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Glancing at the SO homepage I found that a lot of questions are asked in such a way that it's not easy for Google to find them. Any idea how to fix this?

P/S: I know that this is entirely up to the users to ask good question. But maybe we can do something to "improve their odds" of asking good questions?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

The biggest point about finding questions with Google is the same for finding content of any sort through Google: it's all about the title.

So pick a good title that succinctly gives people an idea of what the question is about. Sometimes it can be hard thinking of a good title. I've sometimes spent some serious time thinking of a good title for things (blog posts and so on).

Compare and contrast:

  • "I'm confused";
  • "This doesn't work"; and
  • "What do I do?"


  • "I don't understand why Java isn't cleaning up my thread pool";
  • "Why is this code giving me a NullPointerException?"; and
  • "My Ruby page takes 10 seconds to load. How do I find out why?"

Also think about likely search terms if you were looking for this question. You will get a higher ranking for something which is an exact phrase match than with something than isn't (generally speaking).

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Personally, I don't even think "Why is this code giving me a NullPointerException?" is particularly good; you still have to read the question to know if you have any idea about the issue, and it certainly doesn't help searchability -- anybody trying to fix a problem by Googling "NullPointerException" is going to have serious problems. I would usually try to frame that question title by (e.g) the call the code is making, rather than a super-generic symptom ('throwing NullPointerException'). – Adrian Petrescu Apr 9 '11 at 2:01

Just clean up the grammar, wording, and clarity. It you build it, Google will come :)

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