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If you’re looking for a platform that will help broaden your online visibility, Quora is a great place to invest some time.

Quora is a Q&A community that’s highly underrated and underused in my opinion. This platform is all about building your authority on a specific topic and building relationships by answering questions with people who share similar ideas and interests.

As a small business owner, you need a well rounded inbound marketing strategy that encourages people to discover your product or service online. Quora can help you build your online reputation and guide prospects to discover you.

There’s a conversation happening right now on Quora with or without you. Joining that conversation can only benefit you. Here are 5 reasons why your small business should be active on Quora:

1. Quora is a great inbound marketing tool

Customers inhabit different spaces online. They’re looking for reliable information from people they can trust. The developers of Quora understand this, and that’s why they’ve integrated a DIGG-like voting mechanism for the quality of answers where users can vote up an answer. Also unlike Yahoo answers, Quora integrates Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, so it’s easy to follow your friends, which builds trust and legitimacy for the user. As the internet gets more convoluted with low quality content, users flock to the places they know and trust. It’s up to you to build that trust by sharing your expertise.

Quora allows you to give direct answers to anyone asking about your product or service. The more answers you supply, the bigger your influence on Quora will become. You also have an opportunity to share links to blog posts, product pages or other helpful pieces of content on your site. It should be noted that the Quora Community doesn’t like it when users leave shallow answers just to link back to their site. Make sure that if you are doing a little self-promoting, that you’re actually adding value and benefiting the community. Not doing so can hurt your online reputation.

Quora links are marked as “nofollow” which means they don’t pass any “link juice” to your site. However, adding links to answers on Quora is a great overall inbound strategy because you’ll increase your authority, drive traffic to your site and raise brand awareness. Plus no-follow links can help build a well-rounded backlink portfolio.

2. Search Engines crawl Quora’s content and add them to search results.

Because people are asking questions that are similar (if not exactly the same) as they are on Bing, Google and Quora, your answers to topic-relevant, keyword-rich questions, on Quora have a good chance of showing up in search results. This is especially true for longer, more specific queries. Here’s how the two search giants use Quora:

  • Bing & Quora: It’s been about 7 months since the red-headed step child of the search world, Bing, announced that Quora questions and answers have been added to their Social Sidebar. Bing is using Quora as a platform to pose legitimate answers to search queries to help provide a well-rounded search result for the user.Bing results on Quora.fw
  • Google & Quora: Maybe you don’t care about Bing, you never use it and don’t think your customers are using it either. Guess what? Google’s Quora integration is also quite advanced. Unlike Bing, Google simply might grab from Quora what they feel is the single best answer, based on its algorithm for any questions you might ask. Quora_SERP.fw

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3. Quora can help you do competitive and industry research.

Although it’s important to actively engage with the Quora community, it’s okay to sit back and observe what’s going on. Become an investigator; are your competitors using Quora? How do prospects weigh your competitors’ product or service against yours? What are their pros and cons, verses your pros and cons? Maybe there’s an opportunity to chime in about your product or service and explain your unique value proposition (remember: make sure you’re adding value and not just dropping a link). Are people expressing a common problem they need solved industry wide? Maybe there are ways to expand your product or service that you never thought of. It’s amazing what you can find out if you keep your ears open!

4. Quora can help you manage your online reputation.

Just like you can use Quora to keep an eye out to see what people are saying about your competitors, you can also set up Google alerts to monitor what people are saying about your own brand. Simply set up a Google Alert for the query “Quora Your Brand Name.” You can also monitor what people are saying about your industry, product/service and competitors with Google Alerts. Typically Twitter and Facebook are outlets that you should be using for customer service, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be keeping tabs on Quora and answering questions and concerns and responding to negative or positive feedback.

5. Quora is great for Content Marketing ideas.

As a small business, writing high quality content that speaks to your prospects and answers their questions should be the basis of your inbound strategy moving forward. It’s easier said than done, getting into the head space of potential clients and understanding the problems that they want solved. That’s how Quora can help. By searching through topics that relate to your product you will have a better understanding of the questions your prospects have and the language they use. Do prospects use industry jargon or are they using other words to describe your product or service? Here at SEO.com, we’re always learning the words that prospects use to describe SEO. Some might use phrases like, “how to rank higher in Google,” while others might associate SEO with “inbound marketing.” There might be questions that people are asking that are obvious to you but aren’t obvious to those not heavily involved in the industry. Find_Content_Ideas_through_Quora

When you see these types of questions a little bell should go off in your head. These are the types of topic ideas you should be crafting your content strategy around. (Pro-tip: write a micro post to answer questions for Quora and go in deeper detail on your blog where you can link to).

Quora has remained relatively spam-free due to the community they’ve built and their employees who monitor the site heavily. The reason why Quora is underused in my opinion is because it’s takes some serious time to answer questions intelligently on Quora, and people aren’t always willing to put in that time. The truth is that if your a small business owner you’re probably an expert in at least a few things, so don’t be shy about your expertise. The internet marketing strategies that won’t get wiped out by the next Google update are going to be the ones that provide value to those searching on Google, and these are the strategies that take the most time. Hopefully I’ve convinced you to at the very least check it Quora and see what you can find about your company, product or service.

Did I miss anything? How else do you use Quora for online marketing?