Web Analytics History – Part 2 – SEO Becomes A Thing

Click here to read Web Analytics History – Part 1

In my last web analytics history post I mentioned that the reason we ended up switching to from web log files to cloud based analytics (Hitbox was the first one I can remember) is that the server logs were getting too big when combined together.  A million visitor site was getting at least 10 gigabytes of “hit” data, and the old Webtrends reports could not run properly.  Remember back in 2000 you had to move files around at pre-gigabyte rates, so just file moving was a big issue.

Sampling Data Is Never Going To Be Accurate

Anyway, this leads to what I refer to as “sampling”.  Sampling means that you will never have complete accuracy in the data.  But just the fact I could dive deep into the page views and visitor data through my browser for the first time was amazing.  I was able to get some basic KPIs (Key Performance Indices) for the first time.  There was no turning back, real analytics for the web was here to stay.

SEO before there was SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

So, in late 2001 when I was a web analyst on a big ecommerce company, we had just founded Pre-Dating.com, the speed dating company.  We found out right away that how we placed our text into title tags, keywords, meta tags, H1, H2 meant life or death of our fledgling speed dating company.  Since then, if you put the key word terms “Speed Dating Fort Lauderdale” or “Speed Dating Seattle” or most any city, our site comes up pretty high in the natural search if not #1.  Now we have some advantage with the aging of the domain “Pre-Dating.com“.  Sometime around early 2005, I was working on a web analytics gig for VictoriasSecret.com using Coremetrics as well as abcdistributing.com, when somebody pointed out to me that SEO is now a growing consulting field.   I understand the value of it, but not to the extent that the market valued SEO.  I was and I am an expert at SEO because of my experience.  A few of the guys who chatted with me about SEO became innovators in the field and some had multi-million dollar SEO companies within a year or 2.  Did not see that coming.

Anyway, the final part of this is Web Analytics was kind of pushed aside for these SEO cowboys who came to town and were all about SEO, which was getting more natural traffic, sometime the right way and sometimes black hat.  We were experts at this already, but the SEO guys and gals rode this train from the station.  Sadly enough the SEO people have relegated Web Analytics to a minor task. That would be a big mistake in most of these large enterprises.  If you are in a business that is serious about your data and your site, then it is critical you get somebody working on it today.  You need strategic thinking, business management skills, understanding of programming and web technology (helps to be a developer), being a writer and presenter.  That is the skills we bring. StrategicPoints can do this for you.  We have over 20 years of web experience and we can do the job. Contact us through this form below:

Web Analytics Consulting History Part 1

Web Logs Becomes Web Analytics

In 1999 I was working for abc distributing in North Miami.  We had been using Webtrends at the time for web analytics.  Actually I don’t think we called it web analytics.  We called it Web Log Analysis. Logfile analysis did not last long. These web logs were just the files that track every file (like image, html, etc.).  We actually call these hits.  Hits are anything that hits the server.  The problem with hits, which would eventually go away as well, is hits are not real people.  You can have one visitor who visits one time, but because there were 50 images in the page, 10 javascript libraries adn 10 other things, there were 70 hits during that one browser session.  Alas, hits goes into the bin of not so important history.

Accuracy vs. Knowing What Was Going On!

What drove this large ecommerce company I worked for to move to cloud based web analytics is that the logfiles got to big to analyze. I found this out the hard way when I was trying to merge together the log files of several large web servers.  There was like 4 gigabytes of data per server.  Maybe today that sounds like not so much.  Actually it is a lot still when it comes to trying to merge millions of lines in files. We needed at least 5 front-line servers at abc distributing, because at the time you needed a bunch of servers with an F4 in front to handle their traffic.  Unless I merged all those files and ran one report, there was no way of knowing the sites real traffic.  I needed an answer quick.

Hitbox To The Rescue

So at that time, the leading lower end cloud based analysis solution was called Hitbox, by Websidestory (always thought that was a nice play on words).   Hitbox would eventually be acquired and merge into Omniture Site Catalyst, which I also have expertise in.  Just happens I was around so early on in the web analytics field that I was helping the Hitbox team figure out what to actually look at.  Years later, as I look around for web analytics consulting work, I still see that web analytics has been relegated quite often to a not so important task done by a not so important employee.  Alas, that is where using a seasoned web analytics consultant like myself can make a big difference.

Seasoned Web Analytics Expert

So, if you are looking for a web analytics expert, do not hesitate to contact me to find out what I can do for your business.  It really does not matter if it is Omniture SiteCatalyst, Coremetrics, Google Analytics or one of a dozen others out there.  I have the experience to help you.  Getting the right consultant can make all the difference. Please fill out the form below to contact me.  Thanks, Dan Gudema.

Click here to go to Web Analytics History – Part 2 – SEO becomes a thing