SEMrush has published a study that demonstrates the prominence of People Also Ask boxes in Google search engine results (SERPs) has increased radically since they were first tested in April 2015. Based on SEMrush Sensor data, the average percentage of SERPs with People Also Ask (PPA) box has grown to about 40-42% for both desktop and mobile.

The SEMrush study examined 1,000,000 keywords of US desktop results (random subset from the SEMrush US database). 

Some of the key findings include:

  • PAA boxes are present in almost half of all searches within our 1,000,000 keyword dataset and are continuing to grow.
  • 75% of the time a PAA result appears, it is within the top 3 results in Google, providing a good chance of high visibility.
  • Unlike featured snippets, it is possible to both appear in a PAA box and hold a standard organic ranking on page 1 of Google.
  • Question terms on average will generate PAA 86% of the time.
  • Google is mainly taking web text content for PAA results, with 48% of all PAA boxes being exclusively from text in paragraphs.
  • As with other types of rich results, brevity is key with paragraph results averaging only 41 words.
  • A PAA SEO strategy is applicable to almost all sectors.

The likelihood that a People Also Ask boxe appears in search results varies depending upon industry. From most likely to least likely, here’s SEMrush’s industry breakdown:

  • Computers & Electronics – 64.2% of searches triggered a PPA box
  • Arts & Entertainment – 64.1%
  • Travel – 61%
  • Sports – 55.1%
  • Science – 53.7%
  • Reference – 53%
  • Internet & Telecom – 47.6%
  • Finance – 47.6%
  • Jobs & Education – 46.3%
  • Law & Government – 45.4%
  • Pets & Animals – 44%
  • Business & Industrial – 43.1%
  • Games – 41.8%
  • Health – 39.2%
  • People & Society – 38.1%
  • Food & Drink – 37.9%
  • Beauty & Fitness – 36.2%
  • Boks & Literature – 35.8%
  • Autos & Vehicles – 34.6%
  • News – 34.4%
  • Hobbies & Leisure – 32.8%
  • Shopping – 30.9%
  • Home & Garden – 27.4%
  • Online Communities – 26.5%
  • Real Estate – 9.5%

Fascinating findings for anyone looking to optimize for People Also Ask visibility. The full report is well worth the read.

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