People Also Search For (PASF) vs People Also Ask (PAA)


If you’re passionate about SEO or simply want to learn more about different SERP (search engine results pages) features – this article is for you.

Today we’ll talk about 2 different Google SERP features:

  1. People Also Search For (PASF)
  2. People Also Ask (PAA)

These two options might sound similar and can sometimes generate confusion. Hence, I will explain what’s the difference and how to optimize your website for both.

What is People Also Search For (PASF)?

People Also Search For (PASF) is a search option that is shown when you click on a search result and come back to the search results page right away.

Alternatively, it’s shown when you open a search result in a new tab and close it immediately.

people also search for serp

In this way, Google tries to suggest you alternative/related search queries, assuming that you didn’t find what you were looking for and got back to initial search results.

How to optimize your pages for PASF

Here are a few suggestions that will help you get better changes to rank for PASF in Google search results.

  1. Analyze PASF – search for desired keyword, open a few new tabs and immediately close them. Analyze the PASF listings. Check the top performing pages and try to replicate their structure.
  2. Improve content – update your content and make it more comprehensive and trustful. Also, your page’s rank should be high, so it can compete with competing pages. Make sure you use appropriate markup: headings, lists, paragraphs, etc.
  3. Search intent – match your content to search intent. This means that your content should satisfy the search intent in the best possible way. Ask yourself: what was the purpose of this search? What is the user trying to accomplish? Create content that will help users get the info they actually need.

What is People Also Ask (PAA)?

People Also Ask (PAA) is a dynamic search option which represents a list of question with related answers. The answer appears when you expand any item and a list of new similar questions automatically appear below the main box.

All these questions are related to your initial search query and the PAA box can appear in different locations of the SERP. It usually consists of 4-5 or more answers.

people also ask serp

If you expand any of the questions, you’ll get a few more answers below the PAA box. In this way, you can generate a huge number of questions/answers in your search results. Just try it for yourself! These results are never ending :).

expanded paa box serp

Expanded PAA items can trigger both regular snippets and featured snippets. Read more about featured snippets here. Sometimes, PAA can trigger video results.

How to optimize your pages for PAA?

Here are a few suggestions that will help you get better changes to rank for PAA in Google search results.

  1. Analyze PAA – search for desired keyword and see what questions are displayed in search results. Analyze all PAA items. Try to replicate the structure of pages that rank in PAA box.
  2. Optimize content – update your content to include relevant questions and answers. Use headings (H1…H6) and structure your content using appropriate markup: paragraphs, lists, tables, etc.
  3. Use schema markup – although this will not directly impact your ranking, it can definitely help Google better understand your content. You can use some of the following schema types: Question, HowTo, QAPage, FAQPage.

People Also Search For (PASF) or People Also Ask (PAA)?

There is no reason you should optimize your web pages for one or another. The main goal of this article is to help you understand the difference between these and share tricks on how to optimize your content for both search options.

Ultimately, you should focus on providing more quality and value in your content, so that users can find what they are looking for.

Let me know if you have questions in the comments below.

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