What is PAA and How It can EXPLODE Your Traffic
Have you ever seen this before?
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:
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:
- Put yourself in the head of your intended audience. What questions would they likely have after reading your initial answer? Anticipate and provide value.
- Write complete questions AND answers in your blogs and be sure to answer them completely and succinctly.
- 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.
- Use PLAIN LANGUAGE. Do not get too complicated. Break down your answer as if you were writing to a 5th grader.
- 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.