People Also Ask - An Examination of the Precursor to AI Overviews

AI Overviews are an attempt by Google to anticipate what users are actually asking for with their queries and to answer it with AI-combined content. Google’s secondary goal is to keep them on the page by helping them drill down with dynamically produced AI content from subsequent queries.

There’s a precursor to that functionality on Google; just remove the AI content element and replace it with static content from around the web, and you’re describing “People Also Ask.”

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Let’s do a little refresher on that SERP feature. My hunch is that it’ll help you get some perspective on the way to approach how you’re integrating AI Overviews into your SEO strategy.


What is “People Also Ask”?

Google's "People Also Ask” (PAA) tries to anticipate what related questions you might have after your initial search and directly provides answers for them. It's like a mini-FAQ section based on what other users commonly ask about that topic.



From a user perspective, it's effective. PAA saves you time and clicks by offering relevant and concise answers to your follow-up questions. Websites with content that addresses PAA questions can get featured in the results, increasing their SERP visibility.


How should you strategize to show up in PAA listings?

Like AI Overviews, PAA is an algorithm layered on top of the broader Google search algorithm. Nobody knows exactly how to crack the code, but this approach can drastically improve your chances:

First, analyze existing PAA questions, answers, and content structure (e.g. tables, lists, bullets) to see what is currently populating.

Next, research relevant keywords and long-tail question-based terms that you can optimize for in your content. 

Once you have your research finished, craft high-quality, helpful content that provides short answers upfront. Align your answers with the structure that your analysis showed to be effective, and use clear header and subheading breakdowns in your content. Make sure your images are optimized, and include relevant schema markup, such as article or FAQ markup.

The benefits of getting included in PAA listings are similar to those of landing in the regular SERP: increased organic traffic, click-through rates, and SERP visibility.

How can you use PAA to refine your SEO strategy?

Using PAA as a research tool is a great way to start ideating high-traffic content ideas related to a client industry. It is also an excellent strategy for improving SERP visibility for high-performing existing content.

Will AI Overviews render PAA moot?

That might happen eventually, but I don’t see it happening right away. I believe that strategies will need to be adjusted to capture both PAA and generated AI Overviews with a focus more on topics, building trust and authority, and specificity.

At JDM, our perspective is that your approach to AI Overviews should reflect most of the best practices we’re already using in our SEO campaigns – and PAA is one very relevant facet of those campaigns.

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