Since July 5th 2022, three data providers – RankRanger, Semrush & seoClarity – confirmed what many had been seeing during the week. Google’s search refinement and expansion tool, ‘PAA’ or ‘People Also Ask’ has seen almost a 50% reduction in appearances in the Google SERPs.

‘People Also Ask’ is a search feature within Google that outlines additional queries or questions people would enter into their Google Search. Those questions can then be further expanded to show more questions and answers to those questions. Below is an example of how the ‘PAA’ is visualised in Google SERP:

[Source: Search Engine Land]

The data providers have confirmed that the ‘People Also Ask’ feature is less likely to show, specifically in the desktop Google SERP, compared to previous weeks. They further confirmed a significant drop for the ‘PAA’ box last week on Google.

‘People Also Ask’ normally shows up for about 60% of all queries that were tracked but now they only show up for about 30% of all queries, which is equivalent to a 30 point drop and a huge reduction in the search feature.

Below is an example from the data providers on the 30 point drop in the ‘People Also Ask’ feature in the Google SERP:

[Source: RankRanger]

As seen above, The data from RankRanger outlines that from June 10th till July 4th, there was a steady trend of around 60% in appearances of the PAA feature in the Google SERP, until July 6th where it unexpectedly dropped to just below 30%.

[Source: Semrush]

The data above from Semrush highlights the trend of around 65% average appearances of the PAA feature in the Google SERP dropping to just below 30% average appearances.

seoClarity did not provide a visual representation of the above mentioned drop but clarified from their sources that they saw almost a 50% decline in PAA feature appearances in the Google SERP.

Why do we care?

SEOs and SEMs love the ‘People Also Ask’ as it’s a useful search refinement & expansion tool for users and further allows marketers to use it for keyword generation ideas. The search feature tool also allows marketers to create new content for which they can potentially rank and show up in the featured snippets section of the Google search results.

The reduction of the ‘People Also Ask’ feature could have an adverse effect on search rankings for many businesses and websites, and can impact the volume of traffic and leads in the coming weeks if your business is one that ranks quite prominently in the PAA search feature.

It is unclear if this reduction of the ‘People Also Ask’ feature is a Google bug or if it is the start of the phasing out process. But nothing is concrete until we hear an official story from Google.

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