Search engines are the most important source of traffic for most SE sites. Understanding how users find the site and which questions they land on can be very useful in order to promote the site or improve the experience for new users.

My subjective impression is that on many sites is that a small percentage of the questions are responsible for a very large part of the total traffic. Being able to identify those questions would e.g. allow us to polish them up a bit and thereby improve the first impression of a lot of new visitors with a minimum of effort.

Moderators already have access to a tool that lists the most popular search terms for a specific time frame. But there are several problems with that tool that make it difficult to impossible to gain useful information from it:

Another possible way to identify questions that drive traffic to the site is the number of views. But this method has several limitations, it doesn't distinguish between referred traffic (e.g. from Hackernews or Reddit) and it can't be restricted to specific timeframes.

What I think would be a more useful tool would be a list of questions sorted by the amount of search engine traffic they received in the selected timeframe. This would allow us to easily identify what questions drive the most traffic to the site and use that information to guide the promotion of the site and to polish those questions a bit.

The information about which search terms are used is certainly useful, and it should stay available (ideally connected to which question was found by a specific term), but the information which questions are found by search engines is in the end the more useful in my opinion.


2 Answers 2


I am for it! +1. Only... Is it a question?

I would add that a comparable statistics for external search engines traffic and stackoverflow search engine traffic could help to improve the stackoverflow search engine.

Also, the search hits from external search engines could bring some pluses to the authors of the question and the marked answer. As additional statistics at first, and some medals later.


I identified the questions driving traffic to SE with a Data.SE query. Example for SO:

Top 5 items:

Most viewed open questions without answers

  1. Uri content://media/external/file doesn't exist for some devices (95838 views)
  2. "no entry for content://media/external/images/media/0" when using MediaStore.Images and contentResolver to get images stored on device
  3. iOS Post to Facebook shows m.facebook.com
  4. Font Family Open Sans not being used
  5. Freeze the header, scroll the GridView


  • This query is restrictive. There're many questions with poor answers or unaccepted answers. They also require attention.
  • Timeframe of traffic is unknown. Certain questions might have gained traffic five or more years ago and require no answer now.
  • Users have no obvious way to identify such questions. They appear neither on the front page, nor on the Questions page (as in https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=votes).


I'd suggest adding another tab to https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions (and similar) and rank unanswered questions by the number of views on that tab.

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