Blogging and building a following online increasingly comes down to helping people by providing them with the information they are looking for. One of the most direct ways to do this is by answering questions on sites where people post questions. Places to do this include Answers.com LinkedIn’s Answers as well as Quora. However, Yahoo! Answers is the biggest and offers the best way to bring increased traffic to your sites.
Helping others and yourself
There are a number of reasons to post answers on help sites. The most obvious is the chance to build direct links and traffic. These sites obviously have a lot of authority that is unlikely to be lost in any Google update. As Yahoo! Answers often show up high in search results, a top answer to a popular question can bring in significant traffic over a long period of time.
In addition, participation in these networks will allow you to build both your reputation and knowledge in the niche. You can learn both what people in your niche want and how to answer their questions. This knowledge can eventually be put to use on your own site.
Tips for using Yahoo! Answers effectively
It is never a good idea to spam, but it is especially important to approach Yahoo answers with a desire to provide accurate and useful info. As it is against the TOS to use Answers directly for marketing, accounts can easily get banned. However, the line between simply providing answers and marketing often blurs. When value is being provided to readers, a marketing benefit can be obtained while still abiding by the TOS.
The three major steps
Step 1: Create accounts
It is wise to create at least a couple of free Yahoo accounts. One reason is that it is sometimes best to use separate accounts for different niches. However, the main reason to do this is to enable you to vote up your own answers and have backup in case an account gets banned. Both of these reasons will be explained more later.
Step 2: Start answering questions and voting
Yahoo! Answers has a point system based on different factors to include how many questions you answered, if your question is voted best answer (ten points), and if you receive violations. Each level allows more privileges, but Level 2, which requires 250 points, is usually sufficient as it allows for a 40 answers a day and for links to be included in your answers. Try to devote 20-30 minutes a day to providing helpful answers to questions in your niche (search by keywords) and voting for best answers.
To make finding the related questions easier, go to the My Activity tab and then click on My Saved Searches. On the left side of the screen, the option to create a new search, with keywords of your choice, or to use a previous saved search will appear.
Step 3: Strive to get to get your comments voted the best answer
As most people do not look past the chosen best answer when reading Yahoo! Answers, you can get a lot more eyes on your answers, and more points, if your answers are selected as the best answers. Needless to say, it is most important to give well-researched and written answers. In addition, to increase your chances, keep all your answers open in tabs. Then, sign in with another ID and vote them up.
How to make the process more effective
There are different steps you can take to make things easier, give your answers an added boost and increase their chances of bringing in good traffic.
- Only link to related pages on your site and do not just link to the top page.
- Create pages on your site that address commonly answered questions. This will not only give you pages to link to but also fill your site with the kind of information you know people in your niche are looking for.
- Keep your answers in a file. Then, when similar questions come up again, you can quickly tailor your previous answer for the new question and use it over.
- Take the time to research your answers as this and build your own knowledge while writing the best answers.
- Use keyword tools to find what people are searching for in your niche. If you include keywords in your answers, only do it naturally and do not keyword stuff.
- Always remember to only link to information pages that are directly related to the question. Anything else is likely to get flagged.
The danger with using Yahoo! Answers and linking to your site is your answers getting flagged and deleted as spam. This can happen even when you give good answers as competitors sometimes deliberately flag others to try to get their own content ranked higher. By answering questions that are about to go into voting, you are reducing the chances of this happening. However, the possibility of getting too many answers flagged and losing your account is very real. This is another reason why it usually makes sense to have several accounts.
A case study on the effectiveness of using Yahoo! answers can be found here.