Google SERPs come with a makeover: a new “People also search for” box


Off late we have seen a few changes in the style Google presents its SRL. Up until the beginning of 2018, users could see the “people also search for” options in the middle of each SERP. Although the quality and logic of suggestions has changed little, their positions have changed noticeably. Right now, they are responding to click-backs, and they seem to be quite dynamic with respect to positions. The suggestion section seems to respond to click-backs from the unsatisfactory link.

Why are the “people also search for” box such a big deal?

This triggered an essential discussion among the regulars of WebMasterWorld on February 14. Although this is NOT a new feature, its ability to move around the SERPs is new, and it indicates a substantial change in the Google algorithm. It appears with the result you click and bounce back. For example – if you click the first result (even in the presence of the Answer Box), and then bounce back after 5 seconds, you will notice the “People also search for” options appearing under the first result. If you do the same with the third result, you will not see the suggestions appear under the first result, but the third results next. Your actions are responsible for the position of the feature. Google has taken one step forward in optimizing the user experience by giving the power of intuitive mobility to the suggestions feature.

They are not replacing any current features from the Google SEO

The suggestions that used to appear at the bottom of each Google SERP are still present when you run your first search as well as when you bounce back from the listed websites. This is the same as before. The same rich list of phrases that inspired LSI keywords for the content creators and webmasters. The new “people also search” box that Google has launched does not affect the suggestions that appear at the bottom of the page in any way.

Testing of this new feature started as far back as November 2017, and finally, the regular users got to experience it in the second week of February 2018. The content of the box is relevant to the URL you select. Therefore, the content can vary a little if the two results you visit are not very similar to each other. However, some users are also reporting an interesting result where the box is not exactly replacing the old “People also ask” section. This has made the NJ SEO agency wonder if that is at all a replacement feature or just another addition to a perfectly functioning SERP. Moreover, the suggestions vary drastically between the first few ranks and the last ones on the same page. The suggestions for the last result usually contain terms that are more generic or are keyword phrases.

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How are Google users reacting to these changes?

Although Google has recently announced its decision to launch mobile first indexing with full gusto within the next few weeks, this additional feature update is true for both mobile and desktop users. This is not as huge or noticeable as the Featured Snippet update from Google. Nonetheless, adding 4 or more suggestions (URLs) to a related link in the front page of the search results is bound to affect the CTR of the originally generated SRL and the “new” links that feature in the box. This addition is too new for most SEO experts and digital agencies.

There are not a lot of facts or stats regarding the changes in organic traffic this addition is causing. However, there is a lot of buzz on almost all webmaster forums across the world.

For most mobile users, this is coming as a disruptive new change in the Google SERP. In simpler words, multiple mobile users across the globe have dubbed the People also ask box as nothing short of annoying. It is distracting on almost all mobile devices.

However, there are quite a sizable number of users who find the new layout much more organized. There is no way to find out just yet why Google introduced such a big change in the SERP design or why they are using both “People also ask” sections in the same search result page sometimes. For now, we just know that webmasters are holding their breath for another massive update Google is about to roll out, that will change the geography of SEM and SEO for good.


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