Search Engine Traffic & Analyzing your Traffic
The types of traffic that a web site is receiving is what will make or break its online presence and effectiveness. The information gained from analyzing traffic to a web site can prove invaluable. The information that can be found through an effective analysis session can be used for soliciting advertisers, tracking which promotion methods work best, and even suggest improvements to the site.
The consistent and methodical tracking and analyzing of traffic to any web site can prove to be invaluable for serious web site owners. Hidden within many server logs and scary looking code, lies a wealth of information that one would need to know in order to improve the site in many ways.
There are many tools that can be used to analyze traffic and server logs. Regardless of the tools used by any site owner or optimizing professional, the following information should be researched to maximize site potential. Again, these are only the basics, but do serve as very informative sources to help determine web sites effectiveness from the user's point of view.
Unique Site Visitors
A unique visitor is really a single computer connecting to a web site. While each visitor may view several pages and travel throughout a site's various pages and resources, they will only register once as a unique visitor (usually per 24 hour period).
Total Number of Page views
Most statistical analysis tools see a page view as a count of singular web pages requested from a web site’s server. Often, one unique visitor may view a number of pages. One excellent way to see how well your site works, is by figuring out how many pages on average each visitor looks at. In order to figure this out, simply take the overall number of page views for a given amount of time, and divide that amount by the number of unique visitors in that same reporting time span. The result of having this information is that it is extremely helpful in determining whether you need to work on navigational systems or the addition of enticing content and teasers aimed at directing visitors to move throughout your site.
A few years ago, web sites were determined a success if they had the most hits. This is one of the most important myths to forget as web site analysis achieves new levels of achievement. Essentially, a hit is recorded when a site's web server serves up one particular file from a client request. It is critical to understand that, if a web site has 15 separate images serving as a navigational bar; every time a user access any page with that bar they are registering as 16 hits. 1 hit would then be recorded for the HTML formatted page and another 15 hits for each individual image. While reviewing the number of hits, keep in mind that every single resource that is loaded onto a page, whether it be an image, cgi-script, java script, or additional plug in; a hit is recorded. Therefore, the number of hits is not always a good way to measure a sites success in relation to traffic.
Every time a web surfer browses any page on any site, their browser software sends a referrer to the destination's server. This allows analysts to track where their visitors have been arriving from when they originally get to their particular web site. This information alone serves as an excellent foundation of clarifying the success (or failure) of link affiliation programs, banner advertisements, and other resourceful listing services. Through understanding where the bulk of visitors are coming from, site owners and designers can begin to research various methods of promotion or advertising based upon the main sources of referrals.
Browser Software & Version, Resolution, OS
Unfortunately, not all traffic analysis programs and services are able to decipher the information within log files to determine the browser software, screen resolution, and operating system of each user.