Log File Analysis - Help Your Business Become A Better Market For Your Customers
Log files are also one of the few methods to observe what Google is doing on your site.
They give essential data for analysis and can aid in the development of beneficial optimizations and data-driven choices.
Regular log file analysis will help you determine which material is being crawled and how frequently, as well as answer other concerns about search engines' crawling activity on your site.
It can be a daunting process, thus this page serves as a starting point for your log file analysis adventure.
The log file on your website records every single request made to your server, and studying this data might give insights into how search engines crawl your site and its web pages.
In this article, we'll take a deep look into how to carry out a log file analysis and what it can be used for in SEO.
Log files keep track of who visits a website and what material they view.
They include information on who requested access to the website (also known as 'The Client').
This might be a search engine bot like Googlebot or Bingbot, or it could be human browsing the site.
The web server of the site collects and stores log file entries, which are normally retained for a set length of time.
Now that we've covered the basics of log files, let's look at how they might help SEO.
Here are a few examples:
Scan monitoring - it allows you to observe the URLs that search engines crawl and utilize this information to identify crawler traps, track crawl budget wasting, and better understand how quickly content updates are taken up.
Status code reporting - This is especially beneficial for prioritizing error fixes. Rather than just knowing you have a 404, you can track how many times a user/search engine visits the 404 URL.
Trends analysis - By tracking crawls to a URL, page type/site part, or your whole site over time, you may identify trends and examine probable causes.
Orphan page discovery - You may uncover orphan pages by cross-analyzing data from log files and your own site crawl.
To some extent, all sites will benefit from log file analysis, however, the amount of gain varies greatly depending on site size.
This is because log files primarily benefit websites by assisting you in better managing crawling.
Google claims that controlling the crawl budget will assist larger-scale or frequently updating sites.
Log file analysis is a technical SEO chore that allows you to examine how Googlebot (as well as other web crawlers and people) interacts with your website.
A log file provides useful data that may be used to influence your SEO strategy or to solve difficulties with the crawling and indexing of your web pages.
So you know what a log file is, but why should you bother analyzing it?
The truth is that only one authentic record exists of how search engines, such as Googlebot, evaluate your website.
This is done by inspecting your website's server log files.
Search Console, third-party crawlers, and search operators will not provide us with a complete view of how Googlebot and other search engines interact with a page.
This information can only be obtained from the access log files.
As an SEO, you may gain various different insights from your site's log file, with some of the most important ones being:
- How frequently Googlebot crawls your site, its most significant pages (and whether or not they are crawled at all), and identifying sites that aren't commonly crawled
- Recognizing your most frequently crawled sites and folders
- If your site's crawl money is being squandered on useless pages.
- Locate URLs with parameters that are being crawled excessively.
- If your website has switched to mobile-first crawling,
- The exact status code assigned to each of your site's pages and identifying problem areas
- If a page is very huge or sluggish
- Identifying static pages that are scanned too frequently
- Finding frequently crawled redirect chains
- Spotting sudden increases or decreases in crawler activity
The process of examining log data might be a complicated technical one, however, it can be broken down into three simple steps:
- Collect/export the appropriate log data (typically filtered for search engine crawler User-Agents only) for as long as feasible. While there is no "correct" length of time, two months (8 weeks) of search engine crawler records is frequently adequate.
- Parse log data to turn it into a format that data analysis tools can understand (often tabular format for use in databases or spreadsheets). This technical stage frequently necessitates the use of Python or equivalent programs to extract data fields from logs and convert them to CSV or database file format.
- Log data should be grouped and shown as appropriate (usually by date, page type, and status code) before being analyzed for concerns and possibilities.
Even when filtered for queries from search engine crawlers in a restricted time span, log data can quickly accumulate up to terabytes of data.
This data is frequently too huge for desktop analytic programs like Excel to handle.
To process, organize, and display log data, it is frequently more efficient to utilize specialist log analysis software.
Log files are used to record and track computer events.
Log files are particularly useful in computing since they allow system administrators to follow the activity of the system in order to identify problems and make repairs.
Log files (also known as machine data) are critical data points for security and surveillance since they provide a complete history of occurrences throughout time.
Log files can be found in apps, online browsers, hardware, and even email, in addition to operating systems.
The major data source for network observability is log files.
A log file is a type of data file created by a computer that provides information on usage patterns, activities, and processes inside an operating system, application, server, or another device.
To aggregate and analyze log files from across a cloud computing environment, IT companies can use security event monitoring (SEM), security information management (SIM), security information and event management (SIEM), or another analytics solution.
One of the most basic methods to study logs is to use grep to do plain text searches. grep is a command-line utility that searches for matching text in a file or in the output of other commands.
It comes standard with most Linux versions and is also available for Windows and Mac.
The data included in these files is typically plain text.
A LOG file may be viewed with any text editor, such as Windows Notepad.
You may also be able to open one in your web browser.
Simply drag it into the browser window, or use the Ctrl+O keyboard shortcut to create a dialog box where you may look for the file.
A log file analysis is important for SEO since webmasters may process and evaluate pertinent data about their website's activity.
SEOs are not required to send data to third-party service providers, which eliminates data security concerns.
However, because log file analysis has limits, it should not be the exclusive approach for studying user behavior.
It should be used in conjunction with web analytics solutions such as Google Analytics.
For larger websites, log file analysis is also linked with the processing of very large volumes of data, which necessitates a robust IT infrastructure in the long run.