’s shopping experience by knowing what visitors are looking for.
Landing Page Tactics
Addressing “People also ask” queries on your landing pages will likely engage more shoppers by saving the hassle of seeking answers elsewhere.
Depending on the product, answer two to four questions on the page. Consider including a short FAQ or a Q&A section on all pages you are optimizing. And don’t forget to use Schema.org’s FAQPage markup to generate FAQ rich snippets in search results.
Here’s a sample landing page with Q&As, for laptops, from Office Depot.
Note the internal links in each answer above. All made it to Google’s SERP, improving the likelihood of clicks in Office Depot’s search snippets.
Ranking in ‘People also ask’
“People also ask” boxes can drive traffic, as every question provides an answer with a link to the source.
Optimizing for “People also ask” boxes would presumably optimize featured snippets, too, as it’s the same algorithm for both.
To appear in “People also ask,” provide concise, informative answers to related questions. Use HTML headings to direct Google to the correct section.
Make sure the answers meet the searchers’ expectations. For example, some questions imply numbers in the response, such as prices. Others call for a list, such as queries for the best choices.
Certain questions — how-to, do-it-yourself — require a video or image for a helpful answer.
“People also ask” provides search optimizers with valuable insights to understand their prospects’ shopping journeys. It is also a terrific source of content ideas. Review those questions when searching Google for your targeted query. Make it a habit.