A ‘growth hack’ is a strategy that you can use in order to accelerate the growth of a website, a blog or another form of business.
Often, this means a way to generate more traffic quickly and then to trigger continued, accelerating growth over the coming weeks and months.
There are many growth hacks out there but they are not all made equal. Some work very well all the time, some hardly ever work and some never work.
Well, here’s one that works a lot. And it’s one that works well with very little downside.
I’m not going to tease you any more. What’s this magic trick? Simple: answer people’s questions on sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers.
As you are likely aware, Quora and Yahoo Answers are sites where members of the public can ask questions and then anyone can answer those questions.
For instance, you might ask someone how to solve a coding problem, you might ask someone something about history, you might ask someone something about your workouts… the list goes on.
Most of these questions will be people who have problems they want help with. Others will be questions that are intended as a little fun.
A few examples of things on Quora right at the moment include:
“What is your favorite album to listen to in its entirety with a good pair of headphones?”
“Is C++ becoming outdated in 2017?”
“Can you find a person’s location with a text message to their phone?”
“Is building a real Ironman suit possible?”
Each of these has a lot of different answers. Some of these answers include images and some include links. The answers can be upvoted or downvoted.
So your job as a marketer is simply to answer these kinds of questions and in doing so, to include a link back to your website in a way that is genuine, subtle and helpful.
For instance, one person asked recently whether they should learn Unity or Unreal for game development (these are game engines – tools that can be used to create videogames). One user gave a helpful answer and then followed up with this statement:
“I found a useful post on this topic, probably, you might find some detailed comparison between Unity and Unreal there: Unity vs Unreal, How to Pick The Right Game Engine – LiveEdu.tv”
Grammar aside, you can see that this link is not invasive or in your face, but that it subtly encourages the reader to go and check out the link.
What’s important to recognize here is that the member answered the question first. That way, they aren’t just spamming, but also providing genuinely useful information as well.
Yahoo Questions works in a very similar way.
So, what makes Quora so powerful as a way to get traffic to your site?
Well, the most obvious advantage is that this is a completely free and very easy way to gain backlinks. Anyone can sign up and start sharing answers. You don’t need to pay and you don’t need to try and negotiate a guest post exchange. You just log in, post your answers and you’re away!
Another great advantage is that this is something that is relatively quick and easy for anyone to handle. What you might not realize is just how much quicker it is to write an answer to a question, versus writing something from scratch.
Answering questions provide us with context and often the words flow off the tongue (or fingers!) a lot more easily.
Those links are then permanent. That means you’re going to get long term traffic. I still get a fair amount of traffic from a single post I wrote in 2013. That’s a lot of value for not much work!
Better yet, is that pages on Quora will often rank quite highly in Google. One of the big reasons for this is the ‘question and answer’ nature of Quora. As you know already, Google looks for keywords in text. These are words or phrases that people are likely to search for.
Well guess what? A lot of people word their searches as questions. People literally ‘ask Google’ a host of things like how they can lighten their skin, why people get jealous, why the sky is blue, what that mole on their stomach is.
A website can try to rank for these search terms, but it’s very difficult to include keywords phrased as questions in a way that feels natural and doesn’t draw attention to itself. Perhaps you’ve seen in the past people write things like:
“So, you want to know how do I build muscle?”
That’s exactly what they’re trying to do!
But Quora doesn’t have to try and therefore, it ranks well for a lot of questions.
And if you have a link on a Quora question that ranks at the top of Google, then that’s not far from actually having your own link at the top of Google. Someone searches for ‘how to build muscle quickly’, they see the Quora answer at the top, they click it, and then they follow the link through to your page.
This way, you’re getting a lot of traffic from Google and benefiting from the authority of Quora, all without having to rank your own site. It’s significantly easier as a solution!
Another big benefit of Quora is that it allows you to get a feel for what is one the mind of the community. People will tend to search for different things depending on the Zeitgeist.
I wrote this around the time that Sonic Mania was released and as such, that’s what a lot of the questions are about. A lot of other questions are also about Donald Trump and North Korea, which have been in the news lately.
This is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse and not only that, but also to make sure that you are seen to be riding the crest of that wave!
Less Direct Benefits
Finally, there are less direct benefits to having your link on Quora. That is to say, ways that you will benefit that aren’t based on people clicking links and actually visiting your site.
For instance, when people see your posts, they might not always click on the links. But even if they don’t click the link, that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in them having seen your name and seen your link.
If they know that going to ‘workout tutorials.com’ is a great way to learn more about training, then they might consider typing that URL in the next time they want to learn about that subject.
Another less ‘direct’ benefit, is that posting on Quora can provide you with a way to build your reputation and your standing in the community.
You can build yourself up to be seen as an authority and that can do a great deal of good when it then comes to getting people to notice what you’ve created.
We’ll come to this more in a moment…
So, with that in mind, how do you use sites like Quora to the very best of their potential?
The first key, is to pick and choose your questions carefully. That means you should pick questions that you think are likely to get a lot of attention and that are directly relevant to the niche of your post.
In other words, choose things that you know people want to know about and that people are currently searching for.
Another tip is to make sure – as we touched on briefly already – that you are definitely providing value.
If you simply post a link to your site, or write an answer that doesn’t really help, then this can actually result in your post being downvoted or even removed. Not only that, but when people see your brand, they’re now going to associate it with cheap spam.
Similarly, only post links to your own content if it genuinely helps people and is directly relevant to the content. In other words, if someone asks about HIIT, don’t answer and then post a link to ‘AllWorkouts.com’, telling them it’s a great place to learn about working out.
Instead, post an answer and then link them to an article that explains HIIT in more depth. This could mean that you have to write a post on that subject specifically: this is no bad thing! In fact, if you use the questions on Quora to suggest future topics, this is a pretty great way to come up with ideas that you can be confident there is an audience for!
Another tip is to write the right kind of posts for your own site then, thinking about ways to help people. This is the perfect way to approach any niche and so you would do well to check Quora regularly particularly to check the subject matter that most interests you.
One of the best types of post you can create for this purpose (and actually one of the best types in general) is the ‘resource post’.
A resource post is a post that is intended to act as a kind of ‘one-stop shop’ for a given subject matter and that you think can provide all the detailed information and ideas that the audience wants to know on that topic.
For instance, you could create:
“The Ultimate Comprehensive Guide to HIIT: Workouts, Science, Variations and the Best Diet and Supplements to Go With It”
Something like this you can link to regularly and if you are seen to be doing so – and if it really is a 7,000 word ultimate guide – then you may find that others are keen to link in too.
Quora and Yahoo Answers are sites that are designed to be used for questions and answers and you’ll find there are plenty more out there that do the same thing.
But keep in mind that all of this advice can hold true for practically any online community. Nearly any forum, comments section or social site like Reddit will have people asking questions where you can post answers.
And Reddit is a perfect tool for building more traffic. Not only is Reddit used by a huge number of people but it also has all the same benefits as other options on this list thanks to the fact that people ask questions on specific subject matters and those questions can then rank in Google like any other web page.
Better yet, Reddit is a very active and thriving community and it is a perfect place to meet other like minded people and to discuss with them the subject matters you’re interested in.
And here’s where I want to touch on becoming an authority again. Because if you’re part of an active community and people learn to recognize your name, then you can build your influence even without having your own page or your own site.
And when you do that, it only takes for you to post something that you recommend and people will click on it because they have come to trust what you say and what you recommend.
In the best case scenario, these people won’t just trust what you say and think of you as an authority – they can also come to like you, to feel obligated to you for helping you, and even come to think of you as a kind of friend. They may never have met you, but they’ve joked with you, shared tips and more.
And if you gain that kind of status before you recommend a site or a YouTube channel, you’ll be amazed at the impact this can have.
People will want to help you succeed. They’ll share your content, they’ll shout your name from the rooftops and they’ll turn a blind eye to your mistakes.
This is what makes all the difference. It’s about providing value and it’s about using these communities to become an active member and not just seeing them as a place to promote your wares!
Our next post in this series will look at how to drive more traffic to your business website using Google Image Search.