Google Analytics vs AWstats

figure_pointing_out_chart_data_150_clr_8005Google Analytics vs AWstats

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool that Google provides for everyone who has a website. You will have to register your website and place a special number in your site’s code that Google will give you. Through Analytics you will be able to check different statistics regarding your website’s traffic.

Google Analytics is good as long as the you understand that is does not report all of the traffic and that there are delays in the reporting which can be as long as up to two days in arrears. Google even says the purpose of Google Analytics is not to track 100% of the visitors 100% of the time. It was created to do the job of giving you insight into trends so you can make informed decisions about how to go about doing a better job of marketing.

There are many visitors that are not recorded by Analytics. If cookies, images or java script are blocked by the user or if there are default security settings in the browser that block third party cookies, images or java script (new versions of IE), Google Analytics is not able to sense those visitors. Plus, cookies can be deleted and when there is cookie deletion, return visits by the same person (with deleted cookies) wrongly appear to be a new unique visitor.

Host Gator/AWstats

Host Gator uses Log File Analysis. We all have our personal preferences. I happen to like Host Gator’s AWstats and get real time information as opposed to the delay Analytics gives. I personally think is it more accurate, avoiding the blocked cookies issues. Host Gator separates out the robots from the traffic stats. If your host does not separate them out you can use the free software Crawl Track.

If you drill down in Host Gator’s AWstats you will find it will let you know which bots have visited and Host Gator tells you they do not include bots in their traffic stats. If anyone reading this has Host Gator, go to ‘website traffic’ on the left sidebar, ‘view all traffic’, then click the spyglass icon by the site you want to check the stats on. You will see the graphs on the left. Keep scrolling and you will find information on the visitors, the list of countries they have come from, a section that shows you the bots that have visited your site, file types that have been clicked, what downloads have been made, a breakdown of all the pages and the number of visitors to the page, the browsers the traffic has come from, links from external pages and how many, search phrases, keywords your visitors used, and a section called misc. which will show you if you have any 404 errors visitors are hitting along with other codes. On the left site you can click on a multitude of links giving you full reports on whatever you need. You can also view the IP’s of your visitors. It is has many very handy tools. And I like I can just scroll as opposed to waiting for a page to load.

Conclusion:

Google Analytics is great for watching trends so you can adjust your marketing plan but not for tracking an accurate count of visitors or viewing visitors in real time. AWstats is better for viewing all the traffic that hits your site when looking at the actual number of visitors to your site in real time. You can use Crawl Track and subtract the number of bot visits, or add a Captcha, or subtract a percentage to get an estimate of your visitors vs bots.

A solution to using AWstats if you host does not separate out the bots and spiders is use a free software like Crawl Track www.crawltrack.net. It tracks all the crawlers on your site along with visitors and other stats. The software is from France so the English language on the download site has some grammatical errors but that does not take away from the software itself.

You can also add a Captcha to your optin to ensure you aren’t getting bots and getting real people.

Google: Different values from other web analytics solutions

Google: How Visits Are Calculated
Authored by: Joan Wardzala – SEO Specialist – Google+

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