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“People Also Ask” Becoming Increasingly Important in Google Searches

Insurance agencies around the globe rely on search engine optimization (SEO) to improve online visibility. A fundamental component of insurance SEO strategy is that of anticipating the types of search queries a customer will have when conducting online searches. Google has made the process of anticipating customer interests with their “People Also Ask” box, which is found on search engine results pages (SERPs). “People Also Ask” has gained in importance recently, with Google adding features and functionality on services beyond SERPs. To get the most out of this feature, digital marketers must understand that incorporating “People Also Ask” raises brand awareness.

What is “People Also Ask”?

First introduced in 2015 by search engine giant Google, “People Also Ask” is a box that appears on many search results pages. In the box, related questions to a given search query are presented, helping Google users further their discovery of knowledge about a topic of interest. In its earliest iterations, “People Also Ask” (PAA) appeared sporadically; today, it is estimated that 40% or more of all SERPs contain the feature.

As an example, the search query “affordable homeowners insurance near me” returns a list of results and the following entries in the PAA box:

  • Who has the cheapest home insurance?
  • Who has the best and most affordable homeowners insurance?
  • What is the average monthly cost for homeowners insurance?
  • How much should I be paying for homeowners insurance?

Google uses context clues in the initial search query to compile additional questions asked by users as well as analyzing user intent with sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The questions appearing in the PAA box have powerful ramifications for insurance SEO strategy.

Why is “People Also Ask” Important?

Digital marketers are continually looking for ways to improve online visibility for the companies and brands they work with. In the insurance market, improved search visibility translates directly into increased website traffic and conversion (turning site visitors into customers). PAA also helps brand building endeavors. Insurance agencies must control their brands, and by focusing on brand messaging, PAA can help facilitate the sharing of knowledge with search users. Recent developments in Google’s PAA have unlocked the potential of brand messaging and awareness, giving insurance SEO strategy a boost in the process.

Changes to “People Also Ask”

Google has recognized the value of PAA since its introduction in 2015. Initially, PAAs appeared on a fraction of SERPs, then slowly increased to today’s levels of 40-50% (higher on mobile search results). Now, however, Google has added PAAs to a feature called Knowledge Panels, which is an extension of the search engine’s Knowledge Graph. Knowledge Panels are boxes in SERPs that appear when a user searches for a specific entity, such as a person, organization, company, or event. The boxes display factual information about that entity, including:

  • A brief overview of the entity
  • Name(s) of principal executives
  • Contact information
  • Subsidiary companies associated with the entity
  • Stock price
  • Links to social media profiles

Google compiles this information from Wikipedia entries as well as many other online sources. Insurance businesses do not need a Wikipedia profile to get a Knowledge Panel; the key is to demonstrate authority across web platforms. By leveraging the Google Knowledge Graph and by adding trustworthy information about the company to sites like LinkedIn, Crunchbase, and news outlets, Google may grant a Knowledge Panel to your insurance entity.

Google’s internal changes to the Knowledge Panel are not clearly understood, but the expansion of this service with PAAs has digital marketers scrambling to leverage it. In September 2020, only about 1% of Knowledge Panels displayed PAAs; by the end of the year, about 9% were displaying them.

Getting the Most from “People Also Ask”

One of the dominant features of a robust insurance SEO strategy is that of answering customer questions. Presenting information about a company’s products and services goes a long way toward answering questions, but there is more that can be done. “People Also Ask” provides clues.

To get the most out of PAA, try to secure a Knowledge Panel using the tips above. This improves brand messaging and awareness. Next, use the questions posed by the PAA to develop content aimed at answering user queries. In many ways, PAA handles the anticipatory discovery for you by presenting questions that you (and the search user) may not have even had when they began their information journey. Try different search queries and make note of the questions that appear in PAAs. Web content can then be created that answers questions, helping cement your trustworthiness and authority in the Google search algorithm. These questions are a goldmine of opportunity for insurance SEO strategy, allowing your insurance firm to present the details site visitors need to make informed purchasing decisions.

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