Looking for additional leads and sales online? Are you a professional service business like a lawyer or a dentist? Perhaps you are in retail services of some sort like a salon, massage, or waxing. Question and answer sites like Yahoo answers (YA) could be a very effective lead generation source, and certainly drive more qualified traffic to your website.
The goal of this post is to show you what’s possible with an actual client of ours that has been using YA for four years, and to show you how to set up a system to make it easier to find and respond to questions.
Although paid search marketing (PPC) with Google Adwords, social media, and even advertising on Yelp are common tactics, consider using question and answer sites to drive additional qualified leads and traffic back to your website. There are a number of Q&A sites out there, but Yahoo Answers is the most popular Q&A site on the web.
So what is Yahoo Answers? It’s the largest Q&A site where people come together to ask questions and receive answers. If you’ve never visited the site you can find it here, answers.yahoo.com. There are literally dozens of categories and hundreds of sub-categories that people are asking questions about. From Arts and Humanities to Travel and everything in between.
However, like all things in business sites like Yahoo Answers require commitment and effort over time to see payback.
Lets look at the potential. Below are the top 4 traffic sources in the last 30 days for a dentist client. You can see Yahoo Answers is the 4th largest source of traffic to the website behind Google organic search, PPC, and direct, so a pretty substantial referring site.
Over the course of two years we can see Yahoo Answers traffic increase steadily:
After you’ve been a member for a while on Yahoo Answers and gotten past the initial levels, which is achieved through earning points by answering questions, you are allowed to drop links to your website in your answers. Don’t think about spamming YA though, you’ve got to earn some trust in the community before you can put links in your answers. However, once you can add links you can land visitors on interior pages that are highly relevant to the questions people are asking.
Here’s a screen shot of all the different pages people have landed on from Yahoo Answers in the last 30 days. As you can see YA visitors have landed on 6 different pages deep within the site.
So it’s clear that you can send very qualified website traffic from Yahoo Answers, but now let’s discuss how to set up a reporting system that allows you to easily find answers that you can respond to. Browsing around YA on your own looking for questions is not an efficient use of your time. However, using RSS (really simple syndication) feeds and your favorite RSS reader you can create a dashboard and pull in the RSS feed for each of the categories and topics you’re interested in which will make it very easy to scan all the questions and respond to the one’s you’re interested in. There are a number of different RSS aggregators that you can use, in this particular case I prefer Netvibes, but you could also use Google Reader or any other popular RSS reader.
As an example, let’s say we’re a dentist and want to pull in questions related to tooth implants. From the YA home page type in a topic you’re interested in, for example, tooth implants.
From there you will see a page of results for everything related to “tooth implants”. Don’t forget to sort by “Newest” or it will show you questions sorted by relevance, not the newest. You need the newest questions because Yahoo Answers are only open to answers for several days and then they are closed to responses. In the screen shot below we can see the top question was asked 7 hours ago, the one following that 14 hours ago so they are new.
Build Your Yahoo Answers Q&A Dashboard, Feed Your RSS Reader
Now you want to capture the RSS feed for this search put it in your RSS reader. In the lower left column you will see the RSS link.
When you click on the RSS link just copy the RSS feed URL for and drop it into your RSS reader.
In my case I’m using Netvibes and this is a snippet of what the dashboard looks like for a dental client.
Once you have the dashboard up you can easily see all the different questions being asked in the various topics you’re monitoring.
So what about you? Have you utilized Yahoo Answers or other Q&A sites? I would love to hear your comments below.