I previously wrote about How to Use Yahoo Answers to Promote Your Business . The article was first written in 2007 when I just started to top the Business and Finance category, and 2 years later, I am still in the top 10 of the Business and Finance category.
Why use Yahoo Answers? For PowerHomeBiz.com, Yahoo Answers has offered a number of benefits:
- Free traffic – we always love free!
- Lots of traffic – with more than 21 million users in the US and 90 million outside, YA can potentially bring huge traffic (and free!)
- Responsiveness to ads – I’m a numbers person, and I love to slice and dice our web stats. One of my important finding is that traffic from YA has brought us a huge chunk of advertising income, and that alone is the main reason why I spend a lot of time on YA.
Marketing through Yahoo Answers is not easy. Unlike Twitter where you drop your link in 140 characters, you need to actually answer the question — and some of the questions can be detailed and even tedious. Plus, YA doesn’t allow dropping links for the sake of merely dropping links.
So how can you use YA to promote your business?
1. Be relevant = Relevance is the key. You can only drop your links either in the source box or in the actual answer IF AND ONLY IF the link is actually relevant to the question.
My strategy is to drop PowerHomeBiz.com links only if I actually got the answer from any of our pages. For example, a question on what business should I start, I paraphrase the content of our article Choosing the Best Home Business to Start and then put the article in the source code. If anyone complains about spamming, I can easily argue that the source is where I actually got the answer.
2. Lose the signature file. See #1 tip. Sig file is the easiest way to be pinned for spamming, especially if your link has absolutely nothing to do with the question at hand, and you post the same link again and again in your answers. It’s the quickest way for your account to be suspended (and yes, YA also kicks out people, though you can easily create a new account).
3. Put your website/s information in your Profile page. YA allows users to promote their businesses in their profile. Use this to your advantage.
4. Be visible. The more visible you are, the more chances people are (a) going to check out your profile page; and (b) going to click on your website links in your answers or in your source boxes.
5. Provide the best answer — ALWAYS. Think of YA as your opportunity to present to potential target market that you are the best with what you do, or at least knowledgeable of your sector. They are more likely to check you out if they like what they read from your answers.
One more benefit of giving the best answers is increased visibility as you will start climbing up the category or subcategory, if not the country-specific or global leaderboards. Those leaderboards are great marketing tools as they represent the best in that category (however “best” is defined — best cheater, best answerer, best strategist). BAs mean 10 points, so getting more BAs can help you go up the leaderboards much faster compared to the 2 points of just giving out answers.
6. Come to YA with a strategy. One common tactic, especially of those with incredibly high best answer percentage is to answer only questions with 0 response and then voting for their own answer, thereby guaranteeing that they get the Best Answers (not that I do this).
Voting for your answer is not a violation (though YA at one point banned people from voting for their own answer but was quickly overturned). And answering questions with 0 answers is not a violation, either. These strategies are commonly frowned upon, but they are not considered to be against the rules.
So what is my strategy? I have a 150-page document of all my answers in YA. So if someone asks about angel investors, I have a ready answer that I can paste. If someone asks about what is Adsense, I also have a ready answer for that. I even have 10 variations on “getting a grant” type of question — for Qs on grants for school, grants for non profits, grants for starting a business, even getting grants for felons. I can provide my answers fast, just slightly modifying the response based on the actual question. On lazy days, I simply search for questions — e.g. business plan — and then pasting my pre-prepared response. Some users don’t like it, but hey, my response answers the questions and that’s all that matters!
7. Vote for your own answers. As I previously said, YA allows you to vote for your own answer. If you think you answered the best, why will you allow someone who answered “Google it!” or “I don’t know” win out over your well-thought out answer? It doesn’t make sense. Give your answers a fighting chance by taking time to review all Qs in voting and vote for your own answer. Given that askers rarely come back and choose the BA, you stand a high chance of getting BAs for your answers.
8. Protect your account. Yes, there’s a lot of trolls in YA and competitors who want to sabotage your account. If you don’t protect yourself, you’ll find yourself getting lots of Violation Notices. I even got a VN for spamming because I directed the user to the SBA.gov website!
I used to have my account open to the public so anyone and everyone can read and learn from my answers. After someone went over my responses and voting for No Best Answer (if NBA wins, the Q will be deleted) even if I and the other respondents gave on-target answers. So now, I protect my account by:
- Keeping my account private.
- I don’t accept fans — unless I know and trust them. I used to have 500+ fans, but I removed all of them.
9. Increase your reporting trust level. Part of #8, but deserves a thorough discussion. YA’s community moderation system allows users to file an abuse report for any violations they see or perceive on the site — from spamming, solicitation, malicious codes, violence or threats, fraud, and others.
The more you report abuses correctly, the higher your reporting trust level and the faster you can delete content in YA. In less than 2 minutes sometimes, you’ll have the instant gratification of seeing your reported content to be removed from YA (to prevent abuse, they allow only 5 instant deletions from that same user, then your reports go to Yahoo customer care or YA staffers). Go after the very obvious spammers — those who post their blogspot link with no other answer, the credit/loan solicitation — as the abuse reports are likely to stick and they are not likely to defend their answers.
Another benefit of reporting correctly — and increasing your trust level — is that it becomes harder for anyone to report your content and delete it immediately from YA. You need this protection so that others, with lower trust ranking than you, cannot remove your answers by themselves.
10. Read, and re-read the Community Guidelines. Follow the rules, and you will have more opportunities to market your business to YA users. Read the Suggestion Forum as well for some tips from oldtimers on how to navigate YA.