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When searching for the solution to a problem I most often use Google, and eventually end up here on Stack Overflow after reading forum posts and blogs that don't quite answer my question. Sometimes the search phrase I used is slightly or very different but still asks essentially the same question that the OP asked, or I wind up typing some variation of the search in SO's box that eventually after narrowing down my terms gets me to the right place.

It would be good to be able to add the search variations that lead me here (as data associated with the answer) so that it gets higher up the Google rankings (hopefully? am not a SEO guru) and helps out people with a similar problem, who like me, didn't type the right phrase in the first time. It could also help cut down on duplicate answers. Is it too risky for spam? would making the search phrases votable help with spam?

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2 Answers 2

That is (sort of) happening as duplicate questions become merged. There are many ways to ask the same question and many are asked repeatedly on Stack Overflow. The idea is, we attach all of the great answers to the original incarnation of the question and use the duplicate questions as redirects to point there.

Therein lies the problem. Some questions are worded differently enough that duplicates remain duplicates instead of redirects. I see this a lot in the C tag. Sometimes, I know a question has been asked before, probably several times but I come up empty remembering how it was asked.

Hopefully, eventually, there will be at least a stub leading to good answers for most articulations of the same question.

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Ah yep, that makes sense, awesome! –  Allansideas Jun 27 '10 at 12:10

While in principle it sounds like a good idea, I'm not sure how much it actually helps. By the time you get to see the 'search terms used to get here' information, you've gotten here, and so the information is mostly redundant, isn't it? If you want to get back, you can probably do so directly or almost directly. It might, I suppose, help you to go find other places (both within and without the StackExchange ecosystem), and to some people that might have value, but I'm not totally convinced.

Also, what form would the documentation take? Search site, search date, search terms (with default search date being today - but in 6 months, it might be relevant to record the date because it may no longer be a good search term).

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>>By the time you get to see the 'search terms used to get here' information. I didn't mean for human eyes really, more as a boost for search engine ranking, quite often I will not get stack overflow answers (which are the best) in the first few links, especially if my search was not spot on. Good points, about documentation. And you are right, it could just confuse things. –  Allansideas Jun 27 '10 at 12:08

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