ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Is Web Analytics

Updated on July 22, 2010

What Is Web Analytics

Web analytics is the process of gathering, measuring and analysing visitor data. Analytics provide a deeper understanding of how visitors interact with your website and provides valuable insights that can be used to increase the visibility and profitability of your online properties

Web analytics software comes in two main flavours, page tagging and weblog analysis. Both interpret raw user data and output charts, graphs and statistics tied to a timeline that accurately reflect visitor trends. This information can provide actionable insights which can be used to fine-tune key areas of your website. As such, web analytics can play a significant part in developing tour website and formulating strategic marketing decisions.

Page Tagging

Page tagging relies on a small piece of JavaScript code inserted on each webpage you wish to track.

Advantages of page tagging:

  • JavaScript is executed and Data is collected from the visitor each time they visit a page rather than when a server delivers a page. Therefore, previously visited pages that have been cached by the visitors browser will still be recorded when the "back" and "forward" buttons are used.
  • Similarly, page tagging also ensures data is collected from regularly requested pages that might be cached by your ISP.

Disadvantages of Page Tagging

  • Page Tagging requires that Javascript and Cookies are enabled otherwise the ability to effectively collect data will be severely compromised.
  • On a large, poorly designed site, where design technology will not permit a simple include, adding page tags can be problematic.
  • Page tagging cannot report on non HTML pages including: Image file hits, PDFs, media files, downloaded files (.zip, .exe, etc.)

Search engine spiders cannot execute the JavaScript page tag, so, if you view visits from search engine spiders as distortion then this is an advantage. If, on the on the hand you want to know how often your site is getting spidered then it's a disadvantage.

There are three main reasons for using analytics:

  1. Support SEO Efforts
  2. Improve Usability
  3. Increase Accessibility

Support SEO Efforts

Search engine optimization drives visitors to the most relevant pages on your website. The concept is simple, similar to the way someone would use Yellow Pages to find an electrician, someone using a search engine to locate the products or services that you sell is highly likely to be in the market for those products or services.

What is your 5 most profitable keyphrases? What are your top landing pages? Which pages have the highest bounce rate? Web analytics plays a decisive role in SEO. It lets you see where visitors are coming from, which terms they searched to find your site, which pages they land on and whether they hang around or immediately hit the back-button.

Analytics gives you the marketing intelligence, based on what works and what doesn't, to make informed SEO decisions. The SEO process then becomes a bit like a feedback loop, getting better and better with every iteration.

Many companies fail to take advantage of web analytics, whether that's through time restraints, or they can't be bothered, or feel it's out with their technically skills. By improving the targeting and visibility of your website, you will increase your market share, raise brand awareness and extend product reach, all of which has a positive effect on the bottom line.

Improve Usability

It's relatively easy to publish a website, with today's WYSIWYG editors and Content Management Systems there is little requirement to gain a working knowledge of HTML and the potential audience is massive. But that does not change the need to understand your audience. By understanding how visitors interact with your site you can help them achieve their goals quicker and easier. If your site "works" the way they do, the user experience will significantly increase and users will return time and time again.

Web analytics lets you see how visitors use and navigate your site. Are they struggling to achieve their goals? If they are, there is very little chance that you will achieve yours! According to IBM, every $1 invested in making your website easy-to-use returns $10 to $100.

Increase Accessibility

It's also important to understand the technology is the technology that is used to access your web pages. By making your pages accessible to older browsers, mobile technology and assistive devices, like screen readers, you can significantly reduce bounce rate because more people will be able to see your pages.

Web analytics will let you see which browsers (and browser version), screen resolutions, operating systems and more. Would you turn away customers from your shop because they arrived in the wrong type of car? No, then make sure you are not turning visitors away from your website because they use the ‘wrong' browser.

If you are serious about your long term success online invest in web analytics. There may be a steep learning curve, but the payoff is huge.

SEO Scotland: Promoting business online with professionalism and integrity.

Small Business SEO Services Scotland


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • pigfish profile image


      8 years ago from Southwest Ohio

      Thank you for your thorough, yet understandable information. Especially helpful for an online novice like me.

    • Peter Hoggan profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Hoggan 

      9 years ago from Scotland

      internetincomehub and Shalini, thanks for the support and I am glad you found the hub useful.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      9 years ago from India

      Thank you Peter - you explain things in a simple, straightforward, easy to understand way - I like that!

      Thumbs up!

    • internetincomehub profile image


      10 years ago

      Some very useful, if extremely detailed info here, Many thanks Peter


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)