With SEO getting difficult, internet marketing professionals have turned to SMO.
Today, SMO (social media optimization) is the most reliable way to drive traffic to a website.
Ask any experienced social media marketer:
- What works best in the world of social media?
And the response will always be:
- Good content.
We are getting back to the good old days, when “content was the king”.
When you think of social media promotion, the first names that come to mind are probably Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.
When I started a blog on startups and small business advice, I wanted to find a medium where I could use my writing skills to drive traffic to my website.
I am not on Facebook and I only use LinkedIn once in a while. But occasionally using LinkedIn doesn’t leave me with many options to promote my website.
How I discovered Quora:
This is when I stumbled upon Quora.
In fact, writing on Quora happened by accident.
I was searching for a few answers to some business related questions on Google.
Most of the questions I searched for were long tail keywords.
Quora links came at the top of every question I typed into Google.
I clicked on a few of these links. The information provided by Quora users was informative and precise.
Most importantly, the variety of answers provided me with a different perspective to my questions.
I studied the platform a little more.
The next day, I was on Quora.
What is Quora?
Quora is a simple Q & A website. It’s like Yahoo answers but with a better interface and integrated gamification to keep Quorans more active.
Here are a few statistics about Quora:
- As per Alexa, Quora’s world rank is 108 (it ranks 13th in India).
- Quora currently has close to 4.6 million registered users.
- Quora reaches over 2.1 million people in the USA alone.
My initial days on Quora:
Despite my love for writing, sometimes I really need to persuade myself to write something.
I also hated to research or inform myself before writing (a very bad habit which hurt my strategy on Quora).
So I started writing my thoughts down on Quora for a few questions.
The responses to my answers were tepid mostly because they were all half-baked answers written with no enthusiasm.
I needed to rework my strategy.
Finally, after a few weeks of religious writing on Quora, I hit success.
My first success was an answer I wrote on Patanjali FMCG Products.
The answer got 13.2 K views and was featured in Quora’s digest.
Since then, I have had quite a few answers featured in Quora’s digest which brings a consistent amount of traffic to my blog.
How to start driving traffic from Quora without spamming:
- Set up the right profile:
Quora gives you the option to setup your tagline, your areas of interest, and a short bio.
Your tagline says a lot about what you do and why you are on Quora. Don’t overlook this.
The platform is for exchanging information. A wrong tagline will confuse users and you will never get you any traffic to your website.
You can use your website’s link as a tag or use “pipes” between small phrases as a tagline (see my profile below).
Important: If your answers go viral, you can expect a lot of users to visit your profile. A wrong profile will not lead them anywhere. Think of your profile page as a landing page for your website. You do not want precious traffic to go to waste.
Here is how my profile looks on Quora:
As you can see, I have used my blog’s link in my profile’s tagline.
(Note: The “Highlights” section shows the number of categories you’re featured in as a top writer. The other sections are self-explanatory.)
Once you have written about yourself, you have to setup your categories/interests.
To get the right questions to appear on your feed (similar to Facebook’s wall), subscribe to the categories you want to read and write about.
I subscribe to the following categories:
- Startup Ideas
- Startup Advice
Recently, I met someone who was getting a completely wrong feed from Quora. The problem was the person had subscribed to irrelevant categories.
You need to be with the right categories to get the right questions and answers to appear on your feed.
- Find the right questions to answer:
Once your profile is properly set up, your Quora feed will show the popular questions asked in the categories you’re subscribed to.
The feed also shows answers from the users who you follow and their subsequent feeds.
You can also go inside the categories and look for questions.
While selecting a question to answer, here is what you need to do:
- Look for questions in your area of interest where you can provide “value” to the existing answers.
Do not write answers to questions in topics you are clueless about.
A bad quality answer will collapse your answer.
I see a lot of answers written only with the intent of promoting their website. This is bad taste.
Avoid the trap of “easy promotions”:
- Focus on A2A (asked to answer). As you gain popularity, you will get a lot of A2As. Try answering the relevant ones to build a base of loyal followers on Quora.
- Comment on answers written by others. I do not consider the comments as directly answering a question. Even so, you are contributing to other answers.
- Write interesting answers:
Observe the type of questions asked and the types of answers provided.
Do not get overwhelmed with answers written by some of the best names in your line of work.
As they say:
- “Learn from the experts”.
Quora gives you an opportunity to learn from them first hand by reading what their views are. You can try to emulate their style of writing or you can write in your own style.
But it takes a lot of practice to form your own style of writing.
Here is the writing style I follow:
- I write in categories I am confident about (e.g. startup advice, entrepreneurship, etc.).
- I research my answers well before writing.
- I use bullet points to divide my answers into simple points.
- I use images, quotes, statistics, past stories/case studies to give my answers depth.
Do not answer a question just for the sake of answering a question. You need to have a passion for writing informative answers.
Only answer the questions in your areas of interest. If you don’t, not only will your answer get down-voted, you will waste precious amounts of time framing answers no one will read.
Again, writing in an area you do not have any expertise on will be a waste of time and energy. You might be the best “Guru” in the town, but you won’t get any views if your answers are not genuine.
You have to understand the question, research the topic (if you need stats), and then write the answer.
Also, do not write single line “words of wisdom”. You might be the wittiest person on earth, but demystifying your wittiness is not why everyone is on Quora.
Answering questions in the right way also increases your knowledge base.
For example, I research before writing on Quora to back my thoughts with statistics or real life examples.
(As a side bonus, working with Quora in this way has improved my writing skills.)
In short, when your answers are high-quality, interesting, and informative, a couple things happen:
- You get traffic to your website.
- You are helping to build a better ecosystem of information exchange by helping others.
- Promoting your website, the “right way”:
I see so many answers with direct links posted to websites.
Blatant shameless promotion is the most hated medium of promotion.
- “READ the following article to get an answer to your question.”
- “Read my blog : ____”
- “You can find the answer over on my website ____.”
These kinds of responses will get you little to no traffic from Quora.
Here is an example of a spam answer written by someone:
The answer collapsed. I am sure the user was also marked as spam by the Quora moderation team.
The right method of getting traffic is by writing an awesome answer with sincere effort and then sharing a link at the end of the answer.
I am able to drive a considerable amount of traffic to my startup blog through Quora and I do not shamelessly advertise.
Once you write good answers, you convince Quorans about your credentials in the category you are writing about.
I use lines like:
- “I share similar views at ‘My Blog Name’.”
- “I provide similar startup advice at ____.”
Believe me. 8 out of 10 times, readers from my answers will come to my blog.
Here’s the method to getting Quora traffic:
- You write an awesome, well-researched answer.
- The answer establishes your authority as a knowledgeable person in the topic.
- At the end of the answer, you give your blog’s link.
I see no reason why users would not want to visit your website.
Once you are an established name in your field, you can use your website’s links in your answers as a point of reference.
But do not self-promote.
Quorans hate self-promotions.
They will down vote your questions.
Here are few more quick tips on how to use Quora effectively:
- You can use different taglines for answering questions in different categories. The tagline shows next to your profile. You can be witty while selecting taglines.
- You can merge questions you have answered earlier.
- Write with the aim to help others. If your answer is good, you will drive users to your website. Everyone who reads your answer will be wanting to know more about the user behind the answer which has gone viral.
- Leave the sarcasm at home. Quorans might like sarcasm, but only in a good way.
- Don’t focus on followers. The platform is not Twitter or Facebook where you want followers. I currently have 246 followers and have never felt the need to have more followers for getting more views. In fact, my first answer went viral when I had less than 50 followers.
- Google analytics does not show you the traffic received from Quora. Try Google’s link shortener to generate shortened links. You can view the clicks on shortened links through Google’s URL shortener reports (attached to your Gmail account).
- Keep track of the notifications sent by Quora. The notifications provide you information about A2As, your answers getting featured in Quora’s digest, users following you, or you being featured as a top writer in a certain category.
- Look at the popularity of questions you plan to answer. Spend some time in finding the statistics of a question. Ensure the question has enough followers and views. You do not want to spend time answering a question which has no readers.
- Asking a question and then answering that question is another strategy to drive a good amount of traffic to your blog. I recently asked a question “What is the dark side of being an entrepreneur?” The question currently has 187,000 views. My answer (to my own question) helped me get a good amount of traffic (and a few new subscribers) to my blog.
- Keep track of your progress on the website by checking your statistics.
Here is a snapshot of my Quora statistics:
- The list of answers is sorted based on the amount of views your answer received.
- The graph on the right shows the total views and number of upvotes your answers received.
As you can see, my answers have been interesting to many readers. This interest drives a considerable amount of users to my blog.
If you are struggling to get readership, views, and subscribers for your blog, you need to go where the traffic is. And if you aren’t on Quora, you’re missing out on one of the best sources of high-quality traffic on the internet.
- (Also remember, some of the best brains in business are on Quora like the founder of Wikipedia (…and Aston Kutcher). Now imagine one of them answering your question. You might never get a chance to meet the famous personality, but you can ask them a question on Quora.)
Quora is the future of ethical content marketing.
It’s the place to be for people who love to write.
And it’s a great way to drive traffic.
Do let me know what other methods you are using to drive traffic from Quora in the comments below.