Any web page, from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, has two distinct audiences, one real and one virtual. For the real audiences – the people who visit your pages, consume your content and transact on the site – surface-level content is king. What you say, how you say it and how you present it visually is the focus for real visitors. The virtual audiences – search engine spiders or search bots – help bring people to your site by mapping and understanding your content. To do that well, they rely largely on the technical structure, links and other components of your pages and overall website. Technical errors or deficiencies limit their ability to properly locate and understand your content.
Your web logs capture every interaction with your pages, and within them are potentially thousands of useful signals that can be used to identify and resolve issues. However, the scale and complexity of log files can make them difficult to parse without some level of automation. That’s where a web analyzer, also known as a log file analyzer or log parser comes in.
What is a log file analyzer?
In your log files there is valuable information from every time a search bot visits your site. A log file analyzer pulls out information from your log files about visits from search bots, so that you can identify issues with the site that could be hurting your position in search results, or, alternatively, so you can identify opportunities for content creation and optimization. It saves the work of either manually reviewing what could be millions of lines from your log files or custom coding an app to do it for you.
What can a log file analyzer tell me?
Like an automotive code reader or a specialized blood test, log file analyzers help you quickly uncover underlying issues that may not be otherwise readily apparent. By identifying issues, a log file analyzer equips you or your technical SEO team to prioritize and address the problems for better search optimization.
A log file analyzer can help:
- IDENTIFY WEBSITE ERRORS AND ISSUES
A log analyzer can pull out the response codes the search bot is receiving for the pages and sections of your site. By pinpointing missing pages, broken links or pages with unintended permission issues, a website developer or dev team can efficiently target fixes to implement in the next round of site updates.
Additionally, a log analyzer will identify file types and assess bandwidth usage. Are search engine spiders encountering mostly html files? Images and videos? PDFs and other documents? Most importantly, are any of those files larger than necessary? Oversize files detract from or hurt the user experience, consume too much crawl budget and result in lower rankings.
- UNDERSTAND AND OPTIMIZE CRAWL BUDGET
SEO is largely about managing and improving the visibility of your content, and log analyzers help fine-tune that process. Especially on sites with lots of pages, search engines will visit only a portion of your content on any given day. By knowing which pages the search bots visit, it becomes possible to direct the crawlers toward more important content and away from less important content. For example, when launching new content, you can focus your crawl budget on the new content to more quickly expose it to the search engines.
- PREPARE FOR SITE UPDATES AND SITE MIGRATIONS
When content on your site moves, you risk losing traffic from search engines unless it is properly redirected to the new destination using permanent 301 redirects. During a full site migration, Google estimates that a website will see a 5-20% decrease in organic traffic. Log analyzers can help prepare for migrations by identifying what content needs to be redirected, and what redirects need to be maintained.
Use a Log Analyzer to Gain a Peek Behind the Curtain of SEO
Log analysis for SEO is essential to maximizing the visibility and effectiveness of your content. That starts with knowing what the search engines see when they crawl your site. Which content is the search bot prioritizing? Is the search engine encountering any issues finding certain content or navigating from one page to another? Which search engines are consuming your bandwidth and how much of it are they consuming?
A log file analyzer gives you visibility into search spider activity, so you can better direct search engines to the content that matters in your SEO strategy.
BrightEdge Log Analyzer
BrightEdge Log Analyzer pulls together data from your website logs and combines it with BrightEdge SEO data to provide actionable insights, fully integrated within the wider BrightEdge platform. This integration amplifies the value of log analysis by simplifying workflows for identifying and addressing site errors, and making it possible to pinpoint and leverage your best opportunities for improved rankings. By matching crawl activity in your logs to ranking data in BrightEdge Data Cube, you can quickly fine tune your striking distance opportunities and improve your rankings in the search engines.