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SEO Glossary - Web Analytics

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a customer life cycle step which can be defined as how successful you are in getting your prospective visitor's attention. This is reflected in the number of people who click on a link or type your domain in their browser and bring themselves to your site.
Blind Traffic
the low quality traffic that is usually generated by misleading advertising, spam and traffic from any market segment.
Error Log File
a server log file which records errors encountered.
Frequent Visitors
the visitors that have different visit frequency patterns. Note that unique visitors are reported under 'Frequent visitors' - they are just grouped by their visit frequency patterns.
a single request from a browser for a single item from a web server. This can be any file - image, download, animation, audio, video, PDF, Word, Excel, RTF document, etc. To load a single web page consisting of an HTML file, eight graphics, one CSS file and two external JavaScripts, the server will get twelve hits. In the log file analyzers, 'Hits' are often used as a measure of server activity. The term 'Hits' is commonly misused. Many people think of a hit as a visit to one of their web pages. This is incorrect. A hit takes place every time a file is accessed on your website. For example, let's say your friend's home page has a logo gif and 12 pictures on it. Every time a visitor loads that page, 14 hits are recorded: 1 for the logo gif, 12 for the pictures, and one for the page itself. So don't be all that impressed if he boasts that his site receives 1,000 hits a day. In our example, those 1,000 hits could have been generated by as few as 72 visitors to the site. The only meaningful way to evaluate the traffic flow of a site is to consider the average daily or monthly number of unique visitors and page views a website receives.
most commonly used by Network Administrators to determine the load on a single Web server within a server farm.
Host Ping
the service that checks your server's IP address for accessibility. The monitoring center sends an ICMP packet to your server's echo port and listens for a response. When the echoed packet is received from the host server, it is compared with the original packet sent. If the data matches, the host server is considered accessible.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
helps an online business define and measure progress toward its goals. KPIs are quantifiable measurements of the improvement in performing an activity that is critical to the success of any online business.
Log File
a file maintained on a server in which details of all file accesses are stored. Analyzing log files can be a powerful way to find out about website's visitors, where they come from and which queries are used to access a site. Log files are generated and maintained by the server and contain all details of any file accesses. This includes such data as the file accessed, date and time of access, referring page, user agent and more. Analyzing log files can be a powerful way to obtain information about visitors and their behavior on your website. Log files are also used to track search engine referrals and are a good way to find keywords to target for search engine optimization.
Log File Analyzer
the primary purpose of server logs is to provide information on server performance and register errors. However, they turned out to be helpful as sources of visitor information. This info is extracted from the logs and given in a legible format to end-users. The software programs that process log files and Interpret server events are called log analyzers. They are installed either on the server side or on a user's PC. In the first case, the end users need to access their site reports through a Web interface, while in the second case they should download server logs to their PCs. In both cases, there will be a lag between the time the log was created and when the website statistics are reported and viewed.
if your site is not accessible on the Web, then your potential visitors cannot see it and access your products and services. So the longer your site is down, the more money you lose. That is why it is so important to always know that your site is up and running and then to react immediately if something goes wrong. Monitoring helps you here. It checks the availability of your site and notifies you immediately if it goes down or some of its services are unavailable.
Monitoring Center
a station that sends different types of queries to your Web server to check its availability and proper functioning.
Monitoring Interval
a predefined period between checks. Depending on the monitoring plan chosen, monitoring interval can vary from 5 minutes to 2 hours. In case of failure, your Web server will receive a 'down' status and will be monitored in short intervals irrespective of your license type until the site has fully recovered.
Motivated Visits
if two or more pages are browsed during a visit, this will be counted in the Motivated Visits report. The ratio of visits when more than one page is viewed to all visits is a good sign of your site's attractiveness.
Navigation Paths
a sequence of pages that visitors viewed from the moment they enter a site to the moment they leave. From the marketing view, it is important to know the most common paths your visitors follow to get to the landing pages. You will learn which of the navigation paths are the most effective. The frequent exit patterns will show where your site is underperforming. You will see where to improve the content of your site to make your visitors' experience perfect.
New Visitor
a brand-new visitor arriving at your site for the first time. New visitors are always unique, although they are not the same as unique visitors. The number of new visitors will always be smaller than the number of unique visitors, because a unique visitor is one arriving for the first time within a selected time period (so the system may identify a visitor as unique in the current period but it also knows that he was before). A new visitor is one on his first visit.
Online Advertising
the advertising on the Internet.
Page View
used in site statistics as a measure of pages viewed rather than server hits. Many server hits may be made to access a single page, causing many separate log file entries. Analysis software can determine that these server hits were generated when a visitor viewed a single page and group them together to provide this more useful method of counting visitors. Every time a complete page displays, it counts as one page view, even when the visitor just refreshes the page or leaves it for a second and then comes back. This is a much more accurate metric than a hit for analyzing user experience.
the total number of unique users who will be served your ad over a specific period of time. Reach is often expressed as a percent of the universe for the demographic category. Also known as Unduplicated Audience.
the URL of the page a visitor viewed before proceeding to your web page. Web browsers normally provide the most recent previous URL when making a request for your site's page. To get the referrer information, visitor tracking systems look for the 'document.referrer' property in the tracking JavaScript. When a visitor uses a firewall with referrer blocking enabled or another program for the same purpose, the program won't find the external referrer and in this case the referrer will be reported under 'Undefined'.
Referring Sites
websites that link directly to your website and thereby drive traffic to you.
Repeat Visits
users who browsed your site more than once within a selected time period. In other words, these are all visits minus the first visits (or unique visitors) within a selected period. The percentage of repeat visits to all visits will give you a good picture of how appealing the content of your Web site is.
a Customer Life Cycle step which measures the activities of your repeat customers, tracking whether they are back to get support information, to make another purchase or just to do additional research.
Return on Investment (ROI)
the benefit gained in return for the cost of your ad campaign. Although exact measurement is nearly impossible, your clickthrough rate and your conversion rate combined with your advertising costs can help you assess the ROI of your campaign.
Sales Funnel
a metric that measures visitor actions on your site, their path from the beginning till the sale. Suspect, Prospect, Lead, Opportunity and Sale are steps of this path according to the Sales Funnel.
Site Stickiness
the visits grouped by the time that visitors stay. It is a sign of how well a site's content captures the visitor's attention.
Target Audience
the intended audience for an ad, usually defined in terms of specific demographics (age, income, etc.), product purchase behavior, product usage or media usage.
Targeted Traffic
the visitors to your website that are interested in your particular product or service.
the amount of visitors that view web pages. SEO companies often use such terms as 'targeted traffic' and 'qualified traffic' - the art of attracting visitors to your site who have an interest in the sites theme.
Traffic Sites
the sites built solely with the purpose of obtaining rankings in the search engines. They generally consist of nothing but doorway pages and are designed to snare the search engine traffic and pass it on to the main website. Unscrupulous search engine optimizers often use many traffic sites which are extensively cross-linked to manipulate link popularity. This technique is also known as 'domain spamming' and is forbidden by all search engines' terms of use. The use of this technique is a sure way of earning a ban from the index. Google easily identifies the clusters of traffic sites which use this technique to hoard link popularity and removes them from its index.
Unique User
a single individual or browser who accesses a site or is served unique content and/or ads. Unique users can be identified by user registration or cookies. Also known as Unique Visitor.
Unique Visitor
a real visitor to a website. Web servers record the IP addresses of each visitor and this is used to determine the number of real people who have visited a web site. If someone visits twenty pages within a website, the server will count only one unique visitor (because the page accesses are all associated with the same IP address) but twenty page accesses.
the total population of the audience you're measuring.
a measure of visitor activity on a web page. A visit is a single session starting the moment a visitor enters your site to the moment he leaves. For example, if the report tells you had 2,600 visits on a certain day, it means the users came to your website 2,600 times. More technically, a visit is a sequence of requests during a session, all made by the same visitor identified by a cookie file (or IP address, user agent and other browser settings that can help to recognize a visitor). The session begins when a visitor moves to your web page from a page located at a different domain - i.e. the referrer is an external web page - and ends when a visitor leaves your web page for another external web page. There is no time limit for the session continuing if an external referrer is identified. Sometimes, an external referrer is not defined. This often happens when a visitor's firewall or special software program cloaks referrer information. So, if a referrer is unknown, such a visitor's session is considered new after 15 minutes inactivity. A visitor may come to your site several times a day. All these will count as visits, whereas only his first visit during the day (or other selected time period) is included in the 'Visitors' number.
a measure of visitor activity that counts only the first action of a visitor in a selected period of time. Unique visitor tracking is mainly based on a cookie technology. If a visitor's browser does not support cookies, an alternative visitor identification procedure is used. A visitor is identified by IP address, user agent, browser language settings, etc. Take a simplified example. Imagine having only one visitor to our site. This visitor arrives at the home page. After the tracking script has run and the WebCEO HitLens variables have been passed to the tracking system, HitLens makes a record of this visitor: one visitor, one visit and one page view. If the visitor then goes to another page of our site, only the page views count increases: one visitor, one visit and two page views. The visitor leaves the site, comes back after a few hours on the same day and views only the home page. The tracking system will update the information about this visitor as follows: one visitor, two visits and three page views. Next day, the visitor returns to your site and browses three pages. The tracking system will log on that day: one visitor, one visit and three page views. You will see these stats exactly as described if you run daily HitLens reports for our imaginary site.
Visitor Tracking System
a web counter is a piece of JavaScript that allows you to measure and almost instantaneously report on site visitors. Typically, a visitor tracking system consists of the following links: a Web Page with the tracking script in it -- a Visitor's Browser accessing a web page: it reads the tracking JavaScript and follows instructions -- a Tracking Server triggered the moment a web page is accessed by a visitor's browser and where the data about a web page visit are primarily transmitted to and temporarily stored -- a Database Server where the data is then distributed, collected, processed and permanently stored -- the End User's Computer accessing the database server. If you employ this technology, you need to place a small (invisible to visitors) JavaScript in every web page so it is tracked. The tracking JavaScript tells the browser to request a 1x1 pixel image hosted on the WebCEO tracking server. Each time a web page is viewed, a browser requests the image at a different URL. This prevents caching of the image -- the browser needs to request the image when it loads a page, and as a result, data for each page is transferred to the tracking server. The tracking script also inserts a cookie file in your visitors' browsers, so the system will recognize visitors when they come back to the site - this is for tracking unique visitors. This process takes much longer to read about than to happen in real life. Normally, only a few seconds (though it depends on many technical factors relating to the quality of the Internet connection) before the Web statistics become available for reporting.
Web Analytics
the measurement of visitor behavior to a website. In a commercial context, it especially refers to the measurement of which aspects of a website work towards the business objectives; for example, which landing pages encourage people to make a purchase.

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