Quora vs Yahoo Answers: Which Q&A Site is Better for Your Business?
Yahoo Answers dominated the Q&A space around 2010 when the Quora hype started and I originally wrote this article.
Quora was barely visible at the start. In 2017 Quora finally overtook Yahoo Answers according to Google Trends:
Many people ask questions on the Web, especially on search engines like Google but also on social media.
Even in cases where they don’t ask a literal question containing a question mark most queries are indeed questions as well! It’s just that people don’t enter the whole sentence in the Google search box.
Hype as Hype Can
When you search for [best smartphone] you are most probably asking yourself “what is the best smartphone”.
Even a search for the term [smartphone] itself implies that you are looking for the best or at least most popular smartphone.
We witnessed a frenzy on social media about Quora in its early days. Pundits proclaimed Quora to be the next Twitter etc.
At the end of the day Quora had to compete with the existing elephant in the room, Yahoo Answers. It looked like an impossible task at first.
Yet over the years Quora actually managed to compete with the initially much larger competitor from Yahoo.
Due to overall bad decisions over at Yahoo that decimated the worth of the former Web giant and a solid search based long term strategy over at Quora by now the two sites compete on eye level.
Still Quora is not for everybody. It’s very difficult to use without a lot of effort: thus I ask you to consider both sites for popularizing your online presence.
You Don’t Have to Be an Expert on Yahoo Answers
I’ve been on Quora for a few years by now and have tested it for some of my projects as well. To make it short: it did not work for me. Why?
It took me a lot of time to create content specifically for Quora and it even got featured on their newsletters yet the traffic outcome was meager at best.
People do not click through from Quora unless you focus very much on click bait but such type of cliff hanger posts get deleted by the Quora staff. They sometimes even remove content after years of being online.
Still there is Yahoo Answers. You might have forgotten about amidst the hype. I have used Yahoo Answers in its early years a lot and had some quick wins with the help of the site.
Yahoo Answers had a massive audience willing to click to find out more about the subject they have asked for. Especially as most answers on Yahoo were very short noties.
It was the number one Q&A site initially, the elephant in the room you had to beat to become the next big thing. Otherwise you were just an also ran. Quora has taken seven long years to catch up.
Now Quora outran YA but they are still relatively close. Quora does not dominate in the way YA dominated a decade ago when Quora appeared on the scene.
I’m not a Yahoo Answers expert but I have advised small business owners to participate there in the past. Why?
Let me point out the reasons why using Yahoo Answers might still work for you. As Quora is so popular among the cool crowd now I’d like to compare it with Yahoo Answers. Does Quora have the same benefits or offer other advantages?
Who uses the site?
Q: Tech-savvy users.: entrepreneurs, startup founders, business owners, bloggers, marketers, social media power users.
YA: Everybody. John Doe and his wife and even kids.
Who is your audience?
Are you selling high quality services and goods for professionals and other businesses? Use Quora.
Are you selling large numbers of products or local services to average people? Use Yahoo Answers.
As Quora is by now often ranking on Google you also may get some traffic that is routed via search.
In the past Yahoo Answers got a lot of drop-in users from Yahoo itself. Now the corporations has lots its importance and thus far fewer people come that way.
Who are you?
Are you an accomplished expert with lots of time? Use Quora. Otherwise you don’t have a chance to stand out.
For instance it seems almost every question about SEO gets answered by a renowned online marketing expert like Rand Fishkin of SparkToro.
In other areas there are sometimes dozens or even hundreds of answers provided by highly skilled professionals.
There is no room for you in case you aren’t a leader already.
Although I’m pretty known in SEO circles I can’t compete with Rand who has a whole team of people working for him.
He has the time to answer questions for free while others do the paid work for him. I don’t. Do you?
Are you the average business owner or freelancer like I am? Use Yahoo Answers. The answers are mostly so low quality that you can easily stand out.
Real people aka potential clients read your advice and click your links. Of course you have to say more than “my company is the best”. Offer actual solutions.
Yet there are even some people who get away with that low quality approach. You can perform better than that.
Are you after a good rep, authority and trust? Use Quora. Here you can build a reputation for yourself competing with the best of the best.
You have to spend a few hours a day on it but it’s a long time investment.
Then one day you can show that most people consider your answers and expertise to be worth it. Then you can earn money with it.
Are you after traffic, leads or even sales? Do you need to earn money right now? Don’t have the time to compete for days, weeks or months without getting something in return? Use Yahoo Answers.
Here people are asking for things they need right now. They would pay for it. You don’t need to be the best expert on something as long as your answer makes sense.
Can You Keep up with All the Questions?
I could ask questions like these for a while but I don’t have the time. Also my impression is that I can’t cope with Quora.
The pace questions get asked, answered, liked etc. is too fast on Quora.
I’m spending most of my social media time on Twitter and I won’t build a new power profile from zero. You have to invest a lot to get something out of Quora. It can easily become an unpaid full-time gig.
Also there are other sites to consider joining which actually don’t cost so much time investment. Heck, even forums often are a viable alternative.
Btw. I even rejoined Yahoo to test Yahoo Answers again as I lost my two older accounts from years ago.
Maybe I should be using Yahoo Answers regularly again. Judging from the replies to the SEO questions I could easily stand out in a positive way. Also Rand isn’t there.