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Silently but surely, Quora is growing thanks to Google

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Remember Quora? It’s the Q&A platform that tackles complex questions a quick Google search won’t resolve, and its elite, CEO-studded user base makes the answers a significant step up from the likes of Yahoo Answers. While hype for Quora has subsided in recent months, traffic hasn’t. Quora is growing rapidly, to the tune of a 350 percent increase in traffic last year. What’s fueling the growth? Google.

While Quora still doesn’t have the brand recognition to make it a first stop for question askers, Google is sending a tremendous number of people through the door, now accounting for 50 percent of Quora’s traffic. “Search engines are pulling up Quora content to answer complex questions, and as more searchers click on Quora links, visit and return to the site, and link back to it, these “votes” in favor of Quora as a relevant destination help improve its organic search rankings over time,” Eli Goodman, comScore’s “Search Evangelist” explained. Goodman likens Quora’s growth to the growing market for original Web programming offered by the likes of Hulu and YouTube. It’s evidence that a market exists for premium, quality content — the answers to our “complex informational needs.”

With a 350 percent growth year over year between June 2011 and June 2012, Quora now garners over 1.5 million unique visitors per month. In the wake of its Series B funding of $50 million from investors, Bloomberg reported that the Quora team was moving into a new office space fit for 150 people, or four times its current team size. One Quora co-founder remarked that it should be, “enough for two years of growth.”

Techies flocked to Quora first and accounted for half of the top 20 topics in early 2011, but the site is becoming more diverse with time. Today, tech questions and answers account for just a quarter of the top 20 topics. However its brand presence is still weak. “When reviewing the search term data on the term ‘Quora’, use of the term is virtually non-existent, suggesting minimal brand recognition among the broader consumer Internet,” Goodman found.

So while searchers may not recognize the Quora brand the same way they would recognize Wikipedia, thanks to Google, they’re still finding the answers they need there.