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Log File Analysis: Definition and Use for SEO

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Nearly all websites have log data, files recorded and saved somewhere on their server’s backend. Unfortunately, this potential gold mine of information is often ignored or not utilized enough. You cannot get your site crawled, indexed, and ranked by Google and other search engines without good SEO. Log file analysis is a very relevant and important solution that can help your page get more traffic, conversions, and sales.

Let’s try to understand log file analysis better and its many benefits for SEO.

What Is Log File Analysis?

A log file analysis is an investigation of a page’s server logs, aiming to identify trends in user agent activity, especially search engine bots. Completing this process will require your website’s raw access logs for a specific time frame. The time required for analysis may range from a week to several months and is often dependent on the size of the page that you are looking at.

Why Is Log File Analysis Important for SEO?

Log file analysis allows you to fully understand how search engines crawl your website. Every request made on your web server is stored, and you just have to filter by user agent and the client IP to access the search engine bots’ crawl details.

You can then analyze crawlers’ behavior on your page by determining when, how frequently, and on what pages crawlers are present. Log file analysis can also inform you about performance issues and whether your site architecture is optimized.

Other Useful Data From Log File Analysis for SEO

You can find several technical SEO insights by analyzing log data:

Bot Crawl Volume

This refers to the number of requests made by GoogleBot, BingBot, Yahoo, Baidu, and others within a specific time frame. Bot crawl volume can tell you if your page has been crawled by a specific search engine. For example, if you want to reach potential clients in China and Baidu is not crawling you, that’s a big problem.

Crawl Budget Waste

A crawl budget refers to the number of pages a search engine will crawl on your website within a specific time frame, usually a day. This budget is often spent on irrelevant pages. For example, you have a budget of 1000 pages daily. You want to get as many crawled pages as you can to appear the SERPs. However, bots may be crawling old, duplicate, or redirected pages that will not help your SEO strategy.

If you have new content but no budget left, then search engines will not be able to index them at all. Therefore, if you want to know where you spend your crawl budget, do a log file analysis.

Temporary 302 Redirects

These types of redirect are not good because they take up most of your crawl budget. Search engines return frequently to check the status of temporary redirects. They should be kept in place from the old URL to the new one. Always choose permanent 301 redirects. Several log file analysis tools can help you spot these redirections.

Response Code Errors

Log data analysis can also help you spot status code errors that can negatively affect your SEO. Understanding the different HTTP status codes and using them correctly can help your page rank higher.

Crawl Priority

Analyzing your log data can pinpoint URLs or directories that bots are crawling less. If you want a specific blog post to rank for a specific search query, but it is located in a directory that Google only visits twice yearly, then you will miss the opportunity to gain organic traffic from this blog for up to 6 months before Google crawls it again.

After a log file analysis, you can soon assign a crawl priority by examining your internal linking structure. This will help prevent search engines from skipping certain pages on your website.

Last Crawl Date

Log file analysis can determine when a specific search engine last crawled a page you want indexed quickly.

Time Between the First Crawl and the First Organic Traffic

If you do monitoring and analysis of log data regularly, you may also know how long it takes between the time you post content, the time it is crawled, and the time you get your first organic traffic. This will help you create a better content calendar, especially for seasonal campaigns and events with specific dates.

Changes in bot activities on your website are early signs of changes in algorithms, which may greatly affect your SEO. Work with experts like our team at Advanced Digital Media Services. Check out our SEO services and speak to one of our representatives by completing the form below. We’d like to help you improve your site performance and ranking!

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ADMS Paul Donahue

About Paul Donahue

Paul Donahue has been in the digital marketing realm since 2009. He has an intense passion for creating a dynamic digital presence for his clients through modern websites that rank well on Google. His company’s website is Colorado’s top-ranked SEO company. Author of three books published on Amazon, he is particular about staying abreast with the constantly changing SEO and digital marketing industry trends.

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