Increase Your Website’s Ranking with Google’s “People Also Ask”
Are you trying to increase your ranking on Google so that your website gets more traffic and sales?
Unless you are only interested in local business, search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for people to find your website when searching for a gift/gift basket business.
Most people tend to limit themselves to basic SEO techniques they can implement quickly, such as using keywords in your title, creating meta-descriptions, using a site map, etc.
That helps, of course, but there is more that you can do. The big boys, with deep pockets to spend on SEO, use other techniques as well. And one of those techniques is a section at the bottom of each page of search engine results called “People Also Ask” which provides additional ideas of what people may be interested in asking or knowing.
And you can also use this information to not only help you rank for the search query you typed in, but related ones as well.
What Is People Also Ask?
People Also Ask is a feature on the Google Search Engine Results Pages that is an extension of ideas whenever someone types in a query. This list of related questions helps people understand a topic more thoroughly.
It’s a little like shopping in your favorite grocery store, where you’ll see shelves of last minute items you can add to your cart right around the checkout area. Or at a fast-food restaurant, where you are always encouraged to add on a drink or French fries.
With Google, their job is to make you stick around and use (and rely on) their site (it’s how they earn ad revenue, after all).
So what they “add on” is information. Additional questions. “Would you also like to know this?” It also helps users have a more positive experience, which is important to Google and it’s actually become a top priority for them, as we’ll discuss later.
To find the People Also Ask section, and ultimately use it to enhance your SEO efforts, simply go to Google and type in a search query. Scroll down the page and you’ll find the People Also Ask section, which will be below the Ads and Featured Snippets.
For each question listed in the People Also Ask section, you can click on the question to see an answer and a hyperlink for where they can find more on that answer. The system also begins to automatically add more People Also Ask questions below.
So if it initially shows you four questions, and you click on one to expand the answer, a few more will pop up below in the list, usually related to the one you clicked on. It will continue drilling down for you as you click on more questions.
Here’s an example of a People Also Ask section and the questions it returns when you ask, “How does the keto diet work?”
What starts to happen with the results is Google giving you a roadmap to follow as you create content for your blog.
Google has all the statistical data about what people have searched for in the past and they’re handing you that information for free. What you do with it from that point on is up to you, and SEO is one of the best uses for this information.
Understanding Google’s Helpful Update
In order to leverage the People Also Ask section to your advantage, you have to know what Google’s intentions are, and the Helpful Update they launched a short time ago explains everything.
Google is looking for content pages that deliver a good experience for their users, right? Because if they link or give preference to thin content pages with no value, people will stop using Google as their search engine, and their revenue goes out the window.
But if you are selling gifts or gift baskets or anything else on an ecommerce site, why would you even need a blog?
Although it’s not a requirement for having a successful eCommerce website, a blog can do wonders to improve traffic and, therefore, sales and profits.
Search engines love new, fresh, constant, and relevant content. Blogging is an excellent way to tell search engines that your site has been updated. In return, they rank your website higher.
Blogging helps you to insert relevant, search engine optimized keywords on your blog so that your website can be easily indexed by the search engines. This ‘blogging’, when kept relevant to the products you are selling, will lead to more traffic to your eCommerce business and likely more customers as well.
When you are listing your products in your online store, you try to not overwhelm the customers by writing long descriptions. Short descriptions don’t provide much of an opportunity to use targeted keywords. Also the number of words on the page is usually low making it what Google considers a “thin page.”
Blogging gives you the opportunity to write tips, user guides, comparison articles, etc. which includes links from your blog posts to the products in your store. This is known as “internal linking” which Google really likes.
Many people think that publishing as many blog posts as possible is the best way to go. This is partially true; however, quality is always king.
Your focus should be towards publishing the best content — or at least better content than your competitors. Then, even if it is just one article per week, it will be well-received by your audience and more valuable for SEO.
Your blog content needs to be comprehensive and informative with fresh news and information. Include your own opinions and even a personal story if you have one that relates to the topic you are writing about. You would never want to just copy and paste the People Also Ask questions with sterile answers.
Google specifically says in the guide for their Helpful Update that they’re looking for content that showcases the site owner’s personal expertise and enthusiasm for the topic, putting an emphasis on trust for the content.
You can use the People Also Ask section to craft a helpful blog post that you personalize for your blog.
The main thing People Also Ask does for you is it gives you the ability to understand what people are searching for on Google. If you fill that need and answer the questions that people are searching for, Google is more likely to send traffic to that blog post when they search for a related keyword.
Using “People Also Ask” for Comprehensive Pillar Posts
Many bloggers rarely, if ever, write long blog posts that answer a topic completely. Most blog posts just touch on a subject and are short and concise.
But longer, in-depth, evergreen blog posts – called Pillar Posts – should be a part of your blogging strategy if you want to rank high on the search engines for a particular keyword or keyword phrase. They should be mixed with shorter posts and updated frequently if the information changes. The People Also Ask section can be your guide on what to put in these pillar pieces.
So if you are creating a pillar blog post about how the keto diet works, start by using common sense to brainstorm a list of things people want to know, such as how many carbs they can have, how much weight they can lose, etc.
Then type the phrase or question into Google and begin drilling down in the People Also Ask section to branch out in as many relevant ways as possible with additional ideas. So if one result is: How does the keto diet work for weight loss, you can click on that to expand and find more content to cover, such as:
- Does keto melt belly fat?
- Can you eat fruit on keto?
Click on the belly fat one and then you might see other questions about starting a keto diet for beginners or speeding up keto fat loss. Compile all of these questions into a file and use it to cluster the topics and choose your subheadings for the blog post.
You want to make sure to use H1 and H2 tags and have these questions stand out in your blog post content. Don’t duplicate the same question asked in two different ways for a subheading, but merge them into one.
Create Individual Page Links for People Also Ask Topics
When you begin looking at the People Also Ask section, you’ll notice that these are basically long-tail keyword phrases. You can use these as your blog post titles and in the content and tags to rank this question high in the search engines.
If you do a good job at creating a pillar blog post for that question, chances are higher that Google will select your post as one answer in the People Also Ask section, allowing you to get a primary spot in the SERPs.
The reason this section serves an audience well is that it helps people in guiding them on what information they may want to know. Sometimes, if they’re new to a topic, they won’t know what questions to ask – or how to ask them.
You can use the questions in this section to create individual pages for your blog. You might start with the main question of, “How does the keto diet work?” But then your blog can take the next People Also Ask query of, “What is the main rule of keto?” and answer that in depth for your audience.
Move on to each of the questions and create a new pillar post for each one. Google will begin to recognize your site as a comprehensive and thorough resource for their users. And each of your pillar posts using that exact People Also Ask question will become a contender for a spot in that section as a hyperlinked answer and resource.
Whenever you create a page for this purpose, start your content off with a brief summary answer that can appear whenever a user clicks on the question. When someone clicks on an answer this is what they’ll see:
The question is first, followed by a brief answer, and the hyperlinked title of the page. You can enjoy organic traffic simply by being part of this section because your content is a valuable resource for readers.
Sometimes, when you click on the question, it opens up a snippet post, which is a numbered reply. So you can use either of those options to get your content included in the People Also Ask section.
Other Tools That Can Mimic Google’s People Also Ask Feature
Besides the People Also Ask section, you can use other tools and sites to tap into this strategy. For example, going on forums for your niche will allow you to see threads where people are asking questions.
You can find questions using keyword tools (both paid and free options). You can even begin typing in Google with a question to see what it automatically fills in. If you begin typing in how does the keto, you’ll see auto-filled questions such as:
- How does the keto diet work
- How does the keto gummies work
- How does the keto diet help you lose weight
- How does the keto help with cholesterol
- How does the keto affect your body
- How does the keto help diabetes…and so on
The more you type, the more it changes the auto-filled questions, which you can use for your own research when creating pillar blog posts for SEO and to hopefully achieve a People Also Ask entry.
Another free tool you can use is AnswerThePublic.com. This is a neat tool where you enter a topic using one or two words and it delivers results of what people are asking about it.
If you enter the phrase keto diet, for example, it returns 77 questions and gives you indicators of whether they are highly searched, average searched or low searched. So, a high search topic might be: are keto diet pills safe.
An average searched topic might be: will the keto diet lower my A1C? And a low searched topic might be: will keto raise my triglycerides? The outer layer of the tool has a wheel showing you the query the questions are based on, including: when, will, are, why, how, which, who, what, where, and can.
So your results might be:
- Where to eat on a keto diet
- Who is the keto diet good for
- Can the keto diet cause hair loss
- What does the keto diet do to your body
- Which keto diet plan is the best
- How does the keto diet burn fat
- When should you stop (or start) the keto diet
- Why does the keto diet work…etc.
Keep in mind that while the People Also Ask section can be a strategic option for your SEO efforts, you can’t neglect basic, on-page SEO. Google isn’t going to send people to a page that fails to load or isn’t mobile friendly, for example.
I’ve used keto diet as the keyword subject for this article but you can use any keyword that you are considering writing a blog post about. Use the same techniques that I’ve outlined here for any phrase you like – gourmet gift baskets, gifts for a lady who has everything, buy a get well basket, or anything else.
Yes, doing this research and writing these longer Pillar Posts takes time away from all the many other things that you do to run your business. But adding a blog with quality, longer posts will increase your rankings in the search engines, resulting in more traffic and sales.