Here are a few of the search engine queries that delivered traffic to my blog this morning: - Dunkin Donuts California - Google Analytics Real Time - Google Analytics Real-Time - Xobni Blackberry - Xobni for Blackberry - Direct TV Commercials - Google Analytics vs Slimstat - How to Synchronize Outlook with Gmail - Sync Google Outlook Contacts - Uninstalling Xobni Problems
If compiled over time and with more specific information (geographic, etc) - this is valuable data. Do you think that Xobni would be interested in the volume or "Xobni Blackberry" queries? Would Google be interested in knowing how many people are looking for real time Google Analytics or having trouble syncing Gmail with Outlook? There are no Dunkin Donuts in California - but I get enough search queries to demonstrate that DD would have a healthy following... they'd surely be interested in that data (particularly if zip codes can be associated).
While my site traffic isn't massive - I have 100,000s of data points like those above. TechCrunch and other larger sites are sitting on far bigger sets of data that would be massively valuable to CMOs, product managers, advertisers, and others. Companies often launch preliminary paid search campaigns to test user appetites for certain keywords and copy... that data could be made available via natural search and effectively reveal user intent, query volume, competition, product strategies, etc.
I am not sure how the marketplace for this sort of information would work - obviously user privacy needs to be respected and it's technically complicated. I also wonder if this opens up an ad marketplace. For instance, would a web analytics company want to advertise on targeted pages where traffic arrives from the query "Google Analytics Real Time" or "Google Analytics vs Slimstat"? The impression volume likely won't be high - and it would require a long tail of content - BUT the CPMs would be very high.