A Quick Guide to Quora for the Small Business Owner

What is Quora?

There’s been a lot of buzz about a new platform called Quora, a question and answer site. What exactly is Quora, and how can you use it for your small business? Here is a quick guide you can use to learn the basics:

What is Quora?

Essentially, Quora is a place users can go to ask and answer questions. It combines a social and crowdsourcing approach to share and filter information and expertise. Think of it as a more collaborative, flexible Wikipedia, where anyone can post or answer a question and other users vote answers up or down in an attempt to showcase the most valuable insights and make sure quality content rises to the top. Plus, you can connect your account to Facebook and Twitter to share your questions and answers with your social graph. In addition, you can follow topics and other users on Quora, both of which directly impact your experience of the site. One thing that has built so much buzz for the site is the status of many of its initial users, including powerful and influential business figures.

Why Should I Use Quora?

Quora is both a place to find information and to showcase your own knowledge and expertise. For finding information, it’s different than conducting a search engine query, because the answers you will find have been answered and filtered (or voted up and down) by the site’s community rather than by a search algorithm.

Much of the buzz about Quora has been around how and why you can use the platform to share information, including marketing tactics like building expertise, generating leads, conducting market research, building inbound links, and developing a strong personal brand. In addition, you can use the influence you build on the site to shape the conversation and knowledge around subjects you care about, like the products or services your business sells.

For small business owners who want to build a robust web presence and power a personal brand, Quora offers the opportunity to develop and share your knowledge in an easy, flexible way.

Is Quora Indexed on Google?

Quora recently enabled public search so that Google and other search engines can index content from the site, meaning that questions and answers can now show up in Google search results, Google Alerts, and the like. However, you can enable search engine privacy, which tells search engines like Google not to index your profile page or your name where it shows up on Quora based on your activity under your profile. Your name will appear as an anonymous user to search engines if you enable this setting, but your content will still be indexed by search engines.

How Can I Get Answers on Quora?

When you first sign up, you will have a chance to follow people and topics you are interested in. This can help you discover answers and information. You can also use the search box at the top of the site to find existing questions, topics, and people. This search function can lead you to question and answer threads that may already have answers you are looking for. If you don’t find the question you want by searching, you can add a question directly to an existing topic or straight from the search bar.

Why Should I Answer Questions on Quora?

Answering questions on Quora is a good way to build expertise. And, getting on board early with the tool will give you a jump start on building your brand within your niche. It’s also important to have an active Quora profile in order to get the best SEO benefit. Since you can add links to sites in your profile, when you have an active, public profile, your answers, along with your name and other details you provide, will be indexed on search engines, adding another avenue for search discovery. Quora is also poised to become a useful tool for online reputation management, giving business owners another search-friendly way to answer questions about their business, products, and services.

Who Can Sign Up for Quora?

The site is designed for individual user accounts and does not have a structure for business or brand accounts. To represent a brand or company, you can add your job title, company name, and other details to your user headline or profile. You can also set up topic-specific bios for yourself. This allows you to brand a formal presence for questions you ask and answer for certain topics, such as those related to your business, industry, or market, and an informal presence on other topics, like your personal interests. In addition, you can choose to post a question as an anonymous user as needed.

Have You started using Quora?

If you haven’t tried Quora yet, create an account and take a little time to explore the site and examine how other people in your social graph are using it. Read a few questions and find topics and people that interest you so you can experience relevant content and learn the rules of engagement firsthand.

If you’ve started using Quora, what have been your initial thoughts and impressions?

Tiffany Monhollon

Tiffany Monhollon is an award-winning content, community, and social media marketing strategist who is passionate about helping businesses and professionals succeed online, currently serving as Director of Content Marketing at ReachLocal. She develops integrated strategies from the ground up, incorporating content, community, and social tactics to deliver online marketing, search optimization, social engagement, and reputation management results. She speaks and writes about online marketing and social media for sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, Small Business Trends, Media Post, Social Media Today, Business 2 Community, and the ReachLocal Online Marketing blog.

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