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Web Analytics, SEO & SEM

Web Analytics, SEO & SEM

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Published by: cspak1017 on Oct 16, 2009
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07/28/2010

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Web Site Attraction:How Web Analytics, SEO & SEM make an impactBy: Courtney Spak
 
 Web analytics is a relatively new, but extremely fast growing field. In fact,according to a Forrester Research report, companies in the United States willmore than double the amount of money they invest in web analytics in order tomeasure how well their marketing campaigns are succeeding. So what are webanalytics, anyway? According to the Web Analytics Association, web analytics, “isthe objective tracking, collection, measurement, reporting, and analysis of quantitative Internet data to optimize websites and web marketing initiatives.” Itis used as a means of understanding the activities of people surfing the web, where they tend to go, and how to optimize performance based upon the analysis.There are a variety of metrics used to measure performance. Although notnecessarily, 100% accurate, the ensuing data is extremely valuable and powerfulin terms of understanding how to get more out websites. The results of webanalytics allow companies to develop and maintain deeper relationships withtheir clients that create value to their business.There are two different types of web analytics – on-site and-off site. On-site is primarily what most people think of when they think of web analytics. It ismeasuring the activity of users on your website. It follows the path the user takes when they go on your website. Off-site web analytics measures demographics,search engine query data and, information on competitors. It can be usedregardless of whether or not you actually have a website. Many companies thatspecialize web analytics provide a combination of both on-site and off-site data totheir customers.
 
 
There are a variety of ways in which web analytics data is collected on a website. Everywhere a person goes on the web, they leave behind a trail. Themethods used to collect data are web log files, web beacons, JavaScript pagetagging, and packet sniffers. Of all of those though, web logs and page taggingare the two most often used. It can be argued that one is better or more accuratethan the other, but to be most accurate, sometimes it is necessary to employ acouple of different methods. Web log analysis is the method of web analytics that has been around thelongest. How it works is the web server has a web log that keeps track of allrequests for URLs. The software takes the web log and parses it from the server.Once analyzed, it is put into a report to tell you who was on the site, when andhow long they visited the site, and how they got to the site. This method of dataanalysis is pretty simple and there are a variety of tools and software available,and most of them are free.Another method used by most companies is called page tagging. It is very simple to do on your own. It starts with the placement of a small bit of JavaScriptcode on your webpage that allows you to capture user information in the browser. When the URL request is sent to the web server, it sends the page to the user andexecutes the JavaScript code in the page. It will then send back to the serverinformation about the user’s session, as well as cookies.The other two methods of data collection are web beacons and packetsniffing. Web beacons are typically a transparent graphic image, usually no

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