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The Importance of Referrer Logs

posted 18 Oct 2010, 08:08 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 18 Oct 2010, 08:09 ]

So what is a referrer log and why is it important? Basically
referrer logs help you analyze the traffic coming to your
website

Whist each referrer log program may differ in different
respects they will incorporate to some degree some of the
following information:-

-Which pages were accessed the most or least. -The keywords
which were used to find your site -The search engines which
sent the traffic to you -The type of technology used by your
visitors -Which spiders visited your site -What the average
length of time was that visitors spent on your site -The
number of page views per day -Any server errors -Which were
the top entry and exit pages -The bandwidth. This is the
measure of the traffic on the site. It is measured in
kilobytes of data transferred. -A summary is provided which
gives information on the activity which has taken place on a
particular day.

So where do you get this information? By default many
hosting accounts do not generally include referrer logs as a
standard practice but they can be provided normally at an
additional monthly cost

There are also relatively inexpensive FTP software programs
available which can help you through logging into the host
server.

A quality log analysis software program can help you read
the information since the raw data is often rather
cumbersome to read.

Is it worth the additional cost?

Many people would say that providing your traffic is
increasing what is the point of analyzing further especially
as this will take up more of your precious time.

The advantages are:-

By knowing which search engines are sending you the most
traffic you can boost your optimization strategies by
creating additional pages for other relevant keyword
phrases. On the other hand if a particular engine is not
sending you sufficient traffic then you can consider
alternative strategies to rectify the position.

Analyzing your referrer logs it is likely that you will find
certain keywords/phrases are more successful than others
which means that you can eliminate those which are not
pulling in the visitors with and replace with those that
are.

However you should note that referrer information can be
disabled on certain browsers. This is because in certain
cases it may violate privacy.

Some software can also be used to block or filter out
referrer information so as to keep websites private. This
can result in other issues though as some web servers do not
allow access to certain parts of their site to browsers that
do not transmit the correct referrer information. The reason
for this is to prevent unauthorised bandwidth or deep
linking*

(*Deep Linking on the www is making a hyperlink that points
to a specific page or image on another website's main or
home page. Such links are called deep links and are
considered a violation of netiquette.)

Whilst there is some software that claims to overcome this
issue it is not too effective as the referrer can be easily
faked.

So is the use of referrer logs worthwhile?

Only you can judge but the more you can fine tune your
marketing efforts the more successful you will be.

To YOUR success

John Beaumont

About the Author:

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