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ABOUT HOW TO INTERNET

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I - S - A - L - E - S D - I - G - E - S - T

"Data -> Information -> Knowledge -> Wisdom"

List Moderator: Supported by: John Audette Multimedia Marketing Group
ja@mmgco.com http://www.adventive.com

March 23, 1998 Digest # 636

"Analyzing Traffic"
~ Rod Aries


Subject: Re: Webtrends

Jon, I think many people see log analysis primarily as way to "count hits" on a site, at least I initially did.

While the number of visitors, unique page views, hits, repeat visitors et al is important and interesting, I have found that by looking at specific log traffic information (i.e. how and why people got to my internet sites via the search engines etc.) to be far more valuable than the body count.

The number of visitors is a post-effort analysis and a by-product of how your page is designed. Using "how and why people got to your internet site" as feedback allows you to structure your site according to how users are searching for your site, and also provides insight into what people are really looking for by the way they structure their keyword searches.

For the past 4-5 months, I have reviewed my logs manually (it was easy when I was at 200 visits per month-most of them me, just checking to see if my site was there). I became fascinated with how people found my site. As my first internet site http://www.net-savings.net   grew (Nov--200; Dec--1,000; Jan--5,200; Feb--16,100; March-- 24,000+) I also began to search for software that could do what I had been doing manually, by examining each line of my log.

I searched the net and found WebTrends (and MarketWave - see below), it has many exceptional features, most of which you can find at their web site. I especially liked the tracking of key words by search engine and comprehensive reports.

One thing that disappointed me in WebTrends, was the inability to actually take the exact search engine look up and replicate it, so I can see how the viewer sequenced his keywords, and also so I can replicate the exact search to see where I ranked, who ranked ahead of me, etc.

In example, I can take the following user generated search, see the terms used (i.e., discount phone rates) and see where it ranks in the search engine (Infoseek).

http://www.infoseek.com/Titles?col=New+Search&qt=Discount+phone+rate s&oq=Discount+phone+rates&sv=N5&lk=noframes&nh=
10http://www.infoseek..com/Titles?col=New+Search&qt=Discount+phone+rates&oq=
Discount+phone +rates&sv=N5&lk=noframes&nh=1

Of all the techniques discussed on search engine optimization, meta-jacking, keyword frequency, content relevancy, keyword penetration... this simple technique of replicating user search terms has resulted in the greatest knowledge as to what works and what doesn't. I have added 5,000++ unique page views a month by just seeing how people come to my site, and who ranked ahead of me, and then 1) tweaking my existing pages and 2) adding new pages that offer more information on the keywords people were looking for -- it has been that simple. Now, I know I am nowhere near your 2.4M hits per month, but I believe the same principle applies: Find out how they are arriving at your site, make it easier for them to find you, and your visits will go up.

I have sent a note to technical support at WebTrends, asking that this feature be added. I told them that I couldn't believe that I was the only person who ever asked for this report...

So how does this note respond to your initial request?? I would suggest that any software you acquire have the ability to specifically tell you what keywords were searched, by search engine, in order for the visitor to find your site.

Jon, I would be very interested in receiving forwarded copies of your replies as I am looking at the functionality of this and other software. I am demo-ing WebTrends on my site, and plan on offering it, on a resale basis, if they can add this feature.

You may also want to visit -- http://www.marketwave.com/ --and demo their package, (I currently do not sell or represent this service).

At your service,
Rod Aries

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