Introduction to Web Analytics

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Introduction to Web Analytics

Introduction to Web Analytics

Basic Definitions

Here are the basic definitions of analytics to get us started with the course.

Web Metrics

Web metrics are measurable parameters which reflect different activities occurring on your website. Some examples:

  1. The number of pages served.
  2. The number of unique IP addresses that have accessed the site.
  3. The amount of time a visitor stayed on a particular page.
  4. The number of times a particular file was accessed.


Clickstream refers to the data that occurs inside the web environment, which may include a record of the user's browsing patterns.

Web Analytics

Bruce Clay, an SEO specialist, attributes this definition of web analytics to the Web Analytics Association (WAA):

Web Analytics is the objective tracking, collection, measurement, reporting and analysis of quantitative web metrics data to optimize websites and web marketing initiatives.

We weren't able to find the original quote on the WAA's site, but we agree with the definition.

Evolution of Web Analytics, An Historical Overview

Just after the birth of the Internet, IT technicians started maintaining server logs. The server log files store information about parameters such as:

  1. The IP address of the visitor.
  2. The browser identifier.
  3. The operating system identifier.
  4. The referrer (website from which the request originated).

People began developing scripts to extract relevant data from the server log files in order to compile useful information. In this way, web analytics came to life.