Questions & Answers - To Do Or Not?

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  1. Suzanne Day profile image93
    Suzanne Dayposted 9 years ago

    Hi everyone,

    I'm just starting out in the wonderful world of Hubpages questions and answers. I've had a look through the help centre and only found a little info....basically that Q&A's are meant to be a very mini hub type thing, where you can earn the 60% for all views on your Question and inspire more hubs. Here are some questions for you about Q&A:

    1. Do people use longtail keywords etc in questions in order to rank their questions and get visitors from Google?

    2. Does it work like polite manners with hubs, where if you answer someone's question, they will come and answer yours?

    3. How successful do you think it is in terms of generating revenue/traffic?

    4. Does anyone have any tips on how to use the Q&A effectively?

    Thanks in advance for your input. I look forward to reading more about it from anyone who'd like to contribute as it's a bit of an unknown area for me.

    1. Millionaire Tips profile image91
      Millionaire Tipsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Yes to all of the above.

      Asking popular questions and using long tail keywords may keep your question alive longer. 

      Yes, it is possible that the person whose questions you answer will come to visit one of your questions or hubs, but I certainly hope that it isn't required.   Right after I have dropped everything to write a hub, and need to catch up on that "everything." And of course that's when I get a bunch of comments or answers, There is no way I can visit them all, so what I do is save the profiles on my desktop and visit them when I get a chance.

      I haven't found a lot of traffic in Q&A, but then again, I haven't asked the right questions.  Note that the quality of your subdomain can go down if you have a lot of dud questions.

      Tips - ask questions that inspire lots of spirited opinions and answers - not yes or no questions.  One popular one I saw was "what to do when your husband shuts down during an argument" or something like that.

      1. Suzanne Day profile image93
        Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Hi Millionaire Tips, just wondering and pondering with Marisa below....I'm curious to find out why too many dud questions would cause a bad effect on your main subdomain? Have you found this out yourself or is there a theory on it?

        I'd love for Q&A to be a part of my experience at Hubpages, but of course, don't want to spend ages on something of no value or that might hurt traffic. I'm just wanting to pinpoint exactly what it is that causes the negative effect  and maybe how this could be avoided. See post with Marisa below re: niche subdomains vs addition of question content to increase sway on main subdomain with Google.

        I could always just go ahead and try posting 50 questions, but I'd rather chat to the knowledgeable people such as yourself, who might have tried this before as they might be able to shed some light on this and save me and countless hubbers from potentially wrecking subdomains unnecessarily!

        1. Marisa Wright profile image87
          Marisa Wrightposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          As you've no doubt observed, you have no control over the quality of answers when you post a question.  Nor, if you answer a question, can you prevent others from contributing nonsense answers.   Also as you know, one of Google's (admittedly primitive) measures of quality is length - the advice is to make blog posts at least 300-350 words these days - so a question with few answers may also be judged "poor quality".  When the Q&A's were transferred to our sub-domains, many people experienced a drop in traffic and that's what MillionaireTips was talking about.   The decision to "no follow' those links was never officially announced or widely publicised, so MT may not be aware of it.

          It's that lack of control that makes me question whether it is really worth spending any time on Q&A - the earnings are too uncertain due to quality issues.   If you want to do something like that, then I'd recommend going to WebAnswers and Yahoo! Answers, and to forums on your niche topics, where you can answer questions and raise your profile outside HubPages at the same time.

          1. Suzanne Day profile image93
            Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Thank you for the information Marisa. It does look like it's impossible to control the length of the questions, which would lead to Google not liking them as much as say, a 1500 word hub. I can see why questions haven't taken off in a big way (plus the fact that it seems that everyone's getting random answers, there's no "politeness" code about returning answers to others when yours is answered).

            1. Millionaire Tips profile image91
              Millionaire Tipsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              I believe you can delete answers you don't like, just like comments, but I haven't used Q&A for a long time, so don't know for sure.

          2. Millionaire Tips profile image91
            Millionaire Tipsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            That's right.  We were discussing Q&A when they had first introduced the low quality non-featuring. Since questions tend to be short, unless they get answers, they would seem low quality.

            When I read the no-follow info on the Q&A, I wonder if it is similar to the hubs.  They are not featured after they have been idle for a while.

            1. Suzanne Day profile image93
              Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              Thanks for replying! I suspect the main way to make Q&A work would be if a bunch of people got together and arranged it so every time they answered someone's question, that person would answer them back. But to be honest, since hubs are gonna be better producers anyway, we might be taking away our energy from writing hubs doing this (plus some questions are really really hard to answer).

              1. Millionaire Tips profile image91
                Millionaire Tipsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                The other issue is that you really need the public to make the answers take off.  Just like with hubs, the support of the community is emotional support, but Google provides the financial support.

        2. tsmog profile image84
          tsmogposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Firstly, I am not sure most definitely nor understand SEO with any aptitude being of expertise. I share the following image for scrutiny and providing information to ponder only. If one reviews one discovers it is an entrance page, has a bounce rate, has an exit rate, unique view, avg time on page, and etc. Again, I am not an expert, I only see there is data. Certainly that data must have some significant to Google or else why list them. Again, I am learning . . .  and am not literate of SEO.

          Observation seems to be that hubs and questions are pretty close in stats, even though overall views is less with questions. Maybe there are not enough views to be significant . . . I dun'no. Maybe they both are terrible numbers for the categories. I dun'no. But, it seems questions are performing as well as Hubs with their numbers.

          Both questions and hubs near equal of bounce and exit being midstream seems to say there is activity occurring going elsewhere. Hopefully to an article I wrote or a hubber I may have recommended.

          However, again I am learning smile

          Page path level 1 /question/

          Pageview: 489(44.17%)
          Unique Pageviews: 362(45.08%)
          Avg. Time on Page: 00:03:55
          Bounce Rate: 56.19%
          % Exit: 46.63%

          Page path level 1 /hub/

          Pageview: 478(43.18%)
          Unique Pageviews: 329(40.97%)
          Avg. Time on Page: 00:04:15
          Bounce Rate: 61.66%
          % Exit: 43.72%

          It also lists as a category /slides/

          1. Suzanne Day profile image93
            Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Hi Tsmog, it is encouraging that the bounce rates are on a par with hubs! It shows that questions might not necessarily be too "short" to hold the reader, that readers are interested and if traffic can be generated with it then it would be beneficial (less writing, more thought). I'm only guessing here, but I think items of human interest would be the way to go as the traditionally socially shared stuff with pretty photos won't work with minimal photos! Hence, discussion on real life issues or ideas that affect the majority of the population might be something worth using in Question topics...

            1. Marisa Wright profile image87
              Marisa Wrightposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              The issue of length is more of a concern for Google than for readers.

          2. Marisa Wright profile image87
            Marisa Wrightposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            My question is, how long do those numbers continue?   My big reservation about questions is longevity;  the whole point of Hubs is that they earn slowly, theoretically forever.    Questions cannot earn forever, because after a certain time, HubPages archives them.  I don't see any point in putting effort into something which will earn mere pennies per day/week AND has a short life span!

            1. Suzanne Day profile image93
              Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              I didn't know HP archived the questions......this would make it a bit of a pointless exercise....

              1. Marisa Wright profile image87
                Marisa Wrightposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                In one of the posts I linked to, Simone made a passing reference to archiving.   However whether they're archived or not, remember they ARE made "no follow" after a certain time - which comes to the same thing.

                1. Suzanne Day profile image93
                  Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  Thanks for mentioning that, you have saved me countless hours of fiddling with it! If I use it, it will be for a happy, spur-of-the-moment exercise for fun.

    2. tsmog profile image84
      tsmogposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I like the Q & A. I like it for the social interactions, it provides spawning thought, I ponder sometimes all day, a few hubs came from a question, and I like reading answers. In regard to the traffic and etc one must realize the views will be more than the comments as is with hubs. Q's can be shared seeking generating traffic - internal, tweet, and FB. There are ads.

      Views at Google Analytics can be seen as they are monitored as hubs are. You can see statistics there for Q's. I have used Q's for deciding interest in a hub idea more from checking Google Analytics. I always use Analytics for knowing where something is read too. One can of least speculate if on a hot streak if there is a readership following 'you' the portfolio writer.

      In other words you have readership with hubs & Q's from social media sharing, it is regional, and proportional with hubs. So, I, then (a few years back when  I was more active) wrote for the region of the readership confirmed to be the same for questions and hubs alike.

      Maybe it is not seen as conclusive by some, yet it for me just offered a good feeling I was on the right track seeking readership. Realizing who the readership was. And, then seeking to fulfill the needs of that readership.

      If anything it is a good learning experience and could be a tool for development of the portfolio ID i.e. Suzanne Day, tsmog, Millionaire Tips, Marisa Wright with Social Media and being a commentator sort to speak. You can copy/paste the question ID from analytics into a browser and research the question. Views at analytics will be higher than shown at HP.

      For instance I just checked mine. At Behavior → Content Drill down I have 531 views for /question/ and only 477 views for /hub/. That is a grouping. The questions can be seen individually as they have an ID, e.g. /237399/. That is for Mar 31 - April 30. Consider both the person question and the person answering are linked to their portfolio. So, a question shared could generate a hub read.

      Consider I am not really a good example today for a lot of views. But compare and contrast means the same no matter the views for discovering. The greatest amount of views for a question I had was 90 where average is about 30. Just think if a hubber was a more prolific writer and SEO expert than me. The question is also a landing page in Analytics leading to hubs.

      1. Suzanne Day profile image93
        Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks tsmog for your thoughts. Yes, checking on readership popularity and growth within readership topics as well as testing new ideas out could be a good use of Q&A. I am personally seeing the benefit of social traffic via topics being shared a lot vs organic traffic. Content which has the potential to go viral and a question which seems to get tons of answers (just because the audience wants to be involved with the topic) would be great for socially intended hubs as well as the usual Google traffic.

    3. gitachud profile image71
      gitachudposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      The questions do get Google traffic if they have the right keywords. The tip I can offer is that one should put some thought into the questions they ask.
      Write comprehensive questions that are long enough to stand on their own in case nobody answers.
      Questions are a quick and easy way to add content to your sub-domain without much effort.

      1. Suzanne Day profile image93
        Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        That's what I was hoping! As it offers an alternative to writing hubs if you either a) don't know an answer or b) there is a definitive answer than cannot be answered by a hub or c) there is no competition.

  2. Marisa Wright profile image87
    Marisa Wrightposted 9 years ago

    I ignore the Q&A almost completely (as it happens, I just answered a question today because it came up in my feed, but that's the first time in months).

    The Q&A section is all "no follow", so not likely to get much external traffic and therefore not likely to earn much.

    The original idea of the Q&A was to provide inspiration.   The idea was not to write mini-Hubs, but to write full-scale Hubs in answer to the question.  Most questions have now become pretty silly, and not worthy of a Hub as an answer.

    1. Suzanne Day profile image93
      Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Hi Marisa, what did you mean by it's "no follow" and can't get much external traffic? Do you mean that it doesn't rank as well as hubs in Google?

      1. Marisa Wright profile image87
        Marisa Wrightposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I've been trying to find the old forum threads but can't.  I think that posts in the Q&A are now marked "no follow", which tells Google to ignore them when compiling search engine results - but I may be recalling incorrectly.

        The nearest I've got is this thread, where a moderator said they were no-indexed "after a certain period" without saying how long that was - so at best they have a much more limited life than a Hub:

        The logic is the same as for unFeatured Hubs - it's important for the site's reputation that Google Search includes only quality content, and the vast majority of the content in Q&A would not pass the QAP!

        Maybe someone else can clarify.

        1. Suzanne Day profile image93
          Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Thanks Marisa, I can see why you would conclude that Q&A has a much shorter shelf life than hubs. Hopefully someone might know more and share with us...

          1. Marisa Wright profile image87
            Marisa Wrightposted 9 years agoin reply to this
            1. Suzanne Day profile image93
              Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              I'd guess there would have to be no competition whatsoever for your question to be a hit with traffic in Google. Then, if someone else comes along and writes an article, they could beat it. Having said that, I've seen a lot of Yahoo Answers on top of Google search, but they are the ones with lots of long, involved answers from multiple contributors and no contending articles. Plus they have aged a lot.

              1. Marisa Wright profile image87
                Marisa Wrightposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                Sorry, I just changed my post as you replied.

                You'll see from Derek's post that they did change it so that links on your profile to the  Q&A and to the forums are now no-follow, meaning Google will ignore them.

                1. Suzanne Day profile image93
                  Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  Hi Marisa, sorry to harp on about this (but it is interesting!)

                  The questions show up in a Google search OK, but from what I read of the forum thread you posted, they are not submitted to Google as being connected with your main subdomain (same as forum posts). Eg. this is the "no follow" you are talking about - as people were concerned with potential impact on the main subdomain.

                  The conclusion I'm drawing from this is that forum posts and questions do not add or detract traffic from your main subdomain because they are nofollow, but you can still earn from them (though much smaller amounts than hubs I'm guessing). Maybe a bit like having another mini subdomain that is unconnected to you, except by the link to your profile on the question. Do you think this is the case?

                  Also the only impact I'm guessing that might be negative is having the questions and forum posts displayed on your main subdomain. I would have thought that having more words there could help the overall sway in unless you are completely focusing on a niche subject for your subdomain, it shouldn't theoretically hurt it. But I may be wrong. MillionaireTips seems to think it does hurt it with too many dud questions, so I'll ask them too about this...

                  1. Marisa Wright profile image87
                    Marisa Wrightposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                    You cannot earn from forum posts at all as there is no advertising on the forums.  You can earn from questions BUT not only are the links in your profile "no follow", the questions themselves are also "no indexed" after they've been inactive for a time (as per Simone's original link).  So the Q&A people are seeing on Google are either fairly new questions, or ones which have continued to show activity.

        2. profile image0
          calculus-geometryposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Many of my questions show up in Google.  Maybe the links in answers are nofollow?

    2. DzyMsLizzy profile image87
      DzyMsLizzyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      That makes perfect sense to me, Marisa.  I peruse the Q&A every so often; have both asked and answered questions.  A couple of times, a question has indeed inspired a Hub for me to write.
      But overall, I find that there is a preponderance of truly stupid questions being asked.  So, I generally do not go there searching for Q's to answer, but rather only answer/visit those that come up in my feed and seem worth the time to read and possibly answer.

  3. Suzanne Day profile image93
    Suzanne Dayposted 9 years ago

    Thanks for your feedback, and I have made a note of the subdomain potential to go down. Do you know if anything happens if you inspire a hub from your question?

    1. Millionaire Tips profile image91
      Millionaire Tipsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      When someone write a hub, you get a link to it in your Question.  That makes your question more content rich, although some people may hop away to read it instead of writing an answer.
      I don't think you get referral credit to their hub even though it comes from your question.

  4. profile image0
    calculus-geometryposted 9 years ago

    I can't find a Learning Center link to confirm this, but I don't think Q&A are part of the HP Ads program.  You only earn with the standard Adsense impression sharing program. Unless you hit upon a great question that gets lots of external traffic, I wouldn't expect any great earnings.

    1. Suzanne Day profile image93
      Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      It's on this page:

      Just find the "Answers" section and it is point #5.

      Can I receive income from Questions I ask?
      Yes, an author who creates a question in Answers will receive 60% of the impressions for that page as with Hub content.

  5. Lisa HW profile image63
    Lisa HWposted 9 years ago

    Ever since the thing with Questions (maybe/maybe-not) being linked to people's subdomains, I've stayed away from asking questions out of the same concerns that Marissa has expressed above.  The last post I ever saw about how/whether poor-quality (or whatever else) in Questions might affect a subdomain seemed to have ended with an answer like (essentially), "maybe a little/maybe not" (or that type of thing).

    I don't want to have to worry about it.  If anyone gives me "points off" for my subdomain I want it to be because of what I've done on it - not for some "funny thing" associated with a questionable Question.

    Besides...     if I could think up a question that would a) make a good Hub, and/or b) be something I want to spend a lot of time creating a Hub about; I'd write the Hub myself.

    I answer questions when I'm bored and/or tired and just want to kill time whipping up an answer on something I think I have something to offer on.   (Bored/tired or not, I do keep copies of every answer or anything else I ever write online anywhere - in case someone on a site like WebAnswers (or whatever) shows up using the HP Answers section as their own source of answers (or maybe now Bubblews as a source for that site).  Sometimes, though, I don't even care.  I just figure if someone is making a practice of that kind of thing they'll be found out eventually.  It's just that I'm never so bored/tired that I don't mind if someone else decides to try to make money off stuff (whatever it is) that I've written (particularly when I specifically haven't written it for the purpose of making money off it myself)   (I'm not talking about someone making whatever money they can by legitimately posting questions and aiming to get some decent answers associated with their own subdomain, as far as "quality" goes.  I figure that goes into "contributing to the overall quality of HubPages" (which, I suppose, (besides the bored/tired thing) is my way of sort of remaining active on this site while I figure out what I want to do with some of my Hubs or with regard to any new ones I write).

    Here or there, I'll use a Question (re-worded) as an idea for a Bubble either because I'm only up for putting in "so much" effort into writing (so it won't make a good Hub anyway) or else because I don't think it hurts to at least make some effort to let anyone who may be "paying attention" (to who puts in a serious effort written in decent English) know that they shouldn't feel too safe turning my answers into, say, Bubbles, their own blog posts, or forum posts somewhere. 

    Just double-checking, though:   Isn't it true that stuff like our forum posts and Answers belong to us, and that we can feel free to post OUR OWN words (nobody else's) on places like our own blogs (or anywhere that duplicate content isn't "outlawed)?

    1. Suzanne Day profile image93
      Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Hi Lisa, yes, our writing at Hubpages which is our own, remains our own and belongs to us. Theoretically, your stuff could be published elsewhere online (duplicated) but Google gives duplicated content a middle-sized penalty, which means it won't get as much traffic or ranking as the original content in Google searches. So I'd avoid creating duplicate content unless you were wanting to spread around poetry or fiction for more readership.


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