What is PAA and How It can EXPLODE Your Traffic

Last Update: June 10, 2019

Have you ever seen this before?

Or This?

They call these "People Also Ask" or PAA.

MOZ did a study recently where nightly, they analyze what appears on 10,000 Google Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs (SERPs are what appear when you perform a Google search) and what they found was amazing.

Of the 10,000 searches conducted, 86% of them had a "Related Questions" (or PAA) section.

To a blogger, from the surface, that can seem like a scary thought.

  • #1. The more Google SERP features that continue to pop-up, the FARTHER organic results down on the first page.
  • #2. Another scary thought is that if Google keeps giving people the answer to these questions on the SERPs there is no reason for them to click through to the site.

These changes have caused some to give up on blogging. Declaring that Google is KILLING blogging.

Honestly, that thinking is an easy sell. Just give up on your hopes and dreams because "Big, Bad Google" hates you.

But we business owners are a weird bunch. You have to be a little crazy to do what we do.

But Risk = Rewards.

If I jumped and declared bloody murder everytime something new came along that was going to kill blogging or online business as we know it..... I'd be really tired of jumping.

PAA is no different. Blogging is not dead or dying and instead screaming "woe is me" let's work on a solution.

What Google Wants...

Let's analyze what Google wants.

They want to provide people answers to their question as quickly and as efficiently as possible for the sole purpose of getting that searcher to come back and use Google again and again.

If Google did not provide GOOD and RELIABLE answers, do you think people would continue using them? NOPE!

So how can you and I work with that knowing what Google wants?

We work with it by providing exactly what Google wants and as a result, Google will handsomely reward you.

Check out the Screenshot below:

Notice how in the screenshot, even though this insanely large SERP feature is taking up 3/4 of Page 1, when you click the question... a blog STILL shows up answering the question.

Now someone casually looking for a quick answer may take what the snippet offers and go with that... but someone that is REALLY interested in making a good cup of tea, would be drawn to click and read up a little bit more about the process.

My point here is that these Google SERP Features WILL take traffic away from your site. BUT the traffic that does show up, will be a more targeted prospect.

Does it hurt ad revenue? Yes... because there will be fewer page views. But in my opinion, ad revenue should not be your primary source of income anyway.

Now, the people that land on your site are more likely to buy because they are truly interested in what you are offering.

How PAA Can Boost Traffic/Income

Take a look at yet another screenshot:

Notice how the first question in the PAA section is answered by a page that does not even appear organically on the first page!

That is huge information.

UsaCargoTrailerSales.com is getting eyeballs, building a brand, and getting some clicks for a search term they do not even come close to ranking for.

But why did they rank? Because they provided an excellent answer to the search query that no one (at least not in Google's eyes) could provide.

This reminds me of how YouTube works. On my channel, over 70% of the total views come from "Suggested Video" meaning, most of my views are not coming from ranking in search.

I believe that traditional Google search is trying to do the same thing. Provide a better result, even if it comes from a site that does not have the same authority that the site that is ranking may have.

This is opportunity and a massive shot in the arm for blogging because now, in theory, anyone can rank for anything as long as they provide a clear and concise answer to common questions in your niche.

So how to get your site into PAA?

Armed with this new information, we can now steal traffic from the big guys.

But to get in there is another issue... Sometimes, it can appear Google is randomly placing sites there, but they are not.

Do these 3 things when writing a post:

  1. Put yourself in the head of your intended audience. What questions would they likely have after reading your initial answer? Anticipate and provide value.
  2. Write complete questions AND answers in your blogs and be sure to answer them completely and succinctly.
  3. Avoid sale-sy language. Meaning stop trying to push people to buy or click a link. Lead with value and supply a sufficient answer to the question before you ask for something in return.
  4. Use PLAIN LANGUAGE. Do not get too complicated. Break down your answer as if you were writing to a 5th grader.
  5. Be Transparent. I have seen often that bloggers will leave out key information in order to make a product look better. Avoid this practice, because with PAA, even if you were to outrank websites, another lesser-known website that is providing the juicy details can leap frog you in the SERP features.

So what you should do...

PAA and SERP features are not going away anytime soon. If anything, it may get worse.

With the rise of mobile search and voice assistants, Google now wants the simplest form of the answer possible to satisfy search intent.

You need to do the same.

Before you target a keyword phrase, study the SERPs and see what is ranking and try to figure out why. Train yourself to use common sense

Are the sites and SERP features that are ranking a TRULY adequate and satisfactory response? Can you do better? If so, go for it REGARDLESS of the search traffic. Regardless of what any keyword research tool says...

The truth to the matter is the space on the first page of Google is experiencing a bad case of significant shrinkage, but that does not mean that we as bloggers are down and out. We just need to give Google what it wants.

In most cases, what Google wants is coincides with what is best for searchers.

91% of content on the web is not SEO'd properly. Just by learning the rules here at WA you are already in the small 10% that know what they are doing when we blog.

That is a powerful weapon and one that many just leave on the table.

So adjust, bend, morph, whatever you need to do to provide the best possible response to questions that those in your niche as asking.

As long as you think analyze search intent first, you will always provide what Google needs to satisfy its customers, which means you get what you want in massive loads of traffic to your site.

Take Control,

Chris Myles

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kbh924 Premium
Thanks so much for this post Chris! I've clicked on those PAAs numerous times, so this all makes sense. I've always been a believer that we have to keep our eyes on the road ahead so we can be ready for the curves and turns. Otherwise we get left behind. Karen
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jamesbam56 Premium
Great article Chris. I'm trying to do what you suggest now. Just did my 3rd post and even after I put it through spell check and tweek it a few times, after I posted it, still wasn't completely satisfied by the way it read. But I'm sure I will get better the more I do it. Please feel free to check out my site at type2andyou.siterubix.com. Would appreciate any feedback that you can give me to make my content better. Thanks.
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JKulk1 Premium
That's an incredible amount if information Chris. I have no doubt that we will continually have to adjust our methods just like Google changes there's. I also have no doubt that the incredible experts we have at WA will continuously inform us as to the best means to use to leaverage these changes to our benefit. Jim
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derekmarshal Premium
Brilliant Chris!

Do you actually get more traffic because of being in PAA?.
And how do you actually know that (if there is a way of telling)?

Personally, I, my search habits have changed... I am ...Google's little bitch..I'm spending way longer on Google and much less I am actually clicking over to sites - hey I got my info thanks to PAA..

Before I was a search and go vist a site read it..if the site was good end up interacting with it.

Thanks again for the tips :-)
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BenjisDad Premium
Hey Derek!
Yes, you totally get more traffic using PAA. PAA gets you on the front page even if your site itself is on page 10.

I have analytics shows people clicking through to my site even through I dont' 'rank' for those keywords and the reason being is that I won the snippet or got into the PAA.

If anything, this would decrease traffic to sites that are ranking based on sheer authority and from good content. It def gives the little guy a chance to leapfrog big names simply because they were more specific in their answers.

And it is true that a lot of people will not click through because the answer is right there.. but not everyone is like that. some do click through, as evidenced by numbers I have seen in my analytics and search console.
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derekmarshal Premium
Awesome Chris.

Thank you kindly for the detailed reply and explanation. Really appreciated :-)
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DBlanchard Premium
This is exactly what happened to me without even knowing it at the time. Just by being thorough in my articles and by updating older ones.

You have just confirmed what I was thinking was happening. PAA is now part of my blogging mindset!

Thanks, Chris, this was very enlightening!
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BenjisDad Premium
quality over quantity
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Jason T Premium
Wow! I'm sure Bing and Yahoo will soon follow. When I check my site rankings lately I notice I am position one Page one on Bing and Yahoo, but Google has me in position 23 or 43.

I almost didn't click on this blog and when I did I almost didn't read it all the way through. Honestly I felt I was wasting my time but man was I wrong.
This information is a game changer and it also explains why my traffic has decreased.

No longer are the days of creating a catchy keyword intro and putting your CTA as close to the beginning of your blog as you can without sounding pushy.

I carefully design my Blogs with my CTA ready to insert at what I feel to be the right moment.

This information changes everything. Bless you for bringing this to our attention.

Thank You

Jason
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BenjisDad Premium
Google is usualy the leader in this kidn of stuff, so wouldnt surprise me either.

glad you took the time to read, Jason
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lakbar12 Premium
Interesting! Yes, I have seen those questions in SERP and I have actually done both, just read the short snippet because I was in a hurry. Then've also clicked on the snippet and went to the website. So, I agree the snippets are helpful either way it goes.

Those snippets are the ones that taught me to write more questions in my articles. I had no idea if it would work but, how would I if didn't risk it.

Anyhow, thank you, for sharing this valuable information...it has helped out a lot.
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BenjisDad Premium
it does Lakisha... works well!
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Sam-Oa Premium
I believe that google will always change the rules of the game. such changes may not necessary be targeted at us bloggers. They may just only be strengthening the service they offer to the public, to improve relevance and user experience. I believe that this is how longevity in business is achieved. By giving the people exactly what they need and when they need it. I constantly observe trends versus the WA training and i align my strategies and actions accordingly.

Chris, This is a great and timely post for me, as i happen to just be carrying out a case study of what i learned in a course video made by Kyle. This topic lines up perfectly for me. Thanks for taking the time off a busy schedule to do this.

greatly appreciated.
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BenjisDad Premium
the training here outlasts google updates, so just serve what the customers want and yuo will be fiine.
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magistudios Premium
Great post Chris!

Another strategy I've noticed that helps trigger PAA & Knowledge graphs is having lists & tables within your posts. See attached.

Also..
From what I can gather, you want to change the motor oil in your vehicle with chopsticks while enjoying a cup of tea so you can safely tow your 6x12 trailer to head up to the lake and swim in some cold water. lol

Well done sir.
Regards,
Jay
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TimMcKinlay Premium
lol
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BenjisDad Premium
i have a very eclectic tastes in my search results... or i just use the search results that help prove my point, lol
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Ropesa Premium
Lol 😂
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SowAndReap Premium
I agree that this isn't going away soon and the tips given were excellent, thanks!

I also see that if you click on any of these PAA results without clicking a link, more PAA is added.

If you think about it... I don't want to insult people, but going to the next page might start to get too much, Lol!

So, with more PAA added until someone either leaves or clicks a link, people will not go to the next page because they know that Google is going to show the best results through PAA.

Again, thanks for sharing great content and advice!
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BenjisDad Premium
anytime evelyn
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TDomena Premium
I agree we shouldn't panic about updates. Google is going to continue testing these things, and we can't expect to rely on them, social media platforms, or anyone else (epecially not solely their free stuff). It's up to us to work beyond creating content and exploring free methods, and get into real relationship building and scale our marketing channels anyway. The internet should be a tool for us; not a crutch.
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Brenda63 Premium
Agree with you Tiffany, you said it exactly.
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BenjisDad Premium
its all in perspective. i cant wait to see yuor site blow up
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TDomena Premium
Thanks Chris!
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Brenda63 Premium
Chris, this looks hard. I read that also and read Neil Patel, he stated that too many bloggers and many are trying to compete for the same thing. Seems to be hard to do PAA- looks like its a lot of work. I agree that many sites are not SEO'ed properly. The training will need to be updated because for review sites it asks questions. Most of the PAA SERPS are related to how to do something so for a product review there isn't a how to do something, it's more of facts about a program or a product. So how would that fit into that along with the snippets? Did they remove the snippets?
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BenjisDad Premium
Patel is great. But he's way off. I think he's being a little sensational. Don't buy it. The training here works great regardless of niche
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Swangirl Premium
Hi Brenda,

I do many "How To..." posts instead of regular reviews. They are great converters since people are there looking for very specific solutions to their problems.

For example, I have a post on how to clean up cat pee in carpet...it has been a featured snippet with a list of steps for quite a while now. Instead of doing a "review" of a cleaning product, I write a how to instead. I have links in that post for enzymatic cleaners as well as borax and black lights (to see where the stains are).

Jessica
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Brenda63 Premium
Jessica, my niche will be "MMO" of online MMO programs but seems oversaturated to many WA members promoting the same thing, so I gotta figure out my unique selling proposition set my blog different from the masses. Thanks, gotta figure out the how-to articles, not sure how that will fit.
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Swangirl Premium
Oh yes. I see what you mean. That would be really hard for MMO!
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Brenda63 Premium
I will figure it out. I am a skilled researcher. I will scour for something to write about and connect it to the MMO niche. If Jerry H and Nathaniel figured it out and see where they are now, so can I.
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BenjisDad Premium
as saturated as it may seem, there is some cracks yuo can take advantage of that even keyword research tools miss. use the alphabet technique.
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Brenda63 Premium
Chris, I like the alphabet soup technique. Definitely got that down pat from the trainings.
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Swangirl Premium
Yes, I am sure you will!
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DeniseAS Premium
HI Chris, thank you for this interesting blog, I am a user of these pop up questions, and quite frankly when I do I am in a hurry and probably would not have gone into a blog anyhow. Seeing how to use them to our advantages as bloggers is eye opening, and I will certainly try to put this into practice. This internet world is fluid and we have to continually swim or sink.
Have a great day
Denise.
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BenjisDad Premium
take lemons and make lemonade Avril
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BobMargroff Premium
Hey Chris, it's funny how Christina (Cld111) wrote a quick blog about the PAA. I was noticing how the answers were given in the snippet as you mentioned.

And now, here you are writing a blog about how to use them specifically in our posts. It is amazing how we are able to learn from each other here.

Thanks for this post. I wish you the best!

Bob M
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cld111 Premium
I wish that were me that wrote that, but sadly, it was not. I wish I were as smart as Chris! lol I am just learning about these PAAs myself.

I use them all the time, but I've never thought about how they can be incorporated into our blog to give us a better chance to get in there.

Good stuff!

- Christina
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BobMargroff Premium
You're still the first person I've seen say anything about them...Chris gave us some specifics...it's all good.

We are all learning either way.
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BenjisDad Premium
haha, great minds i guess, i didnt even see hers.
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cld111 Premium
No, no, your mind is greater. You didn't see it because I didn't write it. Or I'm going insane. lol

- Christina
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cld111 Premium
Maybe it was something different (or someone different) because I didn't write about this?

But it's definitely great to know. Thank you, Chris!

- Christina
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BobMargroff Premium
LOL! You are right Christina...I had something going on in my head at the time when I first responded to Chris. Maybe I was just tired or woke up from a short nap before going to church...lol.

You didn't write about the PAA's, you were writing about Google Analytics results. My bad...lol.
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cld111 Premium
All good! I was starting to think I did write something but maybe had a little too much wine at the time. lol

- Christina
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JMatonge1 Premium
Hey Chris,
You are always in a motivational mood. Thank you for sharing.
Joseph
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BenjisDad Premium
thnsk Joseph
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FOta Premium
Very valuable information Chris. Thanks for the heads up.
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BenjisDad Premium
anytie Fred, thanks man
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Internetgranny Premium
Great explanation, thank you.
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BenjisDad Premium
no problem Isabella
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Ropesa Premium
Very helpful, thank you.
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BenjisDad Premium
anytime Ropesa
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RosanaHart Premium
Nice of you to solve a problem I hadn't even realized that I had!
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BenjisDad Premium
haha... nice.
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Zarina Premium
Honestly, I think PAA is impressive.

At first I had a fear that they would take away traffic but you're right they actually bring in an even more TARGETED audience who are not just looking for superficial answers.

In my example, I have a great review of the product that ranks well with the year in it but doesn't rank without the year. Since the intro of PAA, I couldn't understand why I'm getting so many clicks with just a model number, even without the brand name!

It turned out that my site was listed in one of those PAA queries "is ___ still good right now, in 2019" or something like that.

I haven't seen a lot of sales of that particular product though, for some reason, but it did increase the # of traffic to that particular article and had an overall exposure.

I also try to use those PAA searches as LSI keywords in some of my articles.

Thanks for your post, Chris! Lots of valuable content from you!

P.S. I absolutely loved your YouTube channel.
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BenjisDad Premium
loved? as in past tense? lol
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Zarina Premium
LOL, English is my second language, I still make simple mistakes 🤣 Loved and still do love! ;)
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Dedo52 Premium
Thanks for that Chris,

As always your posts are so helpful and timely. Just like you stated, we should never forget that our main purpose is to solve problems for people who are searching for solutions.
I've seen so many sites, that disregard this little nugget of truth.
So thanks again for your insights Chris.

Cordially
Dedo
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BenjisDad Premium
Thansk David. anytime
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FKelso Premium
Hi, Chris! Gee, you have a name...nicetameetcha.

Thanks for this informative post. You've given us good information and a way to look at our content to see if it meets the requirement of providing a simple complete explanation. I'll do my best.
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BenjisDad Premium
haha... yeha, at least you didnt call me Benji, lol
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Joy3 Premium
Good info. Thanks
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BenjisDad Premium
anytime Joy
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AffMktgRt Premium
Chris,

Thank you for sharing this with us, it iis greatly appreciated.

I will take the time to read it in depth and try to implement it.

Blessings!
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BenjisDad Premium
thanks Gabriel. glad you enjoyed it!
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