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What Is Quora & Why Should You Care?

Quora is a top-ranked question and answering community that can form the basis of a successful marketing campaign. This is how to do it.

What Is Quora & Why Should You Care?

Quora is not only a highly ranked question and answer community, it’s one of the top online destinations in the world.

This makes it a great place to begin the process of making a site popular and improving rankings and traffic.

How Does Quora Work?

Quora is an online community of people providing answers to questions.

People from around the world visit Quora to ask questions from a community of people who answer them.

Google is in the business of showing webpages that answer questions.

That Quora answers questions may be one of the reasons why Google ranks Quora so highly. They’re a natural and symbiotic fit.

Quora is ranked #345 in traffic out of all sites in the U.S. by web metrics company Alexa.

It is ranked #357 most popular site worldwide.

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

Screenshot of Google Trends showing the popularity of Quora

That upward trend is not limited to the United States.

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

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

Is It OK to Link to Your Site on Quora?

Yes, it’s OK to link to your site, as long as it’s done in a manner that enhances the answers that you give.

Linking to one’s own site should be in the context of a citation and help support the answer to a question.

Low-quality, “visit my site” type answers or posts that don’t answer a question might likely be seen as spam.

Focusing on providing a useful answer is the best approach.

How Quora Fits Into a Marketing Strategy

How Can Marketers Use Quora for SEO?

Because of the transactional nature of search marketing consultants, where a client pays for ranking related benefits and an agency delivers a spreadsheet full of them, some marketers tend to view Quora as a one-and-done type of deal.

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Even though the links may be nofollowed, there is a belief that Google might choose to use them for ranking purposes.

There is also a belief that they might increase the “authority” of a site.

First, there’s no real “authority” metric at Google other than links.

But there are indirect ways to build the kind of authority that causes users to become acquainted with a site and begin seeking it out by name.

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 the focus is exclusively on ranking for Google.

Google tends to rank web pages 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 is going to want to show that site.

The reason is that Google has always been about showing 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 now works 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

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Speaking of Matt 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 reaching out to the communities that were a part of their ecosystem and building goodwill.

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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, especially with the Gen Z generation that is entering today’s workforce.

A business can’t build goodwill with inauthentic activities.

According to an Adweek article about marketing during the Covid-19 pandemic,

“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 in participating in a community like Quora.

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Authenticity and goodwill mean participating on a regular basis 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 are likely to 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 the software download sites that are relevant and submit the software using highly optimized and unique content.

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

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

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

But if the page has a link or a site mention, that counts as a 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 as answers.

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

Why Quora Matters for Your Marketing Strategy

Community participation is more than just Quora.

There are sometimes micro-communities that are topic verticals to a specific niche.

Whatever you learn from participating in Quora can be applied in other communities as well.

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Success comes with hard work and the effort you put into the campaign will become your unassailable advantage.

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Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, September 2020

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Roger Montti

Roger Montti is a search marketer with 20 years experience. He provides site audits, phone consultations and content and link ... [Read full bio]

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