What Is the Intent Behind Q&A?

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  1. EricDockett profile image97
    EricDockettposted 5 years ago

    What the heck is the point of Q&A? I don't mean that sarcastically. I am really trying to figure it out. I can't formulate a strategy for properly using this feature unless I can understand the intent behind it.

    First the Q&A questions/answers were on their own pages with their own urls. It seemed the point was to get some search traffic, but at the very least readers were clicking between questions and that was getting some traffic for them. Awesome!

    My last two answers didn't get their own url or page. They went straight to the page where the question was asked. That adds some content to the original article and hopefully helps it rank better. Awesome again, but different.

    I actually prefer the second way, because it strengthens the original page, but the problem is if there are too many answers they get hidden under a "show more". So, they aren't on the page, and nobody ever sees them unless they scroll down and click show more.

    So, if my answer isn't going to get it's own page, and if it gets hidden after there are a certain number of answers and therefore doesn't help the original page, and if nobody ever sees it, why should I bother answering questions?

    Answering Q&A questions takes away a chunk of time where I could be writing new Hubs, editing old ones or answering comments. I will certainly do it if there is a benefit to it, but right now I am struggling to understand it.

  2. Titia profile image92
    Titiaposted 5 years ago

    I wouldn't know, I haven't had any Q&A on my hubs yet.

  3. theraggededge profile image97
    theraggededgeposted 5 years ago

    They are beginning to drive me crazy.

  4. lobobrandon profile image88
    lobobrandonposted 5 years ago

    Sadly never got a staff answer to my post here: https://hubpages.com/community/forum/33 … -questions

    But, from Glenns recent hub on the conference, I learnt that there are tests going on to see whether the questions are doing better as stand alone pages or as added content to the hub. So I'm not on a rant about it anymore. But I'd still like to know more. Stats on what the team is seeing is definitely helpful, I only see some stats as being helpful to us all. But if it's still being tested, it does make sense that Paul has not given us any numbers/details.

    1. EricDockett profile image97
      EricDockettposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I'm not upset or ranting, I'm just frustrated. (Is that the same? Who knows. smile )

      I've been putting thought into answers and trying to spend time on them so they are useful to readers. This morning I answered a question only to find it is not on its own page, and it is hidden behind the show more link. I understand they are testing, but what is the point of answering a question that neither appears on the page nor gets its own url?

      There might be a reason, and I sure wish HP would tell us what it is before I waste time answering more questions that float off into the ether.  It would be nice if staff would keep us updated.

      1. Glenn Stok profile image96
        Glenn Stokposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        There’s nothing to keep us updated on until the test is completed.

        By the way, I’m not absolutely sure but I think I once had an answer that was in the hub, and then it later became a page by itself. Keep an eye out for that.

        1. EricDockett profile image97
          EricDockettposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Well, thanks to Brandon I just figured out that even when answers are hidden they are still crawl-able. So that's something they could have told us. They could have explained about the A/B testing when it started. That would have been helpful.

          1. lobobrandon profile image88
            lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Yes, I agree, knowing about the A/B tests etc. would have been helpful. An announcement like the AMP announcement.

  5. Glenn Stok profile image96
    Glenn Stokposted 5 years ago

    Eric, I asked Paul about this when I saw him at the Maven Coalition Conference and I gave the answer to your question in my Maven article.

    The fact of the matter, as Paul told me, is that HubPages is presently conducting an A/B test with the Q&A. I’ll explain what this means:

    A - Some Q&A answers become individual monetized pages. These pages have a chance of being indexed in the SERPs to bring additional revenue with organic traffic to those pages. Additionally, they provide backlinks to the original article that can also bring more traffic.  This only works if you put enough effort into the answer you provide. I like to think of it as writing another hub, although a short one, but worth the effort.

    B - Some Q&A answers become part of the original hub as added content. This has a chance of increasing the value of the article which in turn might increase its search ranking.

    Time will tell which method works best.

    I’ve been watching my Google Analytics, with a custom report I created, and I definitely see some organic traffic to the Q&A Pages where I’ve written detailed answers. I added details on how to make a custom GA report to watch the Q&A in my hub on “14 Overlooked Hub-Writing Techniques.”

    1. EricDockett profile image97
      EricDockettposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks, Glenn. I actually already know those details. I've been writing fairly detailed answers too, but that's no use if it either doesn't get its own page/url (which will mean it will not get organic traffic), or gets hidden behind the "show more" link (which means it won't help the original Hub, and won't be seen by anyone ever unless they click the link).

      Answering a question that gets hidden is basically as waste of time. Unless the hidden info gets crawled, which would be nice to know.

      1. lobobrandon profile image88
        lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Why not find out for yourself? If it has no link of its own, just view the page source and search for your answer. If it is there in the page code, search engines see it and it adds value to your page.

        1. EricDockett profile image97
          EricDockettposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Good thinking! It does appear in the code. Awesome!

          1. lobobrandon profile image88
            lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Perfect. Nothing to worry about. And yes, like Glenn just pointed out, some begin as in page answers and over time move to their own URL.

      2. Glenn Stok profile image96
        Glenn Stokposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Eric, most of mine get into a separate page. I see those URLs in my GA reports. Give it time, I’m sure once the test phase is over they will know which method works the best.

  6. EricDockett profile image97
    EricDockettposted 5 years ago

    An update on this:

    Yesterday I posted about how the questions I answered did not become their own page, but instead went directly to the Hub, hidden under the "show more" link.

    Today, those answers I wrote yesterday are now their own pages.

    I just answered another question, and like yesterday it went straight to the Hub.

    So, it appears they first post straight to the Hub, as though you are answering a comment, and then get moved to their own url.


    Maybe HP wants to put shorter answers on the Hub and move longer ones to their own page after they are reviewed?

    It would sure be super great if HubPages staff would explain this instead of having to guess.

    1. lobobrandon profile image88
      lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this
      1. EricDockett profile image97
        EricDockettposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        LOL. I wouldn't think so. There goes that theory.

      2. Glenn Stok profile image96
        Glenn Stokposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I would imagine there are different standards for length when dealing with Q&A. So I can’t say if that example is considered long enough. If you want to see what I consider long that might rank well: https://turbofuture.com/question/how-ca … lking-on-a

        But Eric is right that it’s not dependent on length to become a stand-alone page. I would think ranking is more important for us to consider either way.

    2. Glenn Stok profile image96
      Glenn Stokposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      You just confirmed what I said. As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t sure if it starts out in the hub all the time, and then gets moved, or if some go directly to heir own page. You confirmed that. Thanks.

      As for guessing on things, since this is a test and various methods are being tested, there is nothing that they can tell us any further than what they already had told us. I am sure once it is compete and they decide which way to go, they will put it in the learning center.

      1. EricDockett profile image97
        EricDockettposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I don't really understand why you keep saying there is nothing to tell us. There are all kinds of things they can tell us. We shouldn't have to speculate about what is happening when we answer a question. We shouldn't have to put the pieces together in the forum or get inside information at a conference.

        They can tell us things like they are trying an A/B test, or how and why a question ends up on the Hub and then gets moved to its own page, or even just say, "Hey, hang in there. You may see some weird stuff while we figure this out."

        I don't think as writers we deserve to know every single thing that HP is doing behind the scenes, but if I spend a big chunk of my time answering Q&A questions I want to know what's going on with what I post.

        1. lobobrandon profile image88
          lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I agree with Eric a 100%. There is so much that we can be told about this. We do not need the nitty gritty details, but some general information as he suggests would be very helpful.

        2. Glenn Stok profile image96
          Glenn Stokposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Eric, The way you just explained your feelings makes sense and I do agree with you. I was just voicing my thoughts based on the fact that they don’t know what the end-result will be. But, yes, it would have been nice if they posted about the A/B test. The only way I knew about it was because I told Paul I was confused about the discrepancy when I was with him at the conference. That’s when he mentioned the test.

  7. Dolores Monet profile image95
    Dolores Monetposted 5 years ago

    I've had quite a few questions and most of the information that the person was not included in the hub. They were pretty specific questions. I took a long time to answer some of them. Many of the people were looking for information that you could find on another web site. I usually provide additional information in the form of book titles. But I wonder, sometimes, if the questioners are just looking for links to their own sites. Does anyone else wonder this as well?

  8. TeriSilver profile image96
    TeriSilverposted 5 years ago

    I do not like the Q & A at all, as I have had many questions that could be answered if the reader had actually read the content.  (So much content is lost in a sea of ads and distractions, but that's another matter).  I do not agree with the Brass here that we can just ignore questions (if we choose to do that) -- it is a contrary solution.  People who are ignored become annoyed, and the whole thing backfires.  It's part of public relations and "customer service engagement," which is what they are going for --- and that has become VERY important in our social media world. So, I have to "engage" by answering questions with already-stated content. It's a waste of valuable time and I am not convinced that it adds pennies to my coffers. I, too, would like a plausible explanation as to why the Q & A is a good thing ... not seeing it.

    1. robhampton profile image93
      robhamptonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      For me, it's generating traffic. Almost like a little loophole to get more traffic without having to write an entire article. These questions are showing up on a separate page. If you look at this screenshot, now TWO things are showing up that generate traffic for me on Dengarden for this particular article. The original article and the one right below it is the Q&A link. I've already generated hundreds of views now just from the various questions I've received and have answered.

  9. TeriSilver profile image96
    TeriSilverposted 5 years ago

    Case in point.  Just received a question on my "cartoons" article that said, "wasn't there a cartoon about presidents wives?"..... now, I have no idea what that means..  I deleted it but that's not the right thing to do.  If it were on the comments section, I would publish something like that and let other readers chime in.  But with the vast amount of cartoons out there (that fit the genre), people share vague memories of something they're searching for.  Sometimes I can help but often ... not.  The Q & A is not useful, it just adds more work or makes us look bad when we don't engage with the reader.  Sigh.

    1. Glenn Stok profile image96
      Glenn Stokposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Teri, I understand what you're saying about engaging with the reader, and I agree with you on principle. However, I noticed some questions I get are more like trolls just wanting to cause trouble. That example you gave is one of them in my opinion, and there is no point answering that one.

      As Rob said, Q&A generate more traffic. I noticed that too with mine. I'm watching it on my analytics reports. The trick is to only make use of good ones. Even if you feel they duplicate what was already said in your hub, if it is a good question that people tend to ask in Google search, then having an extra Q&A page that's indexed by search engines is a good thing.

  10. TeriSilver profile image96
    TeriSilverposted 5 years ago

    Yes,I have no problem deleting those that are geared for "starting trouble," (I've had a few on my big cat trainer article .. sorry, not going there,  ha!).  I don't understand what these analytics are or what it all really means-- I gave up trying to do that years ago, I admit.  It's hard to figure.

    1. Glenn Stok profile image96
      Glenn Stokposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      It's Google Analytics – and its very helpful to keep an eye on it so you know what hubs are working and which are not, and why not.

      I explain how to  create a custom report in Google Analytics that shows your Q&A views and ad impressions in my article about "14 Overlooked Hub-Writing Techniques That You Should Be Using"

  11. TeriSilver profile image96
    TeriSilverposted 5 years ago

    I'll take a look at it, thanks.

  12. Kathleen Cochran profile image76
    Kathleen Cochranposted 5 years ago

    Is there a way to block discussions in my feed and only show articles?  I'm tired of scrolling through at least a half dozen pages of opinions and arguments before I find an informative article that someone has actually put some effort into so it is worth reading and not just stuff off the top of someone's head.  Thanks for the help.

    1. Glenn Stok profile image96
      Glenn Stokposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Kathleen, click “feed settings” at the top of your feed page. Then shut off whatever you don’t want to see.


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