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  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    If you have enough traffic, you can get a wealth of information from your logs.

    Here's something I'm currently working on:

    For the traffic from search engines (and internal searches), I can see what search terms people are searching for and what page they land on. On one of my sites, I'm building a database table to map those terms to pages. I'm going to be able to use that data in several different ways:

    1) It provides great keyword lists for PPC.
    2) I can improve my internal search by using the data.
    3) When I get traffic from search engines that isn't going to the most optimal page, I can either redirect to it to the best page or dynamically insert a link to the best page.

    Of course all this takes some programming skills, but it's certainly worth the effort.
    Michael Coley
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  2. #2
    Full Member ahmar's Avatar
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    Thanks MC for the tip, makes sense and definitely worth a short.
    <DT>[size=1][color=navy]"The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return.[/color][/size]<DT>[size=1][color=navy]It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale." Arthur C. Clark[/color][/size]</DT>

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    Nothing pays better than helping the customer find what they are looking for.
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  4. #4
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    I couldn't agree more... raw access logs are the jewels of any site.

    All of the reasons above are valid, but I would also like to add that it's an excellent way to track which link exchange partners you may have are delivering, and which are only of use for the anchor text..

    Great info, Michael

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    If you have enough traffic, you can get a wealth of information from your logs.
    1) It provides great keyword lists for PPC.
    Be careful with that, it is not a good feedback loop and could cause you to narrow your audience and not expand it.

    Chet

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I wouldn't suggest it as the ONLY means of getting keywords, but it certainly provides a bunch of good ones.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Anyone not spending time with their logs (and analyzing them properly), is missing a lot of great information.

    Aside from just spotting problems, you can: Find out what SE's have referred traffic to you, what the key-words were, and where the traffic landed, and where they went. And that's just a little bit of what you get. If your log analyzer can't tell you what the above things are, then you have the wrong program.

    Fred

  8. #8
    Not Verif-Lidated infoTim's Avatar
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    One time I wrote a little thing to detect if the referer was a search engine and then pick out the query string that was used and then use it to pre-populate the search box's value on my site. So if you got to my site by searching for "widgets" on google, then the search box already had "widgets" typed in to it, in case the page you wound up at wasn't the best fit.

    Somebody e-mailed me and was all freaked out that I had "hacked into google and was stealing their cookie" or something. Funny. :-)
    Tim
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  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    "One time I wrote a little thing to detect if the referer was a search engine and then pick out the query string that was used and then use it to pre-populate the search box's value on my site."

    Cool ! Have to remember that one (and try it myself).

    Fred

  10. #10
    Affiliate Marketer Rogi's Avatar
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    buy_online,

    Just out of curiosity, which log analyzer are you using? and what does it cost?

    I use the AWSTATS log analyzer but it's lacking the info you mentioned (ie; from search engine, to landing page and to next visited page)

    I know there's good ones like clicktracks etc, but any good ones for a smaller budget?

  11. #11
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    I use Faststats which seems to be a good comprise between the expensive Rolls-Royce products and the freebies.

    Have a look at
    http://www.wynsoft.co.uk/logs/
    which is an article I wrote ages ago but has a list of all the products that were around at the time (free and non-free), so there may be more recent products not listed there(if you find I have missed any let me know and I will update the article)

    Les

  12. #12
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    I'm not a massive fan of log file analyzers - they tend to give very misleading information about things like repeat visitors, overall number of visitors and so on. And, of course, raw logs don't set cookies for each visitor, so any analysis about visitor behaviours is necessarily flawed. Just something to keep in mind.

  13. #13
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    I agree on the misleading information. Far better to figure out what you want to know then write something that dives in and gets just that.

    Wish I could figure something that would tell me the difference between a click on the back button, a click on the close box or a click out to Adsense...

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Rogi, I currently use Web Log Explorer Pro. I think the cost is under $ 100. US (as I recall). I have noticed many are above that price. A suggestion. Download a few, and give them a test ride - almost all have a limited demo you can download.

    Lastly, please re-read what Markymark said. I think he makes a very valid point. Some live and die by their stats, I think one has to be careful with the metrics retrieved from the log.

    Short story here is "Trends," and overall visitor/other behavior for evaluating changes to your site. I also try to look at the error reports, and why they were generated.

    Fred

  15. #15
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    Just to second some of the above comments ...

    unlike most other things I have come across in IT over the last 30 years, web stats are never absolutes, and never will be because of things like caching (both server and client side), people pressing cancel or refresh, spiders (search engine, etc), to mention a few. There are tricks and sneaky things one can do to minimise the discrepancies but it is probably not worth the effort.

    However they can give a good indication of traffic trends and what search engines phrases are currently giving you traffic.



    Les

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