In the spirit of my traffic generation post and Kristi’s book (click for my review of Blog Post promotion book), I decided to bring one thing closer to you – using Yahoo! Answers for traffic generation and blog post promotion.
What will you find in this post?
A detailed tutorial on how to use Yahoo! Answers and what options are there. That is the “technical” part. For the non-technical part, I will tell you how to use it to get the max out of it and what results have I had with YA.
Also, if something is not important, I will skip it and try to make it as simple and useful as I can.
Before we start with Yahoo! Answers
The first thing you will need is a Yahoo account. I am sure almost everyone has it, but if not, go register one.
Once you have a Yahoo account, log in and go to Answers.yahoo.com. That is where all this fun will be happening.
Let’s get on with it
The first thing you will see on the home page, and the most important, will be this:
As you can see, there are four tabs. I will explain each and every.
One little note about “best answer” I will be mentioning a lot. Obviously there are questions and answers. But in YA there is the “best answer” which is the one that has been chosen either by the person who asked the question or other YA users.
That answer is featured under the question, gets the most points and that is the spot you want your answers to be in. There are usually 4 days to answer the question.
I will start with About tab, so you can start using YA right from the first moment.
About tab on Yahoo! Answers
The links that you will see when you hover over this tab are:
- How answers works – where you can learn the very basics of the service.
- Points & Levels – will show you the exact number of points you will gain or lose depending on different actions taken in YA. Your level on YA depends on the number of points you collect. Study it so you know what to expect.
- Community Guidelines – dos and don’ts of YA.
It is important to know a few things when it comes to points and levels. To get people to click your link on YA, you need that link to be live.
The links you post as a level 1 user are not live! Still, that does not mean you should not post any. Because once you become a level 2 user, all of your links will become live (clickable).
Home tab on Yahoo! Answers
There are three choices in the YA home tab:
- Ask questions
- Answer questions
- Discover great answers
When you type the question in the field and hit Continue, you will be taken to a new, more detailed version of asking the question.
You have the option to write more details about the question. The next window you will get is the one where you will choose the category of your question. After that, you can preview and submit your question.
This option will basically open resolved questions (you can’t answer those) in all categories for deeper browsing.
Answer questions – Browse Open Questions option will take you to a new window where you can do a more detailed browsing.
Arrow number 1 – choose a category.
Arrow number 2 – choose if you want to browse:
- Open questions you can add the answer to.
- In voting means you can only vote on the already given answers.
- Resolved are questions that already have the best answer chosen.
Arrow number 3 – You can sort the questions in several ways:
- newest to oldest and vice versa
- most popular
- fewest answers to most answers and vice versa
Before I go on with this part, let me give you a few tips on these options.
Good ideas for the question browsing
Although you will be using Open questions to sort the ones you can give an answer to, you should not easily discard In voting and Resolved ones.
You can use In voting questions to vote on the offered answers and gain points. Be fair and don’t blind vote, YA is a great community and it would be nice that the best answers are really the best.
You can use Resolved questions to learn what type of answers are the best ones. That way you can always post great answers and hopefully be chosen as “best answer”.
Browse categories tab
If you hover over it, you will get the list of all categories that you can then click on. If you click the tab, you will get the window like in the image above, for further browsing.
Search Yahoo! Answers
As you can see in the first image, at the bottom, there is a Search option where you can type in your keyword and do a search on it. If you choose the Advanced Search, you can choose what type of questions you want to be listed.
For example, if you want to answer questions about Twitter, you will type in Twitter and choose open questions in Advanced search.
How do you answer a question?
Click on the image to enlarge it and see the simple steps you need to take after you find an open question you want to answer.
My activity tab
Here is a screenshot of my YA profile:
This tells you straight away why I had great success with Yahoo! Answers. Out of 75 answers I posted over there, 71% were chosen as Best answers.
I am actually very inactive on YA but still have great results. The time I was really active was when I was trying to get to level 2 so my links would become live links.
Why is this percentage important? Some can say it isn’t. But a lot of people will take a look at your profile before deciding if they should trust your answers or not. The higher percentage of best answers, the more they trust you.
That means that you establish yourself as an expert (I don’t like this word, though) in your niche. That simply means you will get more clicks on your links.
How to get high percentage of best answers?
You must choose both questions and answers carefully!
Some good questions to answer are:
- The ones that were just posted and seem urgent. There is a big possibility that the person who asked it, will choose your answer as the best one, straight away.
- The ones that are about to be closed. You can read the answers and write a better one.
- The ones with no answers.
How to answer:
- Write an answer that fully answers the question. Don’t make people click to find the full answer, that doesn’t usually work on YA.
- Attach a link in the Source box, not the answer!
- Don’t attach link to every answer you make! I usually answer 2 questions without links and one with a link.
Why shouldn’t you attach links all the time? You are kinda competing with other YA users. Some of them will report (flag) answers out of pure jealousy. I saw too many accounts being closed for no obvious reason.
However, you can complain about it and if your account is restored, the person who reported you will have “less weight” next time they report someone.
Why should you avoid to answer questions with too many answers? Because when it comes to voting, no one is really going to read through 20 answers and vote for yours (or any best one). They will just blind vote and that can ruin your score.
OK, I am talking the talk, let me walk the walk. Here are two of my best answers, posted 7 months ago. One was chosen as the best by the person who asked the question and one was chosen by voters (the questions are related to my pet site):
Let’s analyze them.
My answers are easier to read than others (formatting). They fully answer the questions. They both have links but only as a “source of my info”, the whole info is in the answer. They won over some of the Top contributors’ answers.
I think if you read all the answers, you will see how different they are.
Important thing to consider
Why should you always go for the best answer? As I mentioned, if your answer gets chosen as the best one, it will be displayed immediately below the question, at the top of the page.
Yahoo! Answers come up in search results a lot! So if your answer is the best and someone is searching for that question in Google, guess what that means. Yes, you are gonna get some traffic.
Don’t forget one more awesome possibility when it comes to using YA. When you read so many questions in your niche, you will notice a pattern.
Some questions are asked over and over again. Those are great post ideas. You can get literally thousands of post ideas from Yahoo! Answers.
A friend of mine that has a site about health answered a YA questions once. The questions was along the lines if there is any use of eating the orange pulp. She answered the question the best she could and attached the link to her post about oranges and health on her site :)
Believe it or not, that question and her (best) answer was featured on Yahoo Home page as one of the stories of the day (yes, that can happen) and you can only imagine how many visits she got that day and for some time after it. We are talking about tens of thousands people in a day!
Yahoo! Answers can be a great source of traffic if used properly. It can also help you promote your blog by answering related questions and pointing people to some of your posts.
You should definitely play fair there, cause you don’t want to be banned and kill that traffic source.
Yahoo! Answers is perfect for any blog and any niche!