Everything you need to know about SEO, delivered every Thursday.
How To Use Q&A Sites To Help Build Better Links
Asking questions is considered to be one of the most basic yet the most effective ways of learning. Whether you ask questions to better understand a technique, an event, or a motive, you’re gaining insight that should help you in the present and the future.
It’s no wonder that question and answer sites continue to gain in popularity, and while I’ve viewed them as a great free or inexpensive marketing and personal branding tool for awhile now, it’s only recently that I’ve come to see how useful they can be at helping everyone build links and do better SEO.
Think about how you’d search online if you weren’t ultra-familiar with search engines and data. You’d use longer-tailed queries probably, for one thing, and you’d hopefully be better able to hone in on more relevant results in the SERPs. Now think about all the ways questions can help you when you’re marketing online.
Now, there are some amazing tools out there for keyword discovery of course, but look at how different our keywords would be if we used a traditional keyword tool (in this case it’s Google Adwords’ tool) vs. a Q&A site (Quora, in this example):
Google Adwords Tool
As you’ll see, both searches give you some results that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for but are indeed related. (Obviously, if you’re going to be eating cupcakes, you’ll need a nice place to run right?) Using the above example, think about using Q&A sites for the following tasks.
Keyword Research For Content
Let’s say you’re writing new content for your New York restaurants site. Using the above data, you can see both popular phrases used when searching for what you have to offer and you can see other related bits to add in.
Maybe you’d not yet thought about desserts (pie and cupcakes in this case) as being something to work in, yet the Quora data triggers an idea for a separate piece of content about all the great places to buy those in Manhattan.
Key Terms For Use With Social Media
New ideas are always helpful when using social media, as you can better see which phrases to use to attract your targets and interact with them.
I have mentioned Followerwonk before as it’s a fantastic tool to use to see how Twitter users describe themselves in their bios, and having new phrases gleaned from Q&A data means you can expand your search here as well.
Others use Followerwonk in hopes of finding you, too, remember, so if they’re relevant, these new phrases can be added to your bio.
New Ways Of Discovering Potential Link Targets
If you use manual searches in order to discover link targets, Q&A sites can give you tons of new ways to phrase your queries. I absolutely cannot live without the Solo SEO link search tool for generating queries as it alleviates all that pesky typing and leads you straight to query results.
Instead of just using your typical “New York city restaurants” phrase here, use a few other ones gleaned from what Q&A sites say that people are talking about.
These same new topic ideas will work with advanced search queries, straight up manual discovery in any search engine, and directory searches.
New Ways Of Discovering Potential Sources & Topics For Guest Posts
Similar to what I said regarding keyword research for your own copy, this information can easily help you narrow down your guest post searches (maybe instead of just looking for sites wanting posts about NYC restaurants you’ll now look for sites seeking posts about desserts in the Northeast) and give you ideas on new content.
Quora is my favorite for keeping updated on related questions and can be great for triggering ideas for new posts, with their “Someone adds a related question to a question I’m following” email option. Sometimes creativity strikes when you least expect it in your inbox, so I’m really loving this functionality.
A Few Popular Q&A Platforms
Since there’s always something new popping up, just go and search for Q&A sites and I imagine you’ll find new ones. I’d suggest trying a few out in order to find which ones work best for you, too, as we all have our individual preferences and different marketplaces to work in.
Now to conclude, I’m not at all suggesting that we abandon traditional keyword tools or use Q&A in order to replace anything we use to do a better job with link building.
However, I am suggesting that diversifying your methods is a good idea, and using popular community sites to do that right now can only better your results.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.