Why Quora is Turning into a High-Level Search Engine
For those of you who are not familiar with Quora, it is a question and answer site started by 2 former Facebook employees. The site is reportedly raising between $30-$50 million in series A funding at a $400 million valuation. So, people in the tech industry and venture capital see huge value in product that Quora has.
The competitive advantage for Quora is the fact that the site is frequented and used heavily by industry executives, innovators, and thought leaders. People like Marc Andreessen, the founder of NetScape and VC firm Andreessen-Horowitz, and Rand Fishkin, the founder of SEOmoz, are very active on the site. Users like this are what make the site so special and allow it to excel where sites like Yahoo! Answers have faltered in the past.
On Quora, you can follow users, topics, or specific questions. Because of the quality of users on the site there is instant credibility for the each of the answers. Also, the answers are voted on by other users so the top answer for each question rises to the top and the lower quality answer sink to the bottom. There is no second guessing because you are getting design advice from the best in the industry and fund raising advice from those who are actually putting their money in hands of entrepreneur’s. (Below are links to some of my favorites)
Rand Fishkin - Founder of SEOmoz
Mark Suster - Venture Capital
Mark Cuban – Owner, Dallas Mavericks
Kevin Rose - Founder, Digg
Matt Cutts - Google Head of Webspam
This is exactly why Quora is turning into a high-level search engine. I have been using the site for important design, marketing, and business decisions because I know that I can trust the answers that I find. And, if I can’t find an answer to the question that I am looking for, I just post the question in the relavent category and invite experts to answer it. To a certain extent, it is like getting free consulting advice from proven professionals.
For important decisions, I feel, you simply cannot trust Google. The quality and validity of the content has so much variance. Searching for answers on calculating ROAS (return on advertising spend), for instance, you will 2 different answers and a post unrelated to what you are looking for on the first page of results.
As Quora grows, the wealth of content will continue to get richer and the value will grow. Even over the last 6 months I have noticed that close to 90% of my searches already have answers. From my experience, that is up from about 60%-70% from last year. With this continued growth, Quora posts will begin showing up higher in search results and will receive more unique traffic. Also, with the growth, Quora will begin to become more of a full-functioning search engine because of the millions of answer available on the site.
For business and internet marketing, this offers an opportunity to share your expertise, too. Providing thoughtful answers can give you credibility and can drive traffic to your site, as you can link your profile to your website. It is another way to grow your brand and build your presence online.
Go ahead and try out the site the next time you have a question you can’t find an answer to on Google. Once you start using it is hard to turn back. Quality and credibility are key in business decisions and that is exactly what Quora provides.