Many SEOs and marketers are familiar with Quora, but for the uninitiated, Quora is an online question and answer community. Similar to the likes of Yahoo! Answers and Answers.com, but different in many ways. Quora is built around a social model with an open question and answer format. Industry professionals or experts can answer questions posed by regular Joe’s, or the other way around. You can follow individuals, groups, communities, questions and topics.
If you can think of a topic, it’s most likely already on Quora. There are industry leaders and experts in nearly every niche imaginable, from Web Development, SEO, venture capitalists, sports, food, crafts and more. Quora also provides a blogging platform that I won’t get into much, but I thought I would mention it.
Quora in SEO terms
Quora provides no-follow links. Now, before you go running for the hills and right off Quora altogether, there is much more to consider.
One thing Quora is good at is generating traffic to your site. Even though any links in Quora to your sites will be no-follow, it doesn’t mean you can’t get value out of them. If you could get a link to your blog post or your site in front of hundreds or thousands of pairs of eyes daily, you could imagine the potential traffic you could see, even at relatively low CTRs (click through rates).
In order to take full advantage of this, make sure that you have your profile fully filled out, with links to your personal sites and blogs. For even more visibility, place a link to your site in your “short bio” which will be displayed next to your name every time you post or answer a question.
Lets start by following some topics in your niche. After your logged into Quora, use the search function at the top of the page to find some relevant topics, questions or blogs.
Go ahead and follow the topic if it interests you or if it’s important to your niche. Keep an eye on how many followers the topic has. The more followers, the more sets of potential eyes you could get your links in front of. Follow some questions, browse related topics, and broaden your influence.
Once you have a good base, you can start answering questions. Find a question or hot topic that is related to your niche, and provide an excellent answer. Remember to cite relevant sources, especially your own. The quality of your answer will increase your CTR, especially if you reference a blog post you wrote on the topic in your answer. The better your answer, the more votes it will receive, and the more votes you receive, the higher your answer will rank, and the more people that will see your answer and take you seriously. It’s not difficult or out of the question to get your responses in front of thousands of people in a very short period of time.
Finding unanswered questions
Another great way to get yourself out there is to answer previously unanswered questions, or questions that don’t have a complete answer yet. Make sure you are following all the relevant topics to your niche, and head to the Quora home page. On the right side, under your profile picture, click on Unanswered questions.
Many times, a question is relatively easy to answer, and getting your answer in first will get you lots of votes, especially if the question is popular or trending. It’s sort of an unwritten rule to not duplicate another authors answer to a question, so often times answering a question first is the most important factor.
Quality answers can lead to links
By giving quality answers to popular questions and topics, you can be unknowingly giving another blogger a reference for their blog post. It’s not uncommon for bloggers to get information from Quora. The content chosen for these references are complete, highly upvoted, and often written by content experts and industry leaders.
Also, high quality answers will generate social shares, which as we know have an impact on SEO. This is just another advantage of Quora that can work for you
Quora for Marketers
While generating traffic is all well and good, marketing teams will probably get more out of Quora than web developers or SEOs.
As I said above, Quora is full of content experts, industry leaders, and generally smart people. If an answer is voted up many times over, it’s generally a very good answer written by someone who knows what they are talking about.
Quora can be leveraged to create professional relationships with some really intelligent people in your niche. Start by following content experts and leaders, and monitoring questions, topics and blogs that they are contributing to. Get in on the conversation, vote for their good answers, comments on their blogs, and expand on their incomplete answers (if any).
Another way to reach out and connect with individuals is to write interesting, thought provoking questions, and ask the individual to answer it. Quora allows you to freely ask another user if your friendship is two-way (meaning you follow them and they follow you), otherwise you will have to pay with credits. Do not worry about spending existing credits, as you can earn more by gaining followers to your questions and getting your answers upvoted.
Another area where Quora has potential is generating leads. Let’s look at a few examples.
Let’s say that you run an affiliate program based on adds on your website, or perhaps you run a PPC (pay per click) add campaign. If you plan to generate revenue from your affiliate links, the more traffic you get to your site the better. To maximize your potential conversions, the more click through’s you get the better. In order to maximize your click through’s, you’ll want to get visitors to your site interested in whatever affiliate product or add campaign you are running. By answering questions in this niche, and creating a call to action for readers, you can drive relevant traffic to your site.
As a second example, let’s consider an event promoter who gets paid depending on the number of attendees to a concert or boxing match. This marketer doesn’t necessarily need to drive interest to his website, but rather the actual event. Quora is ranked highly in Google search results, and is indexed very quickly. You might be surprised at how highly questions on Quora rank for some search queries. If this event promoter writes worthwhile content in the right places, he could easily leverage Quora to get his events in front of a lot of eyes.
One final example. Let’s say you are a real estate agent looking for potential customers. Browsing the real estate section of Quora and answering potential customers questions thoroughly may lead them to trust you and reach out to you, generating potential leads.
Another reason that Quora is so valuable to marketers is the ability analyze marketing trends, popular topics, new and interesting material, and much more.
Check out what topics are popular on Quora, and gear your next blog post towards it. You should have a lot of opportunities to reference yourself by answering questions now.
Listening to your customers
Quora provides your customers with an open forum to praise or humiliate you. If an upset customer chooses to publicly tarnish your image on Quora, then you have the opportunity to rectify the situation in front of potential customers. The same goes for other social media hubs like Twitter and Facebook, creating a positive public image of your business is extremely important. Thank your happy customers, and do whatever you can to please your unhappy customers.
Keep up on your competition
And last for this post, but certainly not least, Quora provides you with a free resource to monitor your competitors. See how they are responding to questions, interacting with potential customers, and more. You can see in a public forum how your competitors are succeeding, and where they are falling short.
Marketers can use this information to modify their marketing plan, generate new customers and potential leads, and fill in a space in the market that your competitors are leaving open.
Did I forget something? Let me know by leaving a comment below!