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Log File Method Step-by-Step (from bottom of file towards top):
1.You begin scanning log file for URL of your form's confirmation page...once found, you know that a visitor as submitted your form. (Hint: Use wordpad or notepad's Find feature) 2.Write down visitor's IP Address. Then write down all pages (URLs) that were visited by this IP address (You may want to reorder them from first to last afterwards so you can see path each target visitor took through your site from beginning to end.) 3.Write down Entry page and Exit page (first and last page associated with visitor's IP address) 4.The first entry may have referrer information (if your web server is set up to log this information). The referrer URL will tell you how visitor found your web site (including search engine and keyword information.) 5.If user came from a search engine, write down which search engine and which key phrases he/she used to find site. 6.Repeat steps 1 through 5 for each target visitor
Issues with Log File Method The method above has a few flaws. The most notable is that majority of visitors don't fill out a form on their first visit. While this doesn't sound like a big deal, it is important to capture original referrer, search engine, and key phrases visitor used. This can't be accomplished unless visitor performs your desired action on their first visit (using log file method).
However, there are more sophisticated options available, but generally come with a higher price than $0 like log file method discussed above.
Is There a Better Alternative for Tracking Target Visitors Individually? It may be worthwhile to review products such as WebTrends Reporting Series 6.1. Even if it doesn't meet your needs, similar products may start hitting market soon.
You may also consider identifying a set of requirements and features that would provide maximum benefit for your organization (and/or clients), and having a professional development firm build your solution.
POSITIVE POSITIONING hired a firm by name of 360 IMPACT (a partner firm based in Europe) to build a Visitor Tracking System (VTS) for our needs. The system tracks each of our client's site visitors in real-time. As soon as a visitor hits one of our client's sites, system recognizes the:
·Current and original referrer URL ·Current and original Search engines used ·Current and original key phrases visitor used ·Current and original path through site ·Visitor's IP address ·Visitor type (General/Target Visitor) ·Number of times they visited ·Original and current date and time of their session ·Date and time of original and current visit ·Date and time of visitor's last update ·Conversion data (like inquiry or shopping cart details) ·And more
The VTS attaches all of above information to inquiry/checkout form results allowing our clients get these details in their email along with their form data.
The system we had built automatically distinguishes target visitors from general visitors and provides conversion reports showing us exactly where we should be focusing our SEO investment. What's more, it doesn't require programming, script, or include files in any of our client's pages.
When evaluating a potential system like this, be sure client-side code doesn't reduce performance, or otherwise hurt your SEO efforts.
Put this Information to Work and Watch Your Leads (and/or Sales) grow You will need to track a minimum of 30 to 50 target visitors in order to see a real pattern emerging. Once you have a good amount of data, you will see which referrers are sending most "Target Visitors", which key phrases your best prospects tend to use, optimal path(s) through your site (that often ends in a visitor performing your desired action.)
Let me stress that while log analysis software and other reporting packages do a good job at reporting general traffic patterns, total referrers and key phrases; our focus is on "Target Visitor" statistics exclusively.
Now you are able to re-optimize your SEO campaign to focus on "Target Visitor" attracting key phrases (and bids,) adjust your site to make optimal path(s) easier to follow, and focus more attention on referring sites that generate leads and/or sales.
Tell Us How it Worked For You Once you give this method a shot, you should see increased conversions within 60 days. Please send us an email to let us know how it improved your numbers, or share your thoughts. (End of Part 2 - 904 words including titles)
John Tanner is an Online Marketing Consultant at POSITIVE POSITIONING. John has worked in the Search Engine Marketing industry since 1996 and helped over 80 companies in multiple industries and markets. POSITIVE POSITIONING employs only ethical Search Engine Marketing practices that ensure lasting online success