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New Tool – Quora RSS Importer

John Doherty —  July 10, 2012
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Back in April at Linklove, I presented on Tools of the SEO Trade. In that talk, I talked about somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 different tools available for use. I built out a couple for people to use as well (for free), and today I want to talk about one of them.

Introducing the Quora RSS Scraper Importer

One of the tools I built out, which is actually a tool that I built back in January or February for a client, is a Google Spreadsheet that imports the most recent Quora posts based on a Quora category. I’ll explain this further down, but if you’re impatient you can:

Download and Copy the Spreadsheet

How It Works

This spreadsheet is pretty simple, and the purpose is to help you find out what people are talking about pertaining to your topic so that you can get content creation ideas.

When you first load up the above sheet, you will see this:

What we are doing is using =importfeed to pull the RSS for the topic from Quora in order to import the 20 most recent questions within that category. Let’s break down an =importfeed function real quick so that you can see exactly what is going on:

Let’s say I want to import the most recent questions asked in the Pinterest category. Here is our function:

=importfeed(“http://www.quora.com/Pinterest/rss”;”items title”;”false”,”20″)

The parts are:

  • The RSS URL (which for Quora is http://www.quora.com/CATEGORY/rss)
  • “Items Title”, which is the question title (the other options are listed in the importfeed Support Doc);
  • “False” because I don’t want the column headers;
  • “20″ is the number of results I want pulled.

Finding the Quora Category

Step one, of course, is figuring out what you want to write about. Then, search for the category of the topic you are seeking to write about. I recommend using this search:

TOPIC site:quora.com

If I am going to write something about, say, Harry Potter, I would do:

“harry potter” site:quora.com

The URL you want will usually be the first result. For the above Harry Potter search, we get this SERP:

As you can see, the Quora URL for this search is “Harry-Potter”. There is also, right below it, “Harry-Potter-4″, which means that there is also “Harry-Potter-2″ and “Harry-Potter-3″ at least, and possibly “Harry-Potter-5″ and higher.

You’ll want to use the base result to get as many of the recent questions as possible. So our ImportFeed URL now becomes:

=importfeed(“http://www.quora.com/Harry-Potter/rss”;”items title”;”false”,”20″)


That’s it! It’s a pretty quick-and-dirty, not-too-complicated, simple way to import Quora RSS feeds and see what people are asking about your topic so that you can write content that people are already asking about and searching for.

Download and Copy the Spreadsheet

A couple of other useful importers as well:

John Doherty

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I'm the Senior Marketing Manager of HotPads.com, based in San Francisco. Previous to Hotpads I worked at Distilled for 2 years as an online marketing consultant. In my spare time I shoot lifestyle photography, ski, rock climb, and update my Twitter and Google+ accounts.

9 responses to New Tool – Quora RSS Importer

  1. I am a big fan of quora but hadn’t really found a way to get great value from it for clients. This might well be a solid foundation for that type of work.

    I will need to give it a good test run soon.

    Thanks.

    • I’m looking forward to test driving this spreadsheet out! I’m a sucker for anything Excel and SEO do well together

      To me, the value comes in the social conversation about your website (or the client’s). Since the viewers and participants in a Quora question will likely be interested in the subject matter, a contextual citation stands to earn some pre-qualified traffic.

      My initial question after reading is, what could be the benefits of using the RSS importer over subscribing to topics in the Quora interface?

      • I think the idea is not just to use the tool as a method of improving your Quora use, but to use it as a method to assist with other aspects of your work. Monitor trends, gain inspiration for content, etc.

  2. Richard Baxter July 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Woot! Back in my keyword research deck for last Mozcon I showed a method to scrape Quora suggest, which I think probably still works. Having the latest posts is handy, but what you really want is to understand the most viewed or searched for threads that have no answers, right?

    Give scraping SEOmoz QA a whirl, you’ll see what I mean.

  3. Yay, ty – this will be so useful!

  4. Sandeep Gulati July 16, 2012 at 11:01 am

    This is really cool John, Thanks for developing it. It made things so easy to find and make content around the topics which people are looking for. Great TOOL.

    I have passed this to content writers and they can find relevant topics within our niche and make outstanding content all day long.

  5. It might loog a dumb question but, why aren’t you using a feed reader such as Google Reader to import the feed directly to the reader?

  6. Many thanks for providing download and brief tutorial for this tool. Importing data into Excel Spreadsheet will certainly help with further work with that data.