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I'm trying to understand the most common queries entered on Google (or Bing or Yahoo!) for a given topic, in the context of a study. This is not exactly SEO, but it's closely related.

In my study, I want to investigate what search engines return regarding (for example) the causes of the war in Iraq, and see what content is being displayed. I don't manage any site on the topic: I am interested in the most popular queries entered on search engines for this topic.

The problem is: as a user, I can enter a variety of queries to investigate that topic, such as:

  • iraq war causes
  • war in Iraq causes
  • causes of the war in iraq
  • war iraq democracy
  • war iraq oil
  • war iraq terrorism
  • etc

Each query obviously returns different results - although some pages are returned for most queries. Unsurprisingly, it seems that no big search engine like Google or Bing release precise data on popular queries around a topic. So basically I can't assess exactly the most common queries. To solve this issue, I could select a set of arbitrary but reasonable queries for a topic, and analyse the results, but the study would be heavily biased by my choices.

What method would you adopt to select a set of queries that represent well a given topic? I couldn't find any well-established methodology to do this.

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closed as too broad by Eight Days of Malaise, ChrisF Jan 11 '14 at 16:05

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Look to Google Trends.

For example, here is the trend page for the search iraq war.

The bottom of the page shows similar queries and rankings.

Google Trends

At the top of the page, you can download a csv of more complete statistics (under the gear icon).

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