Help Them Help You: 10 Ways Q&A Websites Help Your Business

By: | September 30th, 2012

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Q&A websites guide

On the ongoing quest to promote your company’s website, there is a useful strategy you may not have learned about yet. Or perhaps you have known about for a while, but have never considered it as a tool for increasing your rankings on search engines. We are talking about Q&A websites. Participating actively in Q&A websites could help you greatly in promoting your business online. How so? Keep reading…

Question: What are Q&A Websites?

Answer: Q&A websites are basically websites where users can ask questions and get answers from other users. In most Q&A websites, anyone can answer questions, from your average Joe to a knowledgeable person to a professional who works in the field the question relates to.

At least, this was the original intent of Q&A websites. Over time, users found out they can use them to advertise their business – by providing the name of the business or a link to its website in their answers. A Q&A websites want to keep answers as objective, relevant and useful as possible, advertisement that are too blatant are often deleted. However, provided that an answer is highly informative and useful to the asker, the website’s answer moderators might just let it stay.

But then again, why would you spend precious time answering answers on Q&A websites? Other than helping others, what’s in it for you and your business? It is really useful as a platform for directing traffic to your website? Well, as it turns out, helping others with their questions could actually help you your business. Curious to know how? Well, dive in and all your questions will be answered.

Question: How Can Q&A Websites Promote My Business?

Answer #1: Anyone can use them.

Generally, Q&A websites are open to everyone. Anyone can ask questions and answer questions. This means that there are possibly many questions out there that you could answer – and that many people may be looking for answers in your specific field of expertise. In addition, Q&A websites are also open to search engines, therefore, people looking for information on a certain topic will most likely encounter results from Q&A websites in their search.

Answer #2: Q&A websites are optimized for search engines

Many times, even when someone may be just searching a keyword, he/she will still see Q&A pages ranking quite highly in the search results. How come?

  • The content on these websites gets updated frequently. People ask and answer questions every day, and more answers are added to questions every day, even if some time has passed. Search engines work in a way that   prioritizes indexing for websites that update their content frequently over those that are outdated and inactive
  • Search engines love variety. When you’re searching for something, you’re likely to get several types of results: webpages from news sites, pages from social networks, videos, powerpoint presentations, Wikipedia entries, etc. Q&A webpages are just another source of content that may be relevant for your search – and thus, there is a high chance they will appear on search results, too.

Answer #3: Q&A websites help you in finding potential collaborators.

Just like you are answering questions on Q&A websites, other people or businesses in the industry could be doing it, too. If you have found one such person whose answers you appreciate, and feel that they may be useful to your users, you could try approaching them and suggest to put their link on your website, or host them as guest writers on your company blog, in return for a similar favor. Not only will you be building a valuable business relationship, you will be building links, too.

Answer #4: Q&A websites help you in finding your competitors.

In a way, this is rather similar to the answer above. The difference is that spending time on Q&A websites and looking for questions in your field, you will most likely find competing businesses lurking in there as well. This is a great opportunity for gathering some competitive intelligence, as it could provide you with information regarding their upcoming products and services, as well their strength in some topics versus others. Of course, here too you decide to favor collaboration over competition and ask them to join forces. It’s your choice.

Answer #5: You can use Q&A websites to backlink to your website

This is perhaps the most obvious goal of using Q&A websites to promote your business. When you find questions related to your field, the answer you write should be relevant and informative – and include a link to your website. However, one must carefully tread the fine line between linking to the website in a too-obvious manner and offering it as a source of further information. When providing links to your website, incorporate them in an answer, and make it valuable answer, too!

Answer #6: You can gain the reputation of being an expert in your field

Q&A websites take their job seriously. They truly want to provide the users with the best answers they can get. Therefore, some of them work with a grading system, meaning – the person who asked the question can grade the answers according to their quality they receive and pick the best one. If you do put time and effort and provide a great answer that tops all others, you too can become the proud owner of a “Best Answer”. This will get you noticed by more people as your answer will go on the top of the page, and in turn they will click more often on your link. Ultimately, it will help you gain the reputation of an expert in the field and build your credibility in the industry.

Best answer on Yahoo Answers

A Best Answer. Taken from Yahoo! Answers

Answer #7: Increasing your online presence

Q&A websites are popular. So popular, in fact, that they are being used by hundreds of millions of people. In 2009, Yahoo! Answers boasted to have over 200 million users. In 2010, the Daily Telegraph predicted that Q&A website Quora will be “bigger than Twitter”. These was over two years ago, and these websites keep growing. This is a key principle in advertising: the more people encounter your name and become familiar with it, the more likely they will search for you when they are looking for a product or service in your field. So yes, getting your name on Q&A websites is a great way of reaching more people.

Quora growth metrics

On the way of becoming bigger than Twitter? Possibly. Excerpt of an infographic about Quora from Kissmetrics

Answer #8: People are searching questions nowadays

Did you know that there is a rising trend to type in questions on search engines rather than generic keywords? For example, more people than ever google: “what are the best hostels in Tel Aviv” rather than “hostels Tel Aviv”. In the case that some has asked this question or a similar one on a Q&A website, guess which websites are likely to appear way up high in the search results? Correct.

questions vs generic keywords queries Comparison between the number of searches of generic keywords versus searches of questions in the year 2010. From the article “6 Reasons Why Q&A Sites Can Boost Your SEO in 2011” (SEOmoz)

Answer #9: Advertising without advertising

One of the best ways to advertise is actually not to advertise at all. That is, instead of reaching out to people by ads, junk mail and pop-under banners, letting people you. One of the ways to let people to find you naturally is by answering their questions. If you’re just getting started in promoting your business, answering questions on Q&A websites could be just the way to make yourself known by “word-of-mouth”. People reading your detailed, informative answers, supported by relevant links will think: “hey, this company sounds like knows its stuff” and high chances they’ll be clicking on your links. Now here’s a way to advertise without spending a dime.

Answer #10: You can look for inspiration for your own website

This tip has nothing to do with answering questions, it’s purely meant to offer you a source of inspiration. Are in the process of building your business website and in loss of ideas for content? Simply search relevant keywords on the Q&A website and see what questions are asked most often and which subjects are the most relevant. This could help both in finding keywords for your website, and give you ideas on relevant content to write – content which people are actually looking for.

Question: How Do I Answer a Question on a Q&A Website?

Answer: A basic rule for answering questions should be that you really know the answer to the specific question. Answers should not be laconic, but should be informative as possible. However, try not to make them exhaustingly long, or repeat the information more than once. Back up your answer with several sources and provide relevant links. Most importantly, your answer should not look like an obvious advertisement for your website.  In addition, it should be written clearly and use appropriate language. Also, keep in mind that trying to promote yourself should not include slandering others in the same field – that’s only bad publicity for you, plus, one day you just might get a dose of your own medicine.

Here’s an example for typical answering guidelines on a Q&A website (taken from answers.com):

 

Answers.com guidelines

Here’s a word of advice, though. Many times, as careful as you might be with your answers, the website will still delete it. And sometimes this may happen only after a few days (most websites have moderators that check every answer to make sure it does not violate the guidelines). Therefore, after answering a question, you will to follow up on it and make sure it does not get deleted. In addition, answers violating guidelines could oftentimes lead the website moderators to freeze or delete your account. This is why it is sometimes preferable to have a third party answer questions for you and follow up on them – so you don’t have to waste time and energy doing it yourself.

Question: Is there a service that can post answers for me?

Answer: Well, yes, actually there are services that do that. In most cases, the people who provide such a service are experts on posting answers in a way that will make those who view them go to your website.

Here in Servula, for example, we provide an answer posting service. You can send us the topics and/or keywords related to your website, and the URLs of the web pages you want to promote, and we will do for you the work of finding the most relevant questions and post good, detailed and informative answers that will include your keywords and the links to your web pages. All work is done manually and is the highest quality.

Question: Can You Recommend Any Good Q&A Websites?

Answer: Oh, there are plenty! There are some highly popular Q&A websites where you could find questions on almost any subject in the world. Some leading websites are:

Besides those, you could find Q&A websites that specialize in a specific subject or intended for a specific audience. Here are a few examples:

  •  LinkedIn Answers – most questions are business-related. Topics include: administration, conferences and event planning, business travel, personal finance, etc.
  • FixYa – this website’s slogan is “solutions for everything” and most questions relate to electrical appliances and products and how to operate them, or fix specific problems. Topics include: computers & accessories, office equipment, sports and outdoors, tools & hardware, etc.
  • Food52 Hotline – While Food52 is a website centered on recipes, it also has a “Hotline” section, where you can find question about kitchen remodeling, kitchenware, etc.
  • moms4mom – this website focuses on advice for new parents. Common topics are: toddlers, potty training,pregnancy, diapers, etc.

For your convenience, we have put together a list of the top Q&A websites available. This list includes important information about each website according to several parameters, such as the website’s backlinks policy (whether it allows you to add links to the answer or not), whether you can incorporate anchor text in your answer (text, such as a keyword for example, which is hyperlinked to the desired web page) and so on.

Are you using Q&A websites?

Which ones do you find to be the most useful? Are there any Q&A websites you do not recommend? We would love to hear your opinion about this! Feel free to give us feedback.

We hope that after reading this post you have realized the importance of Q&A websites and the valuable role could play for your marketing purposes, as well as inspiration for keywords and content for your website. And hey, if you have a burning question that needs answering, on any imaginable topic, they could be useful for that, too 😉

Image credit: purple.glasses
Dafna Ben-Yehoshua Google+

A biologist turned content writer who dances lindy hop for fun. Specializes in multi-tasking and never getting enough sleep. An expert on cats, dark chocolate, and how prevent cats from eating her chocolate.

3 thoughts on “Help Them Help You: 10 Ways Q&A Websites Help Your Business”

  1. Alex says:

    Great insights Dafna!
    Being active user at Quora, I can definitely agree that it can help attract relevant traffic.

    By the way, do you think that in terms of SEO it will be disadvantage of nofollow links?

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    1. I also use Quora a lot, it’s one of my favorite Q&A sites.

      Regarding your question, it’s very natural to have nofollow links in your backlinks profile. Basically if there will NOT be such links at all, it might look a little bit suspicious to Google.

      Since there are a lot of user generated content websites on the internet with Nofollow attribute in the outbound links (different forums, youtube etc…), it’s very natural to have such links pointing to your site.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. By the way, speaking of Quora – it has nofollow links as well 🙂

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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