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How to Optimize for Google's "People Also Ask" (PAA) in 7 Steps

Ever wondered how to dominate Google’s People Also Ask (PAA) section? Learn the secrets to optimize your content, increase visibility, and outperform competitors. Explore now!

Home / Blogs / How to Optimize for Google’s “People Also Ask” (PAA) in 7 Steps
Raghav Tayal

Head Of Operations - Digital Web Solutions

January 20, 2024

People Also Ask, or PAA, is quite an underrated section on the search results. According to an Ahrefs report, 43% of the search results have a PAA box. That means even if you don’t rank on top of the search results, you still get a chance to steal clicks from the table toppers by securing a place on the PAA section. But how do you do it exactly? How can you optimize for People Also Ask in Google? Let’s explore to uncover the answer.

What is PAA or People Also Ask?

Let’s address the basics and understand what is PAA or People Also Ask. So, it is a section in the search engine result pages (SERPs) containing related answers for the query you searched for. It appears in the form of a box containing a series of questions related to the user’s original search, accompanied by brief snippets of information extracted from various sources on the web. 

It is designed to engage the users more on the search results. When a user clicks on one of the questions in the PAA box, it expands to reveal a more detailed answer, often sourced from different websites or pages. This ultimately helps users explore the topic in-depth without performing a new search.

From a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, appearing in the PAA section can significantly increase a website’s visibility and traffic. Websites that offer concise, relevant, and authoritative answers to common user questions are more likely to be featured in the PAA box. Therefore, content creators and website owners strive to optimize their pages to align with the types of questions users can ask.

Understanding Google’s AAP box

Let’s have a closer look at People’s Also Ask to understand it better by answering a few questions:

How Does Google Generate People Also Ask Results?

Google employs machine learning algorithms to generate People Also Ask results. These algorithms assess the user interactions with the search results and identify the patterns to predict questions related to the original search. With user engagement, the system keeps refining its understanding to provide more accurate and helpful answers.

Where do PAA boxes appear on the Google SERP?

PAA boxes typically appear on the Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERP), usually below the featured snippets and above the organic search results, after the 2nd or 3rd organic result. They are presented in a visually distinct format, comprising a series of expandable questions related to the user’s initial query.

What Types of Queries Can Trigger PAA?

A broad range of queries can trigger PAA, but it’s commonly observed for informational queries. Questions starting with “how,” “what,” “why,” and other interrogative words are more likely to prompt PAA results. Google aims to offer additional information to users seeking detailed insights into their search topics.

What is Contained within PAA Boxes?

PAA boxes contain a set of related questions sourced from the web, accompanied by concise snippets of information extracted from various pages. When you click on any of these boxes, it expands to display the answer. The more boxes you click, the more boxes add up to the PAA section, increasing the overall results. However, with the increase in PAA questions, accuracy starts suffering. So, it is recommended to rely on the top 5-8 queries only.

Some important things to know about the Google PAA box

Let’s look at some of the important things to know about Google People Also Ask boxes. This will unveil some factors you must know to optimize your content for it.

Is there a limit to the number of PAA questions on a SERP?

No, there is no limit to the number of Google PAA questions on a SERP. However, at the time of the initial search, when you do not expand any PAA query, there will be only four queries.

Once you start expanding the queries, more boxes will be automatically added to the PAA section. The queries added later on in this section are often not relevant to the initial search and can contain completely different answers as well.

Can “People Also Ask” boxes occupy several places on a SERP?

Yes. Google PAA boxes appear only once, but they can occupy different places for different queries in the PAA SERP. For example, if you search the keyword “DJ software,” you can see the PAA section after the PPC and the first organic result.

But in another example where “cocktail dresses under 50 pounds” is searched, the Google People Also Ask boxes appeared after PPC, image carousel, and two organic results.

But in another example where “cocktail dresses under 50 pounds” is searched, the Google People Also Ask boxes appeared after PPC, image carousel, and two organic results.

So, the conclusion is that the PAA section can appear anywhere in the SERP, depending on the search query and search results occurring on the page.

Can AAP questions lead to video results?

Yes, but not often. Usually, the Google PAA questions have a text-based reply. So, in most of the cases, you won’t see a video result for a PAA query. But this still depends on the type of query as well.

For example, if you search for “how to play Scrabble” or “white sauce pasta recipe,” you can see some results in the PAA section that contains the reply in the video form.

Can the same AAP questions be displayed for different queries?

Yes. People Also Asked (PAA) questions can appear for different queries if they are relevant to the topic or share similarities.

Google’s algorithm aims to provide users with relevant and useful information so that they can see similar PAA questions across different searches within related content.

Different questions listed in a RTA box, triggered by different keywords, can display the same result

Google’s algorithm tries to display the most relevant answer for their PAA questions. So even if you search by putting different keywords into Google and find different queries in the Google PAA section for it, chances are those varying queries can display a similar result. A good example of this is when two keywords, “quality business cards” and “best business cards online,” were searched on Google.

You can see the PAA questions for the different keywords are different. But the results in both queries are the same.

Why is People Also Ask important?

Here’s a breakdown of why People Also Ask is important and how it can benefit your website:

Increases Top of the Funnel Marketing Reach

People Also Ask plays a vital role in increasing the top-of-the-funnel marketing reach. By offering more related questions to the original query of the user, it expands the scope of information available to the end user. This additional information can be helpful in attracting users who didn’t plan to explore the topic from a different angle but found relevance in those related PAA queries. As users explore these additional queries, businesses get an opportunity to increase their reach and attract more audiences toward their content to eventually raise awareness about their offerings.

Avoid Brand Degradation with Better Answers for Branded Queries

When users search for specific brands or products, the results may include People Also Ask Google questions related to the brand. Having well-crafted and accurate answers within the Google PAA box helps in avoiding brand degradation. Users often rely on the information provided in these boxes to form opinions about a brand or product. By ensuring that the information presented is positive, helpful, and goes with the brand messaging, brands can control the narrative and keep a positive reputation.

Improves Organic/Paid Ranking

Optimizing content to appear in the Google People Also Ask boxes can significantly improve organic and paid rankings. As Google’s algorithms recognize content that effectively answers common user questions, it is more likely to rank higher in both organic search results and paid advertisements. This increased visibility can drive more traffic to the website, leading to higher engagement and potential conversions. Businesses that strategically align their content with PAA queries can gain a competitive edge in search engine rankings.

Provides Opportunities to Rank on Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are concise, highlighted answers that appear at the top of Google’s search results. The People Also Asked feature is closely tied to the featured snippets, as clicking on a PAA question often reveals an expanded snippet. By optimizing content to address the questions within the Google PAA box, businesses increase their chances of not only appearing in the box but also securing a coveted spot in the featured snippet. Usually, people believe the sites appearing on the PAA section to be credible. So, appearing in the PAA section gives a boost to your credibility and helps you steal more clicks.

Take Advantage of your Competitors

Understanding the landscape of Google People Also Ask and staying informed about competitors’ strategies is crucial. Businesses can analyze the types of questions their competitors are addressing in the Google PAA box and identify gaps in content coverage.

How to optimize for “People Also Ask” boxes

Now you have understood what PAA is and its importance, let’s see how you can optimize your content for Google People Also Ask boxes in a few simple steps.

Find PAA Opportunities in SERP

Before you plan on ranking for the PAA section, you need to identify where you can exactly do that. Simply put, identify the PAA opportunities in SERP so you can craft a meticulous plan and create content accordingly. The best option to find such opportunities is to use People Also Ask SEO tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and RankWatch.

These tools make it easy to identify what queries you need to address in your content to rank in the PAA section so you can create the right content and increase your chances of getting more visibility.

Understand your target query and intent

Having a clear idea about the target query and its intent is super important. Since the PAA queries and their results change according to the initial search, you need to understand what is the intent behind your target query.

With intent clear in your mind, you can approach the content in the right manner and address topics the users really want to learn about. Covering the right topics and satisfying the intent will increase your chances of featuring in the Google People Also Ask section.

Ensure On-Page and Content Optimization

Not being a dedicated organic search result does not mean that securing a spot in the PAA section is easier. It is as difficult as ranking your content on the search engine result pages as an organic result. You need to make sure that you are following the right PAA SEO best practices and have a strong on-page SEO. You must include proper and well-structured internal and external linking. Moreover, your web page should follow the right heading tag hierarchy and have compressed and SEO-friendly images and content as well. An SEO-friendly page has a higher chance of appearing in the PAA section.

Look for Popular PAA questions to target SERP

Ranking in the PAA section requires pinpoint targeting of the right questions. Selecting and addressing the right questions would increase your chances of ranking in the Google People Also Ask section.

You can perform different sorts of research and also use tools to find out what questions people also asked the most on Google. Once you have a good list of questions, you can include them in your content to secure a spot in the PAA section.

Add semantic-rich search terms to your content

Semantic search terms are keywords that are closely related to the initial search query. Including such keywords in your content can increase your chances of ranking in the PAA section. Moreover, incorporating semantic-rich keywords also increases your chances of ranking on other keywords, which can boost your impressions on Google.

Create FAQ Schema

Think of FAQ schema as your content’s backstage pass. It is a bit of code that helps search engines understand the structure of your frequently asked questions. By adding this code to your content, you clearly specify to Google which ones are questions and which are the answers. When Google sees your content with PAA schema, it’s more likely to pop your answers into those expanded boxes.

Use Jump links to take viewers immediately to answers

Jump links are the links that redirect you to a specific part within the page itself. For example, if you are writing a blog with 8 different headings, you can create a complete table of contents section with jump links to all those 8 headings. Clicking on any of these links will redirect users to that specific section.

Including jump links in your content would help you incorporate the keywords, increase user engagement on the page by making them click on it, and help them access the answer quickly. Collectively, these factors also increase your chances of ranking in the PAA box.

How Generative AI Influences People Also Ask

Generative AI is at the core of People Also Ask and directly influences it. Google uses machine learning techniques to analyze your search query, and then it shows relevant questions around your original query using generative AI. This predictive capability enables PAA to dynamically generate a set of inquiries related to a user’s initial search.

Generative AI contributes to the constant evolution of PAA by adapting to user behavior and preferences. As users click on the questions within the PAA box, the algorithms learn from these interactions, refining the selection of questions and improving the relevance of the accompanying answers.

5 Best Tools to Identify Questions “People Also Ask” on Google

Here are some of the best tools that help you identify questions for the PAA section on Google:


It is a helpful tool that allows you to perform specific searches and then display the relevant queries on PAA. You can select the language and region and search for what you want, and it will display a mind map containing multiple queries. You can expand each of these queries, just like Google, to unveil more related questions. You can also export these questions in a .png or a .csv file.

People Also Ask by Frase

Another popular tool is People Also Ask by Frase. It lets you do a Google search on their platform to find out what people also asked. Once you do it, it shows multiple related questions. This makes it easy for you to target the right queries so you can secure a spot in the PAA box.

Semrush Keyword Magic Tool

It is a complete SEO tool that offers you a plethora of SEO-related features. However, Semrush also includes features that allow you to filter the terms and phrases that are in the question format. Once you filter all the keywords according to the question format, you will get a thorough list of queries you can include in your content to increase the likelihood of ranking in the Google People Also Ask section. You can also export these results in multiple formats.


KeywordsPeopleUse is similar to AlsoAsked but offers many more features. You can perform any search specifically for the People Also Asked section, and it will display a mind map with related queries around the topic. Apart from the mind map, you can view these questions as topic clusters, data, and related searches. You can also export this data into .png or .csv format. On top of that, it allows you to search for other things like Semantic Keywords, Google Autocomplete, Reddit, Quora, and more.


Neuraltext is a complete ecosystem that offers several different content and SEO-related solutions. One of those solutions is People Also Ask. You just need to search for a specific term on their platform, and it will display multiple queries around it. You can download this data as an image for offline viewing.

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand what a PAA box is, how to optimize it for “People also ask,” and its importance, you can utilize this for your business easily. Often underrated, People Also Ask is a great opportunity to give your content more exposure and drive more traffic to your content. Following the shared best practices will help you place your content in this section to catch more eyeballs and increase the credibility of your website. So, the next time you are writing content, make sure to optimize it for PAA to uplift your traffic and be a renowned source in the industry.

FAQs About People Also Ask SEO

A featured snippet is a special box that appears in the search results and gives a brief answer to your search query. Featured snippets can display content in different formats like plain paragraphs, bulleted lists, image carousels, etc. These snippets often appear above the 1st organic search result, hence stealing most of the clicks on that page.

The People Also Ask uses Machine Learning techniques to assess your original search query. Once you put your query on Google, it finds other related queries around your search and starts displaying it on the SERP.

That totally depends on the type of queries you search on Google. Most of the time, people also ask Google Box for an informational query that starts with a “why,” “how,” “what,” etc. But if your initial search is not a question, you may not see the PAA section every time.

People often ask what is PAA in SEO. Though this question looks like an odd one, what they actually mean is what the role of PAA is in SEO. Ranking in the PAA section significantly improves your SEO. PAA helps you enhance your SEO by giving you more impressions and increasing your clicks, CTR, and traffic.

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