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  • Jo Evans

SEO Basics – there be gold in them log files!

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

You may be sitting on a goldmine and not even know it!

We’re talking about an information goldmine of course, but that can sometimes be just as good as gold nonetheless.

You may already have access to Google Analytics, but do you ever look at your web servers log files?

Most web servers will record actions they perform and save them to a log file. For instance, the time and date a page or image is accessed is recorded. Additionally certain information about the user accessing it is stored, like the users IP address and if available, the page that referred them. Any errors that were encountered when the server attempted to deliver a page are also added to the log.

Raw server log files can appear difficult to read unless you have some technical understanding, but there are packages such as AWStats that will transform these log files into a much more user friendly format. Chances are though, that you’ll already have access to your server log files in some form.

Panning for gold

Recently, we were asked to look through a new customers log files and help improve their website. It didn’t take long to spot over a thousand 404 – ‘Page Not Found’ errors and find a much outdated test site that had been accidentally made available to the public that was now receiving visitors referred by Google.

Fixing the Page Not Found errors resulted in customers no longer reaching dead ends on the website. Removing access to the outdated test site helped ensure that all customers saw correct, up to date information. Both were relatively simple fixes that would provide a much better user experience on the clients website and may even end up boosting their rankings on search engines.

Looking at your log files occasionally is certainly worth while as you never know what you may find. A server error generated when a customer signs up to your mailing list perhaps? Or even worse, an error when they follow a particular route through your checkout process maybe that results in a lost sale?

Contact us for more information on how Emerald Frog can help your business.

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