Are Google and Quora in a Hidden War?

Toni Koraza

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Photo by Ramiz Dedaković on Unsplash

Quora now ranks as the 371st most popular website on the internet. The position places the ask-and-answer platform at the very top of the internet, but it’s anything but a cause for celebration.

Quora dropped 103 places in the past 90 days, according to Amazon’s Alexa.

Alexa draws data from all over the internet to determine each website's engagement and bundles the findings with other SEO tools and metrics. You can get a basic subscription for $149/month.

Quora dominated Google search results, not too long ago.

Nowadays, you can barely find the red Q outside Republican conspiracy theories. I’m writing on Quora, Medium, Vocal, and Substack and can’t escape noticing each platform's engagement.

I’ve published 176 answers on Quora over the past 2 years. And the platform is definitely going through a strange phase. You can easily speculate over Quora’s troubles:

  • Google is actively upending the search results to block Quora from appearing on the front page results.
  • Quora is losing ground with the original audience and content creators.
  • Something more sinister is happening in the background.

Speculations don’t have to be true, but internet giants don’t usually drop 103 places overnight because a few users migrated to other platforms.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1WHQ6l_0YGnG1xg00Wikipedia’s steady web engagement (90-day period)

The higher you climb in internet popularity, the harder it gets to fall out of grace.

If you’re asking yourself what is the most popular website on the internet right now, the first answer on your mind is probably Google, and you’re right.

Google is by far the most popular website on the planet, ranking at #1 per Alexa’s engagement. YouTube is right behind at the 2nd place, and Facebook strongly holds 6th position.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2217js_0YGnG1xg00Quora’s engagement fell down the stairs.

Quora was a $2 billion unicorn startup.

The 4th round of venture capital funding usually happens only in super-special circumstances, like mergers and acquisitions.

Most other, almost 78.73% of all startups never make it to series B. Companies that made it to C, are probably never getting more venture capital ever again.

Quora's slalom down 4 rounds of venture funding created a $2 billion internet company.

Online startups usually start monetizing the platform around series B, and that’s when the organic reach drops, and you start seeing ads. Soon after, the traffic becomes stale, and the platform grows dull and repetitive. Regular users suddenly need to spend money to reach a wider audience.

Think of Facebook and Quora, and then think of TikTok. How easy is it to reach 50,000 new people on each platform?

Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump probably don’t have issues with social media's organic reach. But for the common folk, the only way of reaching 50,000 new people on Facebook and Quora is by spending $3,000.

On the other hand, 50,000 unique views on TikTok is a week’s worth of work. I’ve had thousands of views on the first video I ever posted on Doujin (TikTok for the Chinese market.) One million views make for medium-sized but viral traffic on TikTok, according to Ash Sud, a viral TikToker.

The bar of entry is low, and the platform works to amplify your engagement.

Finish a few challenges and have some fun, upload 7 videos, and you’re already telling your best friend how a video of your dog chasing a boomerang has 50,000 views on TikTok. Facebook was similar in 2011, and Instagram had a glorious run in 2016. Soon after, new content creators started facing harder obstacles to reach an audience, upended by the platform itself.

Everyone has to make money, and that’s fine. But big corporations sometimes refuse to play along with others and that ruins the game for the average Joe that just wants to read and write.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2q4d0P_0YGnG1xg00Complaint upvoted by another 200 Google users.

Google is actively upending search results to keep traffic on Google.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reportedly makes 5x more money by directing traffic to its own places than renting the space to advertisers.

51% of all Google searches never left Google in 2019.

Today, roughly 41% of popular Google searches are mostly Google’s products and services. When you search for the term podcasting, you see snippets, answers, and Google’s websites at the very top of the page. Then, you may find websites like Wikipedia, Facebook, or Quora.

Big websites are doing everything in their power to keep the traffic from ever leaving the platform. Facebook, Google, and even Medium try to create whole ecosystems that leave you little to no option to search for your answer elsewhere.

Google was already a subject of antitrust investigations and held a conviction for breaching Europe's fair play rules. The EU has fined Google $1.7 billion for breaching European antitrust laws. However, paying a few billion dollars and continuing business is usually is well worth the hassle.

Quora was one of the most popular websites on the internet in 2018.

With 300 million unique monthly visits, Quora had more people in its community than today’s Medium. To put things in perspective, Ev Williams (the funder of Medium) hinted that Medium is close to 100 million unique visits a month, which is roughly 3x less than Quora.

Yet, Medium ranks 200+ place in front of Quora today, in late 2020. Many Quora users flock to Medium and other platforms, complaining that something is not right with the red Q.

I still love writing on Quora and try to answer questions every so often. Unlike Medium, you don’t have to break your head over what people want to read. You're asked questions directly, and you have the opportunity to answer at length that matches a full blog post.

Quora landed on Google’s bad side with several changes over the years. You had to register for a Quora account to see the full information relating to your Google result. Google hates to lose traffic this way. Then, people started complaining about Quora sending unsolicited emails to Google users.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3cwdu0_0YGnG1xg00a Quora Answer used for Google’s Q&A section.

The People Also Ask section on Google is directly undermining Quora's purpose as a platform.

Today, when you ask a question on Google, you’re not getting Quora’s answer. Even if Quora finds it’s way on the top of the search results, it’s usually behind Google’s snippets and answers.

“Google provides a quick answer or summary with a content snippet from a relevant website.”

If your page gets reduced to a snippet, you can forget about organic traffic, even if you rank as the first result on Google. You can barely find Quora underneath several content layers, even when you search directly for questions with Quora in the sentence.

When you’re not buying a product, you become one.

The Internet is an attention game, and industry giants go above and beyond to keep your attention for themselves.

For both Quora and Google, you are the product. The longer you spend on their platforms, the more influence and money they can make off of you.

Naturally, both platforms are pegged against each other, and with Google being the omnipotent power of the internet, you might see less and less of Quora over the upcoming years.

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