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I have been a regular user of the UX Stack Exchange website for about 2 years and I have always wondered about what brings more views to the question. And not just within the aforementioned site or across the internal network but outside as well.

I failed to notice any patterns as such but I did see strangely high traffic on certain questions while sometimes noticed no traffic at all for questions with great value and popular tags. Also, the activity on the question also seems to affect it differently. It makes sense for a question with 10 or 20+ answers to have a high view count. But questions with 1 or 2 answers also tend to have high traffic.

This made me curious as to what makes a question on this network "hot". Do certain tags improve the visibility? Does posting at a certain time matter? Or is it just completely at the mercy of the internet gods?

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This made me curious as to what makes a question on this network "hot".

There is a certain score for that. Note that the question and answer(s) first must have some upvotes from the site itself before the question can become a Hot Network Question. After the hot network period ends, it's usually a matter of how often people Google for the problem. Somehow this Puzzling question of mine consistently gets about a hundred views a week.

Do certain tags improve the visibility?

That depends on the site. On large sites, definitely; on Stack Overflow, most people watch one or more tags and usually completely ignore the other questions. On smaller sites, you have more people who read almost everything, and an attractive (possibly even 'clickbaity') title is more important than tags.

Does posting at a certain time matter?

I doubt it. I've conducted some research a while ago about posting times and concluded they had no influence (the reduced traffic is compensated by the reduced number of questions vying for that traffic). But it could be that posting during the weekend or outside European and American office hours will make it hard for a question to compete with the ones already in the list. In 6-8 weeks, we will probably have enough data in SEDE to check, since a question becoming a Hot Network Question is now registered. Hopefully, this query will tell more by then.

  • It is quite interesting. I am pretty much unaware of how SEO works (shame on me), but do the internal tags add weight to a search engine's capability of showing a certain questions in their search results? – Shreyas Tripathy Mar 28 at 4:54
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I failed to notice any patterns as such but I did see strangely high traffic on certain questions while sometimes noticed no traffic at all for questions with great value and popular tags

Quite honestly? Sheer dumb luck. With 25K (or being a mod) you can actually find site analytics on your site at tools/site-analytics/traffic-sources/

On SU - which is one of the bigger/older sites, you'd find something interesting

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Most of our traffic is off of search, and very little is organic to site users. You're going to get answers and votes off that 4%. You're going to get views off the other 95%. YMMV depending on the site.

Optimising individual posts for search engine friendliness is a fool's quest so... well, its mostly luck ;)

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