Public Ask an Expert Questions: Editing for SEO and Curation

Ask an Expert provides a direct one-to-one conversation between the question submitter and the responding expert. However, if the submitter chooses to make the question public by checking the “Share my question on Ask an Expert” box, it can suddenly end up in front of a much larger audience. To improve the quality and discoverability of these public questions, questions and responses can be edited by anyone with an eXtension account.

If a question is public, the goal is for it to rank well with Google and other search engines so the answer can be found by others and have a greater impact. To this end, we encourage experts to correct grammatical and spelling errors, convert bare URLs into descriptive links or even rewrite question titles to make them more descriptive, which will help the question rank higher in search results. This process is called search engine optimization (SEO).

In addition, questions may need to have personal information removed — sometimes submitters include phone numbers, email addresses or physical addresses as a part of the question. These details should not be shared publicly, and the expert has the choice of switching the question to private, or editing out the personal data.

Every part of a question is editable: the title, the question body and the expert response(s). When question body or title is edited, the last assigned expert is notified. If an expert response is edited, that expert is notified.

In addition to being viewable on ask.extension.org, public questions can be pulled into www.extension.org. They appear in the “Trending Questions” section of the site front page and the individual CoP homepages. For the site front page, a curation team chooses which questions to feature by adding a special “front page” tag to the question in Ask an Expert. Trending questions on the CoP homepages are not curated. They are populated with any public question tagged with the CoP’s resource area tag, sorted by most recent.

Trending Questions on the site front page

Trending Questions on the CoP homepages

We’ve focused exclusively on the editing of public questions in this post, but it’s also possible to edit a question that’s not public. At any rate, if you get a notification that your question or response is edited, it could mean it’s been selected for more public exposure or someone could just be trying to help with a grammatical tweak. Ask an Expert is a collaborative environment provided by eXtension, so make the most of the opportunities to provide the best answers.