Moderators can, for some time now, access limited analytics data in the moderator tools for a Stack Exchange site. (Refer to my previous feature request.) While the analytics tools aren't full Google Analytics, they do help provide insight about site traffic and traffic sources.
I find the Search Keywords section particularly interesting, as most traffic comes from search engines. I like to look at keywords responsible for the most traffic, and the long-tail (infrequent) keywords. (Single-day date ranges help uncover the long tail, but results displayed are limited to ~150 rows. Can pagination be added, or length increased?)
The main question:
What do you think of the idea of moderators posting occasional as-yet-unasked questions on a Stack Exchange site, drawn from long-tail search keywords?
While most long-tail queries are simply variations of the more popular queries, sometimes there's a rare nugget: an unanswered question.
I actually tried this idea at Personal Finance and Money, back when it was still my Stack Exchange 1.0 site, BasicallyMoney.com. Look at Web Search User - Personal Finance and Money for example questions actually drawn from Google Analytics long-tail queries. Those are questions a real human being asked (of a search engine), which led to a site visit, but didn't yield an exact match.
The goals in posting some of those questions were:
- to provide the community with additional good questions to answer, and
- to drive more traffic to the site by converting what began as a long-tail search into a more frequent search, due to better matching quality content.
Yes, it's Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – and I know the idea of SEO turns some of you off – but I considered this "white hat" SEO, i.e. "involves no deception [...and...] making efforts to deliver quality content to an audience that has requested the quality content."
I haven't practiced this since the site was re-launched as a Stack Exchange 2.0 site, but I have considered it. Of course, since Personal Finance and Money is no longer "my site", I would like to ask the community what you think of this practice? What are your thoughts? Thank you.