This is part two in a series on social marketing using Yahoo! Answers. You may want to start reading with the series introduction.
Yahoo! Answers is a popular question-and-answer service that’s grown to be the #2 reference site on the Internet. With such heavy traffic, YA offers opportunities for some businesses and professionals to gain exposure, improve branding, and acquire web site traffic. And Yahoo! is perfectly fine with using the service this way, so long as you work within the site guidelines.
Why Use Yahoo! Answers
YA is a natural fit for any business where knowledge and expertise is your main sales tool. Providing helpful answers that benefit the community is a great way to brand yourself and attract new visitors to your web site. Retail businesses are less likely to gain much traction on Yahoo! Answers, although there are some categories in the YA system where knowledge of certain product types can be shared.
The clients I’ve worked with recently haven’t quite been appropriate for using a service like Yahoo! Answers. So, my experience in using YA for marketing purposes is completely in relation to this blog. I tend to read and answer in categories related to the Internet, online marketing, SEO, and social media; occasionally I’ll find some questions in sports or other categories. On a good week, I spend about an hour or two browsing the site and finding questions to answer. I also subscribe to a handful of category RSS feeds, and find questions to answer that way.
When you use YA successfully, it can be a great source of referral traffic, as well as an indirect source of search engine traffic. Let me explain….
My Results with Yahoo! Answers
For 2007, Yahoo! Answers was the #4 referral source to this blog, behind StumbleUpon, Sphinn, and Google Reader/iGoogle. Here’s the top seven:
I circled two columns on the right. You’ll notice that Yahoo! Answers sends me the highest percentage of new visits, and those visitors have the lowest bounce rate. In other words, these are people who’ve never been here before, and don’t leave as soon as they arrive. That’s a golden combination of traffic stats, and a big reason why I love Yahoo! Answers.
Search Traffic, Too
Yahoo! Answers isn’t only about referral traffic. Search spiders are crawling the site deeply, and YA pages are showing up more frequently in the SERPs. That provides an opportunity to get traffic that begins at Google, Yahoo!, or MSN, and then goes through a YA page where you’ve left a helpful link. Consider this Google SERP for a search on the company name of a local search service:
That’s my own post coming in at #4 as I type this, and a Yahoo! Answers page coming in at #8. Well, when you click through to see the Yahoo! Answers page (link opens in a new window), you’ll see that another YA user — not me — answered a question with a link to Small Business SEM. Have a look:
The answer links to the same post that’s already up at #4 in Google’s SERPs, which means I indirectly have two of the top 10 search results for this company’s name — my own post, and the YA page which sends people to my post. Sweet.
So, how did that impact my traffic in 2007? Have a look at the top two sources of traffic to that post:
My own Google listing is #1, and the YA page is #2. I received an extra 4,251 pageviews thanks to Yahoo! Answers ranking highly in a Google search. Do you think your blog or site could use an extra 4,200 page views?
SERPs are always subject to change, but as I type this, here are some Yahoo! Answers pages that appear highly in various long-tail SERPs:
- “wisdom tooth help” – two of the Google top 10
- “life expectancy of goldfish” – two of the Google top 10 and #2 on Live Search
- “induce labor naturally” – #5 on Google
- “how fast does hair grow” – #2 on Google, #3 on Yahoo, and #1 on Live Search
- “eleven-sided” – two of the Google top 10 and #9 on Yahoo
Yep, it’s ironic that a Yahoo! property fares better in Google than in Yahoo! itself, but it’s no secret that Google loves authority domains/sites, and YA is becoming one of them.
The main point here in part two is that, if you use Yahoo! Answers wisely, there are opportunities to get direct referral traffic and indirect search traffic thanks to YA pages appearing in the SERPs.
Coming tomorrow in part three of this social marketing series: How To Use Yahoo! Answers.