Quora vs Yahoo Answers: Which Q&A Site is Better for Your Business?

Graph: Yahoo Answers and Quora compared on Google Trends for Websites (plus Twitter and Tumblr for a better perspective)

Many people ask questions on the Web, especially on search engines like Google but also on social media. Even in cases where they don’t ask a question containing a question mark most queries are indeed questions as well, it’s just that people don’t enter the whole sentence in the Google search box.

When you search for [best smartphone] you are actually asking “what is the best smartphone”. Even a search for smartphone itself implies that you are looking for the best or at least most popular smartphone.

Right now we have a new frenzy on social media and the uber-hypebeasts Techcrunch and Robert Scoble are heavily promoting it. Pundits proclaim the next Twitter etc.

People have already written why such a hype is generally a bad idea and in the case of Quora particularly.

I’ve been on Quora for a few days now and have tested it so to say. Still there is Yahoo Answers, the number one Q&A site out there, the elephant in the room you have to beat to become the next big thing. Otherwise you’re just an also ran. I’m not a Yahoo Answers expert but I have advised small business owners to participate there in the past. Why?

Let me tell you again pointing out the reasons why. As Quora is so popular among early adopters now I’d like to compare them with Quora. Does Quora have the same or other advantages?

Who uses the site?

Q: Elite. Tech pundits, entrepreneurs, early adopters, bloggers, marketers, social media mavens.

YA: Everybody. John Doe and his wife and even kids.

Who is your audience?

Are you selling high quality services and goods for professionals and other businesses? Use Quora.

Are you selling large numbers of products or local services to average people? Use Yahoo Answers.

Who are you?

Are you an accomplished expert with lots of time? Use Quora. Otherwise you don’t have a chance to stand out. For instance every question about SEO gets answered by renowned SEO expert Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz. In other areas there are sometimes dozens or even hundreds of answers provided by highly skilled professionals. There is no room for you in case you aren’t a leader already. Although I’m pretty known in SEO circles I can’t compete with Rand who has a whole team of people working for him. He has the time to answer questions for free while others do the paid work for him. I don’t. Do you?

Are you the average business owner or freelancer like I am? Use Yahoo Answers, The answers are mostly so low quality that you can easily stand out. Real people aka potential clients read your advice and click your links. Of course you have to say more than “my SEO company is the best” but even some people get away with that low quality approach. You can perform better than that.

Are you after a good rep, authority and trust? Use Quora. Here you can build a reputation for yourself competing with the best of the best. You have to spend a few hours a day on it but it’s a long time investment. Then one day you can show that most people consider your answers and expertise to be worth it. Then you can earn money with it.

Are you after traffic, leads or even sales? Do you need to earn money right now? Don’t have the time to compete for days, weeks or months without getting something in return? Use Yahoo Answers. Here people are asking for things they need right now. They would pay for it. You don’t need to be the best expert on something as long as your answer makes sense.

I could ask question like these for a while but I don’t have the time. Also my impression is that I can’t cope with Quora.

The pace questions get asked, answered, liked etc. is too fast on Quora.

I’m spending most of my social media time on Twitter and I won’t build a new power profile from zero. Also there are other sites to consider joining which actually don’t cost so much time investment. Trunk.ly and Amplify actually save you time.

Btw. I even rejoined Yahoo to test Yahoo Answers again as I lost my two older accounts from years ago. Maybe I start using Yahoo Answer again. Judging from the replies to the SEO questions I could easily stand out in a positive way. Also Rand isn’ t there.

You can follow me on both Q&A sites, Yahoo Answers and Quora if you like but as I said I’m mainly on Twitter.