What is Log Analysis
In terms of how search engines are crawling your website, your log file contains valuable information in order to investigate and leverage page optimization. These files can be called as storage of all the information about a website?s usability such as how, when and where it is used. The data received is recorded anonymously, and includes information including the time and date in which the user made the request, the requested IP address, the URL/content requested, and the user-agent from the browser. Logs can be generated from any intelligent and programmable device like network devices, operating systems, applications and more. They are mainly used for technical site auditing and debugging of the operation of an application.
Significance of Log Analysis in SEO
Like a ?black box? in an aircraft, the static file or log file is a file in which web servers usually store their each transaction which makes this file important to track websites and getting information about their popularity. Giving you deep insight about your website?s usability, visibility and popularity, the log file helps you to track and identify the history of your website. It can also highlight errors in your HTML code and the type of visitors attracted to your site.
In the same way, each request for the content made to the server is also recorded and can see specifically what search engines are crawling by, filtering the user-agent and client IP range accordingly. With that valuable data at hand, log files are a powerful way of auditing and understanding search engine crawl actions for your website.
Log File Analysis can identify:
- Allocation of?crawl budget
- Accessibility errors that were encountered during search engine crawl
- Areas of crawl deficiency
To analyze the impact of your SEO from a technical perspective, above mentioned areas have the potential to disclose the wider issues like duplicate or thin / low quality content , and site performance / speed. Thereby, the success or failure of ?search engine optimization campaign? can be easily and quickly identified.
How to read Log files
Since these static files have special session, characters, database information, segregating and interpreting this data to get the information in a required format is very difficult. In order to interpret manually, a SEO professional would be a perfect interpreter who can map technical terminology from different log sources into a uniform, understandable terminology so that reports and statistics can be derived from a heterogeneous environment.
However, manually it is difficult to interpret but thanks to the technology that now log files can also be read by a program known as web log analysis software or web log analyzer. These programs syntactically analyze a log file from a web server using the records contained in the file and provide information related to the website traffic and visitors.
Meanwhile, some useful tools and solutions are also available for you such as Logsene?, Papertrail,?Logentries, Splunk?and Loggly. These are some of the most powerful tools that provide deep insight of log files by letting you collect, store, index, search, correlate, visualize, and analyze the records.
Which Log Files to consider for ensuring the optimization of the website:
There is some valuable data to be examined on a daily, weekly or monthly basis in order to ensure site design and its optimization:
- Most Requested Page(s) and Top Entry Pages
Under the title named as titled as ?Most Requested Pages ” and also ?Top Entry Pages? you can get following information:
?These pages are those ones which you have optimized for target keywords.
- You can use information from these pages to guide visitors to the right pathways to your site which you consider as Top entry pages of your site.
- Can be determined whether your site visitors are navigating from your plotted visitor pathways or via ways that you didn?t intend.
- Page refreshes
It can give you information regarding:
- Site usability issues for visitors
- Any glitch in the site triggering visitors to refresh the page frequently.
- Entry Paths
?These entry pages can report you about the following:
- Entry pathways are often optimized Home pages or optimized content pages. And the end page of this route is usually the action that you want your clients to take at your website. For an example, you are a businessman and you provide products for male and female then your entry pathways would be:
????????????? home page —> female page —> order page —> order confirmation page
????????????? home page —> male page —> order page —> order confirmation page
- Website visitor?s entry pathways are important to monitor the effectiveness of your page optimization and conversions.
- Top Exit Pages:
“Top Exit Pages” is where you can learn why visitors are leaving your site. It can explain you:
- If there is a bug in your page that causes visitors to leave your site
- The strategic pathway broken at your site design indicates your site may have few external links enforcing your clients to click away before signing up your news feed or buying your product and service.
- If there is anything irrelevant content or confusing format leading clients to leave your site.
- Referring Domains and Referring URLs:
Under the title named as ?Referring Domains” and “Referring URLs” you can get details about the following
- Location of the visitors from the sites that are linked to yours or bloggers and forum members are talking about your site.
- Referring Domains tell you which sites are linking to yours and Referring URLs explain the actual pages where the links are located. For an example, in http://unyscape.com/knowledge/ ?knowledge? listed after domain name unyscape.com is showing that exact page, link is coming from.
- Monitoring this data can tell you if a link-building campaign at your site is required or the performance and results of various online and offline advertising campaigns are effective or not.
- Search Engine Referrals
Look for a chart or graph titled “Search Engines” within your site statistics to see ?Search Engine Referrals?. It gives you details about:
- What percentage of overall traffic is coming directly from search engines?
- By tracking the response from search engines both free and paid submission, you can decide which submission is giving your site more popularity.
- It can also help you in taking decision regarding the number of search engines, your site should be submitted to.
- Search Phrases
To look for the search phrases your site was found for, see the title called “Search Phrases”. It explains you about the following:
- in the search engine.(frame again)
- Whether that phrase matches what your site was optimized for?
- Are there some other attractive phrases, you wish to develop site content for?
- Metric values that indicates a drastic change from developing trends
The website metrics can give you specific information about:
- If metrics indicate a radical change from one month to the next, it could brief about a problem with your site or with your optimization campaign.
- For an example, if your search engine referrals have reduced dramatically, it might shows that you triggered penalty from search engine.
- Identifying changing trends at early stage gives you the opportunity to recognize the problem areas and bring solutions if necessary.
As various programs and methods for log analysis are used, their terminology may also differ from above mentioned terms hence better to ask your site admin or hosting provider to highlight these terms for you.
From the above concept of Log analysis, we are able to better understand its significance and scope. These are gold mines filled with vital information about your optimized web site. If you keep tracking on a regular basis, you’ll eventually strike it rich with success.