Will Quora Survive #IN 2011?
2011/01/17 Leave a comment
Quora helps people with answers offer them to people with questions, but will it survive in 2011?
People driven question and answer sites have long offered a unique and simple way to find answers to questions that were either too awkward to describe or that different people described different ways–Ask Jeeves was the one I remember and for its time, it was brilliant.
Ask Jeeves let you enter your question the same way you would talk about it to your neighbour–no special language or boolean searches, just type, and this was a breath of fresh air when the internet was young, Yahoo the leader and Google grinding in the market attempting to convince advertisers they were better.
When Google spiders and algorithms go smarter typing the same words into Google would bring back many more answers though it was fairly simple to scan twenty or thrity possibilities and find answers that were richer than Ask Jeeves. Google then was what Wikipedia is today, simply the best way to find answers.
Google later evolved their advertising model and search engine spider algorithms and a funny thing happened, small entrepreneurs realized they could generate content to feed the always hungry spiders and advertisers in order to lift their rank in the search engine results pages. Almost anyone could rank highliy with enough effort or by hiring SEO gurus to do the work for them, and then, just as it happened to Yahoo, the market moved to Social Media platforms like MySpace Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Suddenly people found that they trusted people to provide them answers to questions rather than the search engine spiders that were fed by the advertising agencies that they served. Quora found an opportunity.
SEARCH and SEO
SEO and search are tightly intertwined as Search offers value to searchers who need to find products, people or answers to questions. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a means for companies with web sites or other content to attract the attention of search engine spiders and offer content that will float to the top when a searcher enters specific word combinations or keywords into a search engine window.
SEO depends on search engine spiders rewarding companies and search engines spiders need SEO consultants to organize data for them in a way that searchers can understand once it is delivered in response to keywords entered. The relationship is symbiotic, neither would exist without the other.
SEO and Answers
When searchers enter questions into search enginess the search engine algorithms looks for content that corresponds with those keywords and more often than not the content is not specifically related to an answer to that question but rather the corresponding SEO optimization or content links to web sites or content.
Impatient searchers now essentially have to figure out which content is actually an answer to their question.
SEO appears to add value to searchers while taking value away from brand owners by offering anyone a simple way to promote a website or product regardless of whether they own a product or brand. Search any brand name and you will see these SEO crews who stand between buyers and sellers on the internet.
Answers, Flocks and Swarms
While the internet helps us to find answers, hundreds or thousands of answers may be more difficult to deal with than no answers. Flocks or swarms have an optimal size according to the object of the group and being too large is a problem so that it appears that sites like Quora may quickly become un-manageable.
Flocks, Swarms and Trust
Quora, like other answer sites, depends on flocks or swarms to provide answers to questions, but is it possible to trust an answer that doesn’t align to the way you do business or measure success?
Answers may not fit questions for any number of reasons, including;
- Do posters have credibility?
Do Answers fit your situation?
Are Answers or Questions posted to boost SEO?
Will Quora Survive in 2011?
As huge flocks of people gather to ask and answer questions in Quora it will be interesting to see if they can survivie the onslaught of contradictory forces created by SEO crews or by visitors being overwhelmed by the number of questions and answers.