how-to-read-awstats

How to read AWStats to improve your website position

AWStats is a powerful reporting tool used to track visitors to your website. Any hosting package from myself includes this feature already built in.

This article attempts to explain the main terms used in AWStats so you can make sense of where people are coming from, why they are coming to your site and how you can use this to improve your position in the search engines.

  • Number of visits and number of unique visitors
    A unique visitor is a person / computer that has made a visit to your page, this is counted once. The number of visits are counted multiple times so if two people visit your page twice in a month, there would be two unique visitors and four visits.
  • Visits duration
    The visits duration section shows how much time visitors are spending on the website before leaving.
  • Usage by months, days of the week and hours of the day
    These sections shows the individual statistics for each day of the month / week and hours of the day.
  • Domains/countries
    This is pretty self-explanatory. It shows which countries your visitors are coming from.
  • Most viewed, entry and exit pages
    The most viewed are the most popular pages from your website. The entry page is the first page viewed by your visitor whilst the exit page is the last page viewed during their visit.
  • Visits of robots
    This displays the top 25 robots that have visited the website. (A robot is an automated process which visits your site frequently and saves a copy to be listed in the search engines).
  • Search engines, keyphrases and keywords used to find your site
    115 of the most famous search engines are detected like yahoo, google, altavista, etc. The search keyphrases and search keywords section display the words and phrases most commonly used by people to find the website. You can also use the section called connect to website from to find incoming traffic from external websites.


…so how do we use this to improve your website position?

You can use the unique visits and number of visits to gauge how active your visitors are and how well you acquire new visitors and returning visits.

A high percentage of visitors who leave before half a minute is common as many of these will be robots as mentioned previously, but if you have a large percentage in the next bracket, it could be a sign that you need to work on more engaging content.

The hourly / weekly / monthly breakdown can be used to show trends in your customer habits and the effect of any online marketing campaigns.

If one particular exit page is appearing more than others, it may mean that your visitor has not found what they are looking for.

You can view the list of search engines and make sure that you are included in as many as possible.

The keywords and keyphrases should be similar to the ones you are targeting. If not, you may need to do some keyword research.

Check the connect to website from to find out if external links to your website are relevant and reputable. You can also exchange links with suitable websites and run social media campaigns to increase this traffic.

To summarize, the idea is that you see an incremental curve in the bar graph for your monthly history for unique visits and number of visits. Most companies have a quieter period but generally you should be expecting these stats to increase vs prior month and definitely prior year.

If you would like to know more about AWStats, contact me here.

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