It’s amazing to me that it took Yahoo so long to update its Answers property. Once a thriving Q&A network and social search site, Yahoo really let Answers go to seed. However the company announced yesterday that it was rolling out a new user-experience including mobile optimization.
Even in its dilapidated state, Yahoo Answers is the most successful “help engine” or Q&A site on the web (don’t tell me it’s Quora). Answers was the site that long ago vanquished Google’s paid answers property.
But the years of product and management turmoil at Yahoo caused tremendous neglect of Answers and myriad other Yahoo properties. Now CEO Marissa Mayer is going through Yahoo’s various products and updating them, especially for mobile.
It’s not unlike renovating a house room by room. Now it’s Answers’ turn.
The new features make Answers more social, incorporate the ability to add images and video and make the site mobile friendly. As a practical matter Answers is the social network Yahoo never had — right under its nose.
With curation and some quality improvements — the quality of a large percentage of Answers’ content is really marginal — Answers could become something tremendously valuable for both users and Yahoo.
Answers could bring more user engagement, search volume, overall traffic and contextually relevant display inventory to Yahoo. Answers is and has been a great SEO property. But if Yahoo concentrates and devotes resources to really making Answers a valuable utility it will rank even more often and more highly.
The new Answers isn’t live so it’s not possible yet to assess whether the changes truly represent a major product upgrade or simply a new coat of paint.