You’ve likely seen a Quora page pop up for some search query you’ve posed in the past. Maybe you were asking, “What are some of the best rare natural phenomena that occur on Earth?” or “What images will change the way a person sees the world after viewing them?” (some of the most popular questions of all time), or maybe you were trying to actively research something relevant to your industry and stumbled upon one of Quora’s millions of user-submitted questions and answers.
Anyone—literally—can sign up for an account and start answering questions.
In the body of many answers is a link pointing back to a piece of source material. In case you aren’t familiar, link building is one of the most important pieces of the SEO puzzle.
It’s an enormous topic which I’ve covered in great detail, but the basic premise is this; the more links you have pointing back to your domain, and the more natural, relevant, and high-authority those links are, the higher your site’s authority will be, and the higher your pages will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).
So, could the Quora platform be a good way to obtain those links? Beyond link building, what other roles could it play in your overall online marketing campaign?
How Quora Works
Quora exists to help people find answers to their questions, which range from banal to ridiculous in subject matter and complexity. The way it works is simple. When you sign up for an account, you’ll receive 500 “credits,” which refresh periodically. You can create questions to ask, which function as a kind of forum thread, and spend credits to either promote those questions or specifically ask high-profile users to answer your question. For each person who follows your question, you’ll get 10 credits.
You can also answer questions, in whatever way you see fit. Other users can upvote or downvote those responses, and over time, the top voted response usually takes prominence. When people upvote your contributions, you gain 10 credits.
Quora for Link Building
Here’s the idea behind using Quora for link building. You’ll create a user account, fill out your personal profile, and start answering questions that relate to your area of expertise. If you’re a plumber, you’ll answer questions asked by people who are experiencing plumbing issues.
If you’re in the medical industry, you might help people figure out whether they should see a doctor. At that point, you can include a link within your response that points back to a page on your domain that contains a more thorough, in-depth answer.
But here’s the catch: your link needs to be relevant, for several reasons:
- Irrelevant links will be penalized. Links on Quora aren’t exempt from the wrath of Penguin. If you’re caught spamming links without relevance, using the same link over and over, or engaging in other black hat tactics, you could face a Google penalty.
- Bad links will earn downvotes. If people don’t like your response—like if you’re being too promotional or if you’re spamming links to your personal website—they’ll downvote it. Then, your answer won’t be listed, and you won’t get any referral traffic.
- Your Quora reputation depends on your answer quality. Your reputation matters. If you become an active enough Quora user, people will begin respecting your authority on the subject, you’ll earn a regular following, and you’ll build a content audience in addition to reaping SEO benefits. You won’t gain any of those peripheral benefits if you don’t build links with relevance.
How can you make your link relevant? First, only use it to provide further information on a topic or to back up what you’re saying. That means you should be linking to a page of your site that’s rich in detail, preferably with original research in tow.
Also, watch how you introduce the link; writing something like “be sure to check out my website, where you can buy fabulous products like these,” will sound like an advertisement, and will turn users away.
So, Is Quora Good for Building Links?
Having inbound links to your website from Quora will probably yield some SEO value, but each subsequent link from the domain is likely to yield diminishing returns. Instead of thinking about Quora as a way to build links, I recommend thinking about it as a way to build your online reputation and awareness, with the caveat that you could also drive some significant qualified referral traffic.
If you’re looking purely for SEO value, Quora probably isn’t going to help you to any significant degree. But if you’re looking for ways to drive referral traffic, then yes, Quora is worth trying out.
If you do decide to give Quora a try for your marketing initiative, follow these rules:
- Make your answers authoritative. Make sure you know what you’re talking about, and answer in as much detail as you can. Your success will depend on other users affirming that your answer is the best for each question, and usually the longest, most in-depth and research-backed answer wins this distinction.
- Link to your best pages. Link to strong, detailed content that’s relevant to the answer you give. Do not link to commercial pages on your site.
- Don’t rely on Quora alone. Quora is a good stepping stone, and can result in significant referral traffic to your site, but it should only be one piece of the puzzle when it comes to your online marketing campaign. For a broader walkthrough on how to develop a robust content marketing campaign, see The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.
If you can follow these rules, you can incorporate Quora into your content marketing campaign, and start seeing the benefits almost immediately.