What Is Quora & How It Works

What Is Quora & How It Works

Quora is a highly ranked platform for asking and answering questions.

The high-search visibility makes it a useful destination for building company awareness through answering questions.

What Is Quora?

Quora is a global online platform for asking questions and providing answers.

According to Google Trends, the search volume is significantly higher in India than it is in the United States.

However, Quora does seem to rank well for many search queries. The fact that Quora answers questions may be one of the reasons why Google ranks Quora so highly for questions.

Google is in the business of showing webpages that answer questions. Quora is a website that answers questions.

According to the now defunct Alexa popularity ranking, in February 2022, Quora was ranked #276 in traffic out of all sites in the U.S. and ranked as the top #323 site globally.

This five-year Google Trends data shows that Quora has an upward trending profile. That means that Quora is increasing in popularity.

Google Trends for QuoraScreenshot from Google Trends, August 2022

That upward trend is not limited to the United States.

It’s also reflected in France, German, Canada, U.K., and Australia.

Quora is a popular website that continues to build in popularity.

How Does Quora Work?

Participating in Quora is easy. One just needs to register with Quora and then start answering questions.

The site is largely self-moderated in that good-quality answers get upvoted, and poor answers are downvoted.

Site members at Quora can also report responses that are abusive or spammy.

There are moderators at Quora who review reported answers.

The moderators at Quora are said to be employees or subcontractors.

Is It OK To Link To Your Site On Quora?

Linking to one’s own site could be seen in an unfavorable light, reflecting poorly on the member and the site being promoted.

In general, one shouldn’t be participating in Quora to create links.

Furthermore, it’s fairly pointless because the links are nofollowed, which means that Google will likely not use them.

Google’s John Mueller implied that they’re aware of the use of Quora for link building in a Twitter discussion about Quora for building links.

 

The best approach to Quora is simply to build up awareness for a brand by being a good member of Quora.

How Quora Fits Into A Marketing Strategy

How Can Marketers Use Quora For SEO?

A client generally pays search marketing consultants for directly measurable and attributable ranking-related benefits.

The marketer did this, and a positive outcome is a result like a link or site visits.

But other ways of marketing are difficult to measure or attribute a direct benefit.

And it’s that kind of activity that can be useful for growing a business, but it’s a long game.

This indirect approach can help users become acquainted with a site and begin seeking it out by name, which could be beneficial for rankings.

And that can lead to better rankings, direct visits, word-of-mouth popularity, and links.

Get The Word Out

The most fundamental element of marketing a business online is to get the word out about it.

The most powerful recommendation a business can get is from one friend recommending a site to another friend.

When a company can get people so enthusiastic about their business that a friend tells another friend, “Go to this business, they’ll take care of you,” that’s practically a license to make money.

Competitors simply cannot compete against that.

But to get to that point, a business needs to get the word out.

Many of the biggest success stories owe their popularity to friend-to-friend recommendations.

That’s an aspect of online marketing that gets lost when focusing exclusively on ranking for Google.

Google tends to rank webpages that users expect to see.

So if a business is suddenly successful and consumers are sending signals that a site is popular for a certain product or service, Google will want to show that site.

The reason is that Google has always shown users the most authoritative site for any particular search query.

But you can’t become popular if nobody’s heard of you.

Quora can be the first step in building that kind of word-of-mouth popularity.

Former Googler Matt Cutts, who used to head the spam-fighting team at Google and most recently formerly worked for the United States Digital Service, is a member of Quora and has answered questions related to his new field in government service.

Screenshot of former Google Matt Cutts' Quora profile showing over 381,000 views of his contentIf Matt Cutts is on Quora answering questions, then maybe you should be doing it too.

Build Goodwill On Quora

Speaking of Cutts, he is the model of someone building goodwill and word of mouth by participating in a community in an authentic manner that was helpful.

According to Cutts:

“I had read a book called The Cluetrain Manifesto that included a story of an employee at United Airlines answering questions and helping people. Later I saw a few people
discussing Google on a webmaster forum, including a few conspiracy theories like “If you buy Google ads, you’ll rank {higher, lower} on Google.”

I asked Google’s PR team if it would be okay if I occasionally answered some questions or debunked misconceptions on that webmaster forum, and they said yes.

So I registered an account as “GoogleGuy” on Oct. 8, 2001 and started replying and answering questions in my free time.

I think I eventually chalked up 2800+ posts on that forum.”

Think about that: 2,800 posts on a webmaster forum, answering questions about Google.

In the early days of search, none of the other search engines and search-related companies devoted that much time and effort to reach out to the communities that were a part of their ecosystem and building goodwill.

Goodwill is related to the reputation of a company.

A company that has built goodwill with the public is one that is naturally trusted and recommended without a second thought.

Building goodwill with the public is underrated and overlooked in online marketing.

You can’t build goodwill by focusing on Google ranking factors like links, anchor text, and title tags.

Authenticity is increasingly important to Google because it’s important to its users.

According to an Adweek article about marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic, authenticity is important to Gen Z:

“These digital natives are used to consuming a lot of information at once, they are tech-savvy, and are inherently suspicious of advertising. This audience seeks
authenticity…”

An article in Harvard Business Review on the topic of companies marketing during the pandemic stated:

“…companies need to show that their contributions are material and not solely for commercial benefit. Consumers recognize authenticity and true purpose.”

“Authenticity” and “true purpose” should be the goal of participating in a community like Quora.

Authenticity and goodwill mean regularly participating and in a manner that is helpful.

A one-off campaign of a day, a week, or a month of participation may not build momentum.

In moderator circles, that kind of activity is called Drive-by Spamming and tends to be frowned on by users and moderators alike.

Just as you can’t stuff a dollar into a charity collection box and buy yourself goodwill and authenticity, a company can’t one-off their campaign to build popularity, goodwill, and friend-to-friend recommendations.

The more a company participates, the more they will cross over to authenticity and become seen as the “good guys” or the “good girls.”

Piggyback Rankings

Another strategy for building an online presence is to rank on another site. That’s something that I call Piggyback Rankings.

In the old days, a strategy for ranking a software company would be to identify all relevant software download sites and submit the software using highly optimized and unique content.

If successful, the software download site would rank in the top 10 for the important software-related keywords.

Similarly, a company can answer questions on Quora in a useful and comprehensive manner and rank for those keywords.

Of course, one doesn’t want Quora ranking ahead of them for a search query.

But if the page mentions the website, that counts as a win. When other Quora members start linking to the site, then that’s a big win.

It means your company will receive traffic from that ranking or at least build goodwill.

Consumers can develop positive familiarity with a brand when it appears in answers.

Ranking a friendly page in the top 10 is better than a competitor taking those spots in the top 10.

Why Quora Matters For Your Marketing Strategy

The digital marketing community tends to focus on quick wins and benefits from that activity.

But often, it’s the harder work of building excellence that can create popularity and ranking.

It’s great to have excellent customer service. Combined with promotional activities, that’s a path toward success.

Don’t look at Quora as the strategy. Being a good community member and building a solid reputation is best done as one part of a larger multi-part strategy.

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Featured Image: Giulio_Fornasar/Shutterstock




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