Chapter 6. Web Stats Monitoring

Analyzing your website stats is at the core of your SEO work. Although Google Analytics, which we will cover in Chapter 7, may be an appealing choice for online marketers, it is based on JavaScript, which means that only web pages are tracked when using the out-of-the-box configuration. Any clients with disabled JavaScript will also be missed, as will any pages with the missing Google Analytics code.

As such, more often than not marketing departments will need to ask their IT folks to produce web stats reports based on web server logs because they cannot get the information they need from Google Analytics.

This chapter opens with a discussion of web server logs, with a focus on the NCSA log formats. Next, we’ll turn our attention to three popular web stats tools: the relatively inexpensive WebLog Expert, as well as two free tools, AWStats and Webalizer.

Web Server Logs and Formats

Each time visitors come to your website, the web server hosting your files records this activity. A web hit is a single file request from your website. Typically, when you browse to a web page, chances are you will see text, graphics, animations, and/or videos as part of the page.

It is likely that most of the nontext elements are stored in separate files. Although all you did was type a single URL, the web browser has placed multiple requests to create or render the page. In doing so, it has effectively created multiple web hits on your behalf.

Each website hit is recorded on ...

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