Web Site Visitor Statistics and Log File Analysis
Log File Analysis FAQ
Each month, there is specific data about your web site that you
should be looking at in your site statistics or log files. Such data can give you
insights about your site's useability, errors in your HTML code, the
popularity of your site pages and the type of visitors your site
attracts. Several variables should be examined on a regular basis in
relation to metrics and conversion:
1. Pathways through your site
Most sites can be developed and analysed around the concept of visitor
pathways. If, for example, your site is a Business to Business (B2B)
site and you service small, medium and large businesses, there should be
pathways designed for each class of visitors. An extremely simplified
example would be:
Clients coming to the site through an optimized home page:
home page ---> small business page ---> order page ---> order
home page ---> medium business page ---> order page ---> order
home page ---> large business page ---> order page ---> order
Clients coming to the site through optimized sub-pages:
small business page ---> order page ---> order confirmation page
medium business page ---> order page ---> order confirmation page
large business page ---> order page ---> order confirmation page
The site entry pages for these pathways is often the optimized home
pages and other (optimized) content pages and the final page of this
route is often the action that you want clients to take on your site
(e.g., sign up for your newsletter, buy your products online or contact
you for further information).
You should have some idea of the main pathways that clients take through
your site, both for monitoring visitor activity and for subsequent site
There are a number of analytics to determine the pathways through your
site and a good starting point is to look at Entry Paths in your monthly metrics.
2. The page from which most visitors click away from your site.
Why do you want to know the page(s) from which most visitors leave your
site? There are a number of reasons, including:
a. Is there a technical problem with the page that is causing visitors
to leave your site? For example, are there broken links, is the form on
the page not working properly, etc? These are technical problems that
you may not have noticed and which may be causing you to lose business.
b. Do you have links to an external site that is inducing clients to
click away before buying your product, signing up for your newsletter,
contacting you via email, etc? While external links are fine -
especially if you are building link popularity for your site - they
should be strategically placed on your site so that before visitors
click on these links, they will first follow the pathway through your
site to the behavior you want them to take.
c. Is there something on this page that is encouraging visitors to leave
your site? Is the page less than professional? Is there something on the
site that is considered undesirable by your clients? These questions are
good to consider on the page(s) from which most clients leave your site
(assuming, of course, that these pages are not the pages you want
visitors to leave from, such as your quotation page.)
In your monthly site metrics, Top Exit Pages, is a good place look to see where most visitors are
leaving your site.
3. Single access pages
Here you want to know why visitors are only viewing one page of your
site. The questions you ask yourself in response to this are similar to
the questions in 2 (The page from which most visitors click away from
your site), above. Visitors could be leaving after viewing only one page
for a number of reasons, including that your search terms aren't
targeted enough for the traffic you are getting to these pages.
To see what pages of your site are single access, have a look at Single Access Pages.
4. Most visited page(s) and top entry pages.
You should monitor these pages for a number of reasons and these pages
will often be the pages you have had optimized, pages you have targeted
in a Pay-per-click campaign or pages advertising product specials. The
top entry pages are particularly relevant as you consider the pathways
through your site - that is, do the top entry pages have any
relationship to the beginning pages for your plotted visitor pathways?
To see your most popular web site pages, look at the graph called Most Requested Pages.
To see the top pages used to enter your site, look at the graph called Top Entry Pages
5. Landing pages for PCC Campaigns, etc.
6. Metric values that show a radical change from developing trends
These values can be seen in a number of graphs that come with your
metrics, but the quickest way to have an overview of these values is by
looking at the monthly totals for specific values in the "Data Input
Sheet" that is the second sheet of your Web Rank monthly metrics (Web Rank clients only). For
example, are your search engine referrals dropping dramatically? This
could indicate that you have been penalized in a search engine (or more
than one). You will be able to see monthly totals at a glance and also
at the end of the 12 months you will see an average for most values.
7. Page refreshes
Why are visitors refreshing pages on your site? Are the pages not
loading properly? This is a variable to monitor on a monthly basis in
order to insure that there are not site usability issues for visitors.
To see what pages are being refreshed, look at Page
8. Where your site visitors are coming from
Are your visitors coming from search engine referrals? Are they coming
from sites that are linked to yours? This is information that all site
owners need to follow, in order to consider their need for possible
submission to various search engines, the need for link-building
campaigns, the effectiveness of various advertising campaigns online,
To see the list of domains giving your site the most referrals, look at Referring Domains.
To see specific URLs from which your visitors have come, look at the graph called Referring URLs.
9. Search Engine Referrals
How many of your visitors are coming directly from search engines? This
is a good variable to monitor to ascertain the success of your
optimization campaign and to plan for further search engine submission
efforts (both free submission and paid submission).
To see search engine referrals, look either at the graph called Search Engines, or at the monthly total for all engines on the
"Data Input Sheet" of your Web Rank monthly metrics (Web Rank clients only).
10. Search Phrases
This topic is related to search engine referrals generally, but gives
added insight into what terms you were actually found for in the search
engines. Do these terms match what your site was optimised for? Are
there any surprising terms that you might want to develop site content
To see the search phrases your site was found for, look at the chart called Search Phrases.
Web Rank SEO Campaign Performance Reports including detailed site metrics are delivered monthly
together with search engine ranking reports via a password protected
folder on our Web Rank site, with email prompts when new data is added
Our clients find these reports particularly useful for
justifying/curbing Internet expenditure, making content changes and
planning for future site expansion. Pricing is part of our standard
optimisation packages and a quotation is available upon request,
following the preparation of a
Search Engine Compatibility Review. (Request a quotation