Research and Answer Questions Online to Build Links
Link building remains an integral part of building an online business, but it is something that a lot of people struggle with. Since Google now frowns upon buying and selling links, and traditional avenues such as blog comments are becoming harder to get a return out of, what options do we have for getting high-value links that will actually benefit our websites. One option that will bring valuable link juice to your site and also help you to get more web traffic is to research and answer questions online and to include your desired links in some of the answers.
Examples of Link Types:
- Exact Match: How to make money from home
- Phrase Match: How can I make money from home
- Broad: Making Money
Useful Answer Sites for Link Building
If you want to try going down the question-answering route for your online marketing, then the first step will be to find sites that allow you to answer questions. The most well-known site for this sort of thing is Quora. Quora aims to be a one-stop-shop for Q&As, to the point that it does not allow people to answer a question simply by saying “this link has the answer“. Rather, Quora tells users that the entire answer must be present in the text that they post. That doesn’t mean that links are allowed.
However, let’s imagine that you are trying to promote a site that has some weight-loss tools, including a BMI calculator. If you were to stumble across a question asking whether BMI was a useful measure, and how to calculate BMI, then you would answer with an explanation of the original BMI formula, a description of the changes that the proposed ‘new’ formula included, a discussion of muscle mass and body fat percentage, and a statement that “If you don’t want to figure out your BMI by hand, there is a free tool on this website…“. Such an answer is highly likely to get approved because it is in-depth, insightful and accurate, and the link adds value to the answer. Quora is just one site, though.
When you start to research and answer questions online you should look to participate in as many different sites as possible. The more sites you participate in, the more links you will be able to get, and the less risk there is of losing out on a lot of traffic if a site decides to change its link policy.
Yahoo Answers is another good site for building links. It has been around for a long time and it still has a vibrant user base. The users on Yahoo Answers tend to skew younger, and there is a lot of spam because Yahoo is much easier going about what is and is not allowed on the site. In spite of this, it can be a good place for you to promote your businesses. There are some other sites, such as Answers.com, that also allow users to answer questions. These sites get far less traffic than the big two, however. This means that while your answers are likely to be competing against fewer other answers for attention, you’ll also find that there are fewer questions being asked and that there are fewer people visiting to even see your content.
Niche Sites For Q&A
In addition to general answer sites, you will find that there are plenty of options to research and answer questions online on more niche platforms. For example, if you operate a business aimed at tourists you might find that you can answer questions on Yelp. If you are trying to reach parents, then getting involved in the debates on Mumsnet is a good idea.
There are lots of sub-forums on Reddit (known as subreddits, in their own terminology) that deal with incredibly specific subjects ranging from martial arts to work productivity. Getting involved with those as a user of the community is a good way to boost your profile overall, and you can answer questions as and when they crop up. Many sites have a Karma or rating system, or an option for people to ‘Thank’ your posts, so you will be able to tell quite easily whether the content you are sharing is of interest to them.
It’s important to understand the balance between spamming and actually participating in the community. Most niche sites will not look kindly upon people who just spam their users with links to their own blog or with promotional materials. However, if you actually participate in discussions, offer advice even when it is not self-serving, and get involved with general/fun discussions you will find that the members of the community are more receptive when you do post links to your own content marketing.
Finding the Time to Research and Answer Questions Online
Of course, being involved with a lot of communities can be time-consuming. No one person can be involved with them all. There is some value to paying others through PayPal to do a part of the work for you. Pick the highest-profile sites, and work on them yourself, but outsource some of the other work to other people. Indeed, having links coming from other accounts could well be useful.
Aim to spend a few minutes each day logging on and managing each of your accounts. If you make it a routine you will find that it is easy to keep up and that you will be more productive than if you spend several hours browsing each site. Remember that your goal is to answer questions, and reference your site. Most Q&A sites frown upon affiliate links, and will not respond well if you spam such links.
There are ways of bringing in income from affiliate marketing websites – such as posting content to YouTube with links in annotations, but that would be best saved for a guide to monetising YouTube. Q&A sites, and related niche sites such as StackExchange, are a great option for raising awareness of your own content. It will take patience to gain traction with this sort of work, however, and it’s not something that you can see returns from in a day or two.