Would you like to create more useful and better-structured content?
Any writer would readily reply “Yes” to that.
Then here’s the most useful tool that you are likely to be already using (but probably not to its fullest potential): Google.
Google gives a content writer lots of clues on what should be included in an article. One of the most useful search elements Google empowers a content writer with is the “People Also Ask” box.
- What are “People Also Ask” boxes?
- Create more in-depth content
- Structure your content more effectively
- Google's Also Ask FAQs
Let’s see how People Also Ask boxes can turn useful to a content creator:
What are “People Also Ask” boxes?
“People Also Ask” is Google’s newer search element that displays questions that are related to the current search query.
The questions may not even contain your actual search query but it will somehow extend it:
There are generally two types of questions that may be included in the “People Also Ask” boxes:
- Questions that clarify the current search query (Making it more specific and hence easier to answer/solve)
- “Follow-up” questions, i.e., those that may be of interest to a user after he/she finds an answer to his/her current query.
Both of these types are obviously of interest to content creators because they allow them to get a better understanding of any topic and browsing journeys that can result from any search query.
According to Mozcast, People Also Box currently appears for 83% of Google’s search queries
Screenshot as of September 2021
Create more in-depth content
Google has developed a “People Also Ask” algorithm based on what their current users tend to research next.
By reverse-engineering these questions, writers can get a good idea of what their target users are likely to be interested in when searching for a particular search query.
Understand various browsing journeys
The real beauty of these boxes is that they are dynamic: Google will generate more relevant questions based on the one you click (or tap if you are on a mobile device).
Clicking those questions gives you more and more angles to explore and cover in your content. It also gives you a good idea of how your target readers may be exploring any given topic.
This is why these questions are sometimes referred to as “intent questions”, i.e., those that help identify and satisfy each searcher’s intent:
Providing related questions to users can help users who use un-common keywords or terminology in their search query to identify keywords or terms that are more commonly used to describe their intent.
Consequently, the People Also Ask boxes help content writers understand all the different ways their target readers explore the given topic and hence adjust their content to better serve all those different journeys.
Find the best way to answer many of the related questions
When clicked, each question shows a quick answer to that question that was sourced from a third-party page. Google uses its “Featured Snippet” algorithm to find those answers.
Among other things, these quick paragraph-sized answers can also provide a good learning opportunity: They teach a writer to provide concise answers that are easy to understand and engage with.
Organize questions by topical relevance and intent
The list of questions can actually be quite endless: Just keep clicking People Also Ask suggestions that look the most relevant to your angle and you will see more and more questions unfold as you go:
To get a better understanding of these questions, try running Text Optimizer, which uses semantic analysis to predict some searching patterns of your target audience. Google uses a similar algorithm to generate their “People Also Ask” suggestions:
Text Optimizer gives a birds-eye view of relevant search patterns and provides a great starting point for a writer. Copy any of these questions and use People Also Ask boxes to extract more related and follow-up questions.
Text Optimizer helps cluster those related questions by topical relevance. Once you know those groups, managing endless People Also Ask results becomes doable!
Structure your content more effectively
Effective content structure is as important for your content strategy success as content quality. Well-structured content ranks higher and engages more people, driving them further into an article.
Structuring your content means breaking it up into sections and subsections by using H2-H3 subheadings.
Subheadings make content easier to scan and faster to understand. Multiple eye-tracking studies have identified various content scanning patterns people may be exercising when going through text content. But all of them confirm that when there are subheadings that break up the text, people’s eyes are always drawn to those first.
So what does it have to do with People Also Ask?
Using questions as subheadings is almost always a good idea. The thing is, asking a question is an effective way to get people to pay attention. Asking a question triggers a natural answering reflex in human beings. This psychological concept is referred to as “instinctive elaboration” and it hacks our brain into thinking about the answer to a question.
In other words, asking questions in your subheadings (which are the most prominent part of your content) will drive more of your readers deeper into your content.
And a “People Also Ask” box is often your ready-made free list of questions to build into your content structure.
With time, my primary content writing and structuring tactic has been formed as follows:
- Once I know my target keywords, I search for various People Ask Results and write some of those questions down
- I also use secondary keywords (those with lower search volume) to create some of those subheadings as well
- Next, I write a one-paragraph answer underneath each subheading
- Finally, I elaborate on each question below each of those paragraphs as needed
This tactic helps my content rank in the “Featured Snippets” and People Also Ask boxes, as well as creates a highly productive content creation routine.
As far as you can see, People Also Ask results almost define and direct my writing flow, providing a starting point for my content creation process.
To make this tactic even more effective, use those subheadings to generate an on-page table of contents, allowing people to quickly jump to a particular question that interests them most.
Google’s People Also Ask helps content writers to better understand their target topic and brainstorm more engaging content ideas. But more importantly, the search feature can help you improve every single article you are working on by encouraging you to create more in-depth, better-structured content. Good luck!
Google's Also Ask FAQs
What are People Also Ask boxes?
People Also Ask boxes are a search element that displays questions that are related to the current search query. The answers to questions in the People Also Ask boxes are directly related to the search query.
How can I get my content to rank in People Also Ask snippets?
Creating well-structured content is key to ranking in People Also Ask snippets. Do your keyword research. Search People Ask Results based on those keywords and write some questions down. Use secondary keywords to create subheadings. Elaborate on each subheading with well-researched, relevant content.
How should I structure my content?
Well-structured content is broken up into sections and subsections with H2-H3 subheadings. Your content will effectively answer whatever questions your reader had before finding your page.