Quora for Business: Is the Q&A Site Worth the Effort?
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.
By 2021 Yahoo Answers – the formerly dominating Q&A site – went offline completely and Quora is the market leader.
From Hype to Market Leader
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 2021 the startup has replaced Yahoo Answers completely.
Still Quora is not for everybody. It’s very difficult to use without a lot of effort: thus I ask you to consider whether it’s a good venue for popularizing your online presence.
Especially business users struggle with Quora as the site does not allow self-promotion. Is it actually worth it?
You Have to Be an Expert on Quora
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 basically non-existent. Any outgoing links were either hidden from view or ignored by Quora users.
People do not click through from Quora unless you focus very much on clickbait but such type of cliff hanger posts get deleted by the Quora staff.
They sometimes even remove content after years of being online just because someone else wrote a similar answer.
Now Quora dominates the Q&A market. Quora does not dominate in the way YA dominated a decade ago when Quora appeared on the scene but it’s still the main site when you are looking for answers on most topics. There are specialized communities and forums for all kinds of niches but Quora covers them all.
I’m not a Quora expert but I have advised small business owners to be cautious of it in the past. Why?
Let me point out the reasons why using Quora might still not work for you. As Quora is so popular 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? Don’t use Quora.
As Quora is by now often ranking well on Google you also may get some traffic that is routed via search. It’s hard though as noted above. Until they see your link people are in most cases satisfied with the answer given on the site itself.
In the past Yahoo Answers got a lot of drop-in users from Yahoo itself. Now that the brand has lots its importance and thus the was no more room for Answers anymore.
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 people like 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? Don’t use Quora. The answers written by people like us are mostly too short or low quality that you can easily stand out.
Invest instead in onsite content and use other social media tools to drive traffic to it.
Make 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. There are some ways to trick Quora when you’re unethical. You can perform better than that though.
Are you after a good rep, authority and trust? Use Quora ethically with enough time and effort spent on it. 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 term 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? Don’t waste your time with Quora.
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, merged, deleted etc. is too fast on Quora.
I’m spending most of my social media time on Pinterest, LinkedIn plus Twitter and I won’t build a new power profile on Quora. 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 Q&A and social media sites to consider joining which actually don’t cost so much time investment. Heck, even forums often are a viable alternative.
I have been testing Stack Exchange for some time and I was pretty fond of it. It started as a tool for programming questions but for a few years now they have lots other topics covered as well.