In recent years, Google has been adjusting its features to provide simple, yet accurate answers to search queries. And that has seen the birth of several SERP elements like Featured Snippets and the 'People Also Search For' box.
Have you ever made use of the PASF (People Also Search For) feature? Do you know it has more value than it appears to have? If not, you are no doubt missing out on an opportunity to better your SERP rankings. How?
Well, it is no news to experienced SEOs that the PASF gives insight into keywords and content ideas. In a way, it's like receiving a content suggestion from Google itself!
As a webmaster, you know what that means. And how beneficial it'll be to rank for those keywords. This article will help you make use of the People Also Search For box to your advantage. But to do that, a little history is necessary.
What is ‘People Also Search For’?
The 'People Also Search For' box is a search engine feature containing keywords that relate to the query at hand. It refers to that box on the SERP that usually consists of six topics that aim to provide users with the answers they're looking for.
Unlike the 'Related Searches' box, PASF often appears only after clicking on a website and returning to the SERP. Assuming you didn't find what you needed, Google will display the PASF box beneath that site as if saying: "Not satisfied? These might help!"
As a user, there is nothing better than receiving suggestions to broaden your view on a topic. Who knows, some of these suggestions might be just what you want. However, what is unknown to many is that the PASF went through many changes to become what it is today.
History of the PASF box
'People Also Search For' is not a new feature on Google's result pages. It made its first appearance in 2012 on 'desktop' along with Google's knowledge graphs. Back then, it was nothing more than a section in the knowledge graph that displayed a series of thumbnails on related topics.
Soon, that changed when Google started displaying it at the bottom of the results page. During that time, the PASF became a stand-alone feature that works mainly for music-related queries.
By placing it just right above the 'Searches Related to' box, Google made it easier for users to see their differences. While the 'Searches Related' feature displays different forms of the current query, PASF allows you to expand more on your search.
For instance, if you had searched for a song back then, 'Searches Related to' will offer terms like the song's lyrics or remix. And PASF will display other songs that sound similar or were produced by the same artist.
But once again, this version of PASF changed. It got shoved back into the knowledge graphs. However, doing so left behind two related search boxes on the SERP. These boxes worked the same way as the previous PASF version but under different names. Soon, this version was about to come to an end.
In February 2019, the most significant change to the People Also Search For box was made. This saw the birth of the current PASF.
Unlike previous versions, it had no image thumbnails and no fixed position on Google's SERP. Also, it became a combined version of both the 'Searches Related to' and former PASF forms. And after a little digging, SEOs discovered the biggest growth yet - a haven for keywords.
Importance of PASF in SEO
Keyword Research is essential for any successful SEO strategy. Without it, creating content is of no use. Even if the quality of your content is high, you may show up on the wrong SERPs and attract the wrong audience. To avoid that, you need to get started on your keyword research ASAP.
Fortunately, there are a lot of tools out there. And with the current PASF version, you can get a bucket full of keyword ideas in no time.
It may not look it, but the PASF section creates alternate SERPs for brands looking to rank. How? Google's pages are competitive to the extent that many websites with great content are nowhere to be seen. And that's because they're all trying to rank for the same term. This increases the difficulty of that keyword.
As someone who wants to optimize for that same term, you may find it tasking. It would take a lot of effort and time before you start seeing results. However, if you decide to aim for a similar term with lesser keyword difficulty, you may rank much higher and faster. The PASF box contains such keywords, which lead to similar SERPs.
With all that said, the main question remains: how can you take advantage of the PASF?
How to utilize ‘People Also Search For’
So far, this article has discussed the meaning and various versions of 'People Also Search For. Also, you've seen two vital perks of utilizing the PASF box to your advantage. But is that all? Of course not! There are still many underlying benefits waiting for those looking to take advantage of the PASF box.
The following strategies will bring some of these benefits to light. And above all, it will help you utilize the PASF box to your advantage.
1. Optimize your content for PASF's keywords
Of course, this is the most basic yet effective way to use the ‘People Also Search For’ box. As a brand, you'll need to rank your content for specific keywords to generate traffic and potential clients.
And as seen above, creating content without keyword research is of no use. This is where the PASF feature comes into play. You can get keyword ideas for your content in this box.
You only need to study brand-related queries that are common amongst users. Those questions that keep on showing up on the PASF are good targets. Aim for those terms by creating blog posts or articles that center around them.
If possible, turn those keywords into question formats (using WH-words). After all, keywords on PASF are usually just topics. And the average user is most likely to search by using questions. Well, above all, keep your On-page elements in mind.
By ranking high for PASF keywords (especially those with high search volumes), you'll experience the benefits of SEO as a whole.
2. Implement PASF terms into FAQs
Notice the structure of the ‘People Also Search For’ box. In a sense, it's similar to that of FAQs, right? That makes FAQs a good way to utilize PASF terms. For businesses, having a FAQ section is necessary. It helps visitors learn more about you, your brand, and/or your service.
But it also allows you to reap the benefits of PASF and rank for its SERPs. What do you need to do? It's simple! Provide answers to your site's queries that are somewhat similar to those queries on PASF.
While doing so, ensure that the queries you get from ‘People Also Search For’ are relevant to your brand. Otherwise, you won't be providing any value to your visitors.
Plugins such as FAQPage Schema can help you do all this more effectively. However, take care to apply Google's FAQ guidelines to create more engaging FAQ content. All of these tips will help you create content with ranking power on ‘People Also Search For’ SERPs.
3. Learn from how the PASF box works
The ‘People Also Search For’ feature brings up related terms to the query at hand. Have you wondered how it does this? Is it through Google's semantic system to understand search intent? If you thought so, you're right.
As seen above, Google aims to provide users with the answers they're seeking. And to do that, it makes sure to try to understand the intent behind a search. Hence, as a website owner, you need to learn from this.
Try to understand your visitors' intent. By doing so, you'll be able to predict how they will search for your brand and what keywords they might use. Then, just as Google provides users with results to satisfy their queries, provide your visitors with well-optimized and satisfying content that matches their intent.
Of course, you cannot use Google's semantic system for this. But simple keyword tools that help predict related questions might do the trick.
Keyword Tools for utilizing ‘People Also Search For’
As seen above, keyword research tools are essential for utilizing Google's PASF box. The following are some noteworthy keyword tools:
Search Console by Google. Google's very own search Console is an outstanding tool that provides webmasters with data to help improve their online presence on SERPs.
Keyword Planner by Google. Google's Keyword Planner is a popular research tool in today's SEO world. It offers users the average monthly search and tons of other data to aid their keyword research.
SEMrush. Make use of the SEMrush keyword tool to spy on the keywords of your competitors. It is an easy-to-use tool that requires no advanced technical know-how. If there's a downside, it'll be the cost. Nevertheless, it is a vital tool to have.
Keyword Explorer by Ahrefs. This is another awesome SEO tool that Ahrefs offer. It offers different features to give users a detailed report on each keyword.
The PASF box is here to stay!
For a decade, the PASF has passed through a lot of changes as seen in this article. Each time it disappears from SERPs, it returns better and more refined. And it seems that Google has finally perfected this feature. Why?
According to one research, the PASF results showed up for over 55 percent of the fifteen thousand desktop SERPs that were analyzed. Together with the amount of time it showed up for mobile SERPs (about 87 percent), we can draw one conclusion: the current PASF is going nowhere soon.
Instead, these figures will only keep increasing as Google works to make it better. Yes, for now, we can say that the ‘People Also Search For’ box is here to stay!
With that in mind, it's time to start utilizing it to your benefit. Ensure you make use of it in every accepted way possible to better your SERP rankings. After all, in the world of SEO, rankings are what matters most.