Google has begun testing a new feature in their SERPs. They now include a “people also searched for” section bellow an individual link in the SERPs. This becomes available when you click on a link and then hit ‘back’ to return to the SERP.
This new feature is similar to the traditional “people also ask” section added at the top of some SERPs.
The difference is that this new functionality is not restricted to the top of the page like the older version. It also only activates when you have hit ‘back’ from a search result. It seems like Google is trying to help people refine their search if it appears they have not found what they were looking for.
This is obviously good for searchers because Google may suggest a more direct search that will get users the results they are looking for, however it also has an unintended consequence for search marketers. The new results can be used as a form of keyword research to find other relevant long tail keywords for both SEO and PPC.
This update could also help Google refine user intent in their algorithm. By matching the user’s current search with a suggested search with known intent, Google could further refine their data and segment searchers with buying intent from those looking for a specific type of content such as video.
Currently the new search feature only shows on traditional search results, not video or other more recent types of search results.
If this particular feature is rolled out permanently, it could actually lower the value of certain keywords. These are fringe keywords or phrases that may not be as focused or well worded. If someone searches for a fringe phrase, clicks on a link and does not see what they are looking for, when they hit ‘back’, the new suggestions will refocus their search on a more specific and often more competitive search term.
It is hard to say whether this is a permanent change or just a test by Google. They are continually updating features and tools and while some last, others never even roll out beyond a few select users. We will continue to monitor this particular feature and keep you up to date on how it affects SEO.