What is People Also Ask Box or PAA? How to Appear in It?

Posted by Varun Sharma on October 13, 2020

A good percentage of Google search queries are in the form of a question.

Whether it’s dating advice, learning magic, making girlfriend happy, or finding the best shoes in the town, everyone prefers to type it in a question form over Google Search.

And Google doesn’t disappoint as it tries to provide the best answer that can go with search intent.

But Google doesn’t answer on its own. Instead, it collects the data from websites, reviews, and trusted entities to match the answer.

It means that if you have the close answer to the user queries, you can show up in its People Also Ask box.

What is People Also Ask box?

It is a Direct Answer facility by Google. It is the set of questions answered that closely matched to the searcher’s intent. It appears in the set of four questions that can be expanded to see the answer.

For example, I want to know how French toasts are made. I use Google search to find the answer and this is what Google shows along with the key answers in the People Also Ask box.

What is People Also Ask


Here is another one (obviously, searched by a curious or jealous female fan of Brad Pitt).

PAA Box Example

Like featured snippets, the PAA box shows answers in different formats ranging from text, tables to videos (sometimes).

What are Expert opinions on People Also Ask or PAA Box?

Okay. Now you must have understood what the People Also Ask box is. It is a direct answer facility by Google to show you the related questions to your search queries. It helps people find the best answers.

As a business, should you care about People Also Ask Box?

Yeah, you should.

This is because Google pulls out data from several sites, reviews, and trusted entities to provide the best answers.

Showing up in the PAA answers can benefit your website as you get in the front of million eyes looking for the answer. This way, it is a great opportunity to improve your organic search.


Given their typically high position in search results, the PAA box provides brands and SEOs with an opportunity for visibility in a crucial section of the results page.

– George Nguyen, Editor at Search Engine Land

According to a study by Ahrefs, PAA box appears roughly four times in search results than featured snippets. SEMrush has found that the PAA box appears 75% of the time.

Featured Snippets VS PAA
Source: Moz.com

The percent of search results with PAA is higher on mobile devices. In Singapore, they pop up 3 times more often in mobile results. In the USA, they occur four times as often on mobile devices.

PAA Box Stats
Source: advancedwebranking.com

While featured snippets usually appear either first or second in the SERPs, PAA boxes can appear in almost any position. For example, it can be on number two position for the query “how to do SEO” and number five for “how to do digital marketing”.

PAA Serp Presence
Source: Semrush.com

How to Optimize for PAA Box?

PAA shouldn’t be ignored if you are looking to improve your ranking.

Make it the part of your SEO or online marketing campaign. Here is how to optimize your online website or other entity to appear in the PAA box.

Choose the Right Keywords:

Find out which keyword set is ideal for the People Also Ask box. You can use a rank tracking tool to find the frequency of PAA results for your target phrases. Also, use the Google Universal search engine ranking data, and look at the SERP feature report.

Brainstorm for the Questions:

Slip into your customer’s shoes and think about what they are likely to ask. Besides, you can use several online tools to explore questions such as Yahoo Answers, AlsoAsked.com, Answer the Public.com, and Usetopic.com. Quora is also an effective way to get insight into people’s queries. Once you generate the list of questions, see if you can answer them all as well as incorporate somewhere in your content.

(Snapshot of Usetopics.com tool for finding the answer)


Optimize Your Content:

Google fetches the data or answers from several online entities such as websites and reviews. But it only considers the content written in the right format. Here are some suggestions to make your content fit for the PAA box:

  • Write in a plain and natural language
  • Avoid making it look like a sales copy
  • Target on the questions you have researched (like on Quora)
  • Keep your content updated
  • Use the tools like “Answer the Public” to Understand Your Audience Queries Better.

When writing about a topic, research it thoroughly and ensure you’re answering all the key questions people have. Thorough keyword research and tools like AlsoAsked will help here.

Sam Underwood, Digital Search Marketer

Strategically Optimize Your Key Pages:

You can try everything you think that people can search for. For example, many people search for “what is the cost of online marketing”.

You can optimize your pricing page for that. But the answer shouldn’t be built around “Call us for Quote Now”.

Instead, you can mention about the general pricing plans (avoiding sales viewpoint as possible).


Use Question and Answer Schema:

The updated version of markups like Questions, How To and QAPage can be used.


Careful planning in advance and active listening in the moment to what consumers want means you’ll learn how to develop your answers. It is an ongoing process of active listening.

– Jeannie Hill

How to See Reporting on Your PAA Listings?

Google Search Console helps you track the data on your PAA listings. However, it only happens when your listed answer on the PAA box is expanded. One more thing—if your PAA box occurs in position five, your listing within the PAA box will be reported in Google Search console as position five, no matter if your answer pops up as one of the original three or the tenth of the listing.

Getting Success with PAA—A Case Study

In the summers of 2018, I have been approached by a US real estate firm looking to increase their sales through an online listing. I thoroughly optimized their site for flaws and found that they lack efficient keywords. However, I also wanted to know how PAA can work for them along with other marketing strategies. Here I will only include PAA strategies and results as the topic is all about PAA. Right?

Our PAA Strategies:

  • Generating Right Keywords People Used for Buying, Selling, and Listing Homes
  • Incorporating Semantic Keywords
  • Adding FAQs Box and Including Some General Real Estate Questions as Well
  • Optimizing the Content for Voice Search
  • Using the Q and A Mark Up and Other Schemas

The Results:

Optimizing the real estate website for PAA as well as other SEO strategies improved their traffic and exposure as well. They also saw a 200% increase in People Also Ask results.


People Also Ask or PAA is on the way to becoming a key online marketing strategy over time. Thanks to the ever-increasing question-based search queries and Google’s mission to provide quality search results. If you haven’t optimized your website for the PAA box, do it now or else your competitor will do it.

What do you think? Let me know by commenting below!

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