A wide array of new media channels has emerged on the scene, proving to be a major boon especially for small-sized business entities with limited marketing budgets. One of them is ubiquitous Q&A sites that are now greatly facilitating brand promotion through real-time engagement. This is a significant social media trend that savvy digital marketers and SEO experts cannot afford to ignore.
A new SEO-friendly format
Google tested a new option last year, to let users restrict the search results to only Q&A sites like Stack Overflow, Askville or Yahoo Answers. After having enabled ‘search options’, they could click on ‘discussions’ and choose the ‘Q&As’ segment. The smart snippets of Google would consist of useful information, including the total number of answers, the date of the latest answer, and so on. It could also be possible to locate pages on basis of the answer’s length.
How Q&A score over other content forms?
Traditional forums at times get loaded with random discussions, diluting the topical relevance, whereas those on a Q&A site is much narrower in focus, leading to relevant answers. One way you can consider them is as a cache for the practical research people carry searching things online and asking other people. People who visit the specific question pages rate the answers; the best or the most popular ones rise to the top and make it prominently visible.
The core issue though, is: Does a Q&A site really perform better than traditional forums plugins in optimization terms or in search results? The answer has largely to do with on-site SEO in both the cases, but the marketing experts are clearly tilting towards the former, as it presumably has a better architecture with a properly thought-out taxonomy, to help build internal link ‘neighborhoods’ on a particular topic. If executed properly, this definitely can improve crawl efficiency.
From the branding point of view, they make communication with focused or targeted audience possible, enhancing changes of conversions. Corporate houses can gather precious insight into the customers’ mindset by keeping a tab on the user interaction within a specific domain or community.
Focus on brand building
If you wish to build a profile, try to make it as thorough and professional as possible. Users should feel you’re an expert in the field they are interested in. You can enhance your credentials by genuinely responding to public queries, no matter how trivial they might seem. Avoid jargon or overtly technical terms because you are generally interacting with your prospects, not fellow experts.
Q&A sites offer an excellent means of developing your brand and building a reputation even while working to funnel valuable traffic to your site. They have intrinsic SEO benefits accrued through any links that you include. Just ensure that you link to related content pages on your site, and not to a product promotion or sales page, which might wean away visitors as soon as they check in, having an adverse impact and defeating the very purpose of this exercise.