SEO and Google’s “People Also” Features

Using Google as the go-to search engine is so commonplace that users now don’t even think twice about engaging new Google features to assist in getting the best search engine results page (Google SERP) outcomes. Added in 2018, Google’s search page now includes the People Also Search For Keywords and People Also Ask when initial search results don’t appear to be exactly what you need. So what are these new features and how do they work? Let’s look at them and discuss how they are important to websites and social media campaigns that utilize SEO strategies to increase user engagement.

SEO: The Basics of what Works (and Doesn’t)

One of the most basic SEO strategies is simply to tap into the keywords that customers or potential clients use in their searches. Website content should use these keywords and key phrases throughout the site’s content including in blog entries or articles as well as in meta tags, titles and subtitles as well as product descriptions. When a search occurs for one of the keywords or phrases, Google ranks the SERPs based partially on the quality and quantity of times the keyword or phrase appears on the website or in the search engine result. A high ranking, meaning the site appears at the top of the results pages, indicates that the Google bots believe that the keywords or phrases are used authentically and therefore place those results highest.

Sometimes businesses overuse keywords, placing them into descriptions or using them multiple times in a paragraph simply to have the words or phrases appear numerous times. This overuse is called “keyword stuffing.” But meaningful inclusion of these words and phrases, rather than stuffing them into content is important because egregiously repeated keywords or phrases within a site can be perceived by AI combing content. This keyword stuffing will actually have a negative impact on SERPs by making search results less visible to searchers by lowering a result’s ranking (the order it appears on the results page) for those sites suspected of putting too many in their content.

What is the People Also Search For Keywords feature?

What may be harder to do correctly for some businesses, however, is to determine exactly which keywords and phrases to use in their content. And Google’s People Also Search For Keywords (PASF) is a fantastic tool for keyword research to understand the collection of keywords and phrases that online searchers use when creating a query for a given topic. The PASF tool is a second-step offering that Google has created to help users find what they are looking for in their initial search and it appears in two stages.

Finding People Also Search For Keywords

1. A user initiates a search using a keyword or phrase and chooses a result to click on.

2. If that user then goes back to the initial results page after clicking on the first result, Google will now add a new boxed feature to the results page. This PASF box will now include words and phrases similar to the initial query but with variations on the search term to reflect what other users also searched for in similar queries.

How does the People Also Search For Keywords feature help Digital Marketers?

We all love it when someone does some of the grunt work for us. And the PASF Keywords feature is the result of Google’s algorithms connecting similar searches to yours and providing suggestions that are often paired with your search query. This feature is critical to digital marketing, Content Marketing and understanding which keywords will be the best ones to use on their own content. In order to use the PASF for your own site, follow these basic steps for every keyword or phrase you currently use.

  • Perform a query using a keyword or phrase known to be specific to your industry, topic or concept you want to promote
  • Select a result and open that page
  • Use the back arrow to return to the original search page
  • Scroll down to the PASF box and note the keywords and phrases suggested as a focus for your content ideas
  • Use the suggested words and phrases meaningfully throughout your content
  • Capture more clicks on your content with this wider net of keyword and phrase usage

What is the People Also Ask feature?

Similar to the People Also Search For results box, Google also provides search results support for questions that searchers in addition to PASF’s Keyword box.

Finding the People Also Ask Feature

The People Also Ask or PAA is a Google SERP feature that answers relevant questions related to the user’s search query and is located further down the page from the People Also Search For Keywords box and also appears after an initial search, click on a result and use the back button to return to the initial search results page. The PAA will be encased in a box and will include a grouping of short questions similar to the initial query, using the keywords in the initial query or using related keywords or phrases in a connected question.

Google has compiled this list of commonly asked questions related to the initial query question to aid in searches for the topic since sometimes searchers don’t know exactly what to ask for to find what they need. The results in the PAA box may be related to the search but also may take the content in a completely different direction, as well, providing for errors like word choice, misspellings or similar sounding words, brands or phrases.

How does the People Also Ask feature help Digital Marketers?

Digital marketing is the practice of using digital channels to reach potential customers. This kind of marketing uses different platforms to capture customers, introduce customers to a product or service and help them understand how a company or brand solves a problem. Marketing through digital channels involves providing enough information to snag the potential customer’s attention but it doesn’t always provide all the answers to their questions or concerns about the brand, service or product. And sometimes customers don’t even know the right questions to ask to find out what they need to know, so Google’s PAA feature gives them similarly asked questions, questions that other searchers were looking for or questions about the main topic or concept that could be helpful. Digital marketers can use the questions in the PAA feature to:

  • Discover what consumers are seeking answers for
  • Formulate content around each or some of the FAA questions
  • Include the FAA questions in meaningful ways in their content
  • Make sure that their content answers any/all of the FAA questions that are related to their intended business focus
  • Use new keywords or phrases that may arise in the FAA feature in authentic ways in their content

Why are People Also Search For Keywords & People Also Ask Important for SEO?

Not only can these Google search additions help your business discover industry key ideas, words and searchable phrases to help you further focus your marketing, but they also support other aspects of SEO strategizing.

1. PASF and PAA can uncover competitors. Not only can new, similar or related products pop up as PAA questions but they can also reveal company names or other critical business information that can help guide and hone a marketing strategy.

2. Once a PASF or PAA is clicked on, a brief answer or even a link will appear. These can each be used to formulate ways to drive organic traffic to your site or marketing plan.

3. The People Also Ask feature will respond to many “What are. . .” type queries with Google’s shortlist answer that includes three businesses that answer that question. Providing enough quality SEO content with the related keywords can land your business in this coveted spot that not only provides a boost in customer awareness but also shows up in Google Business Profile Insights.

4. By following SERP content as well as People Also Search For Keywords and People Also Ask questions and top business results, you can develop an SEO strategy to capture new traffic by staying on top of trends and including plenty of keyword-rich content.

5. You can create content directly related to the PAA questions related to your content needs, allowing your business to become a market knowledge base for consumers. When a business develops appropriate questions and answers for consumers, credibility increases and consumers can learn to tap into this growing and relevant industry source.

6. Businesses can use a variety of content mediums to land on the PAA page as well as return more results in the PASF Keyword list of suggestions. Videos, photos and written content all contribute to high rankings on SERPs and should be a part of a robust SEO strategy.


By ‘optimizing’ for PAA boxes can sometimes be worthwhile for high traffic or high-value pages. If you need help adding this content to your website or improving your SEO in other ways, please contact SEO North. We are experts in helping businesses just like yours increase their web traffic and sales through effective digital marketing strategies.


  • How do you get featured in People also ask?
  • What is a PAA question in SEO?

Published on: 2022-07-26
Updated on: 2023-03-27

Avatar for Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is the SEO Director at SEO North, a company that provides Search Engine Optimization services. As an SEO Professional, Isaac has considerable expertise in On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO, which gives him a leg up against the competition.