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SEOmoz is a leading SEO blog and they recently posted a very thoughtful essay on Q&A sites and the value of SEO. I encourage you to read the entire blog post, but I’ll offer a few highlights here.

For starters, there is a general encouragement that, despite Google’s recent farmer update, Q&A sites still are a great opportunity to build your own reputation and to do some back linking. If you’re not familiar with the farmer update, let’s just say that Google introduced an algorithm that put a slap on some of those how-to sites, what are generally referred to as “content farms.”

Interestingly, many of the sites that were affected are sites that are written by average Joes. These sites are HubPages, Squidoo, and Associated Content. Even EzineArticles, the popular article directory (and a few other article directories), took a hit. But many of the Q&A sites did not. This forms the basis of Pavel Israelsky’s argument.

I’ll have to hand it to Pavel. He does a good job of outlining why Q&A sites represent a great opportunity right now. Here are his six reasons:

  1. People Google more questions than generic keywords
  2. Q&A sites have grown in popularity in the last year
  3. Q&A pages rank high in the search results
  4. They also offer great diversification opportunities for your link portfolio
  5. People prefer to link to Q&A pages than to corporate-sponsored pages
  6. Targeted traffic means better conversion

I can’t really argue with any of those points. Keep in mind, however, that if you use Q&A sites to target your important keywords, be sure that you find out which questions related to those keywords are being asked in the search engines. That will be key to optimizing your Q&A posts. If you answer questions that are asked, try to optimize your answers as well.

Q&A sites are a relatively recent phenomenon. If they start getting spammed with useless content, you can expect another Google slap down, so don’t go hog wild. Just see the opportunity for what it is and approach it intelligently.

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