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Why Referrer Logs Are Important

03 Apr
2009

Referrer logging is used to allow web servers and websites to identify where people are visiting them either for promotional or security purposes. You can find out which search engine they used to find your site and whether your customer has come from a ‘linked site’. It is basically the URL of the previous webpage from which your link was followed.

By default, most hosting accounts include referrer logs, which is may be called the “webalizer” or other traffic recording scripts. A 3rd party alternative would be Google Analytics, which is a free service. All you need to do is get their generated code and place it into your website to track traffic going to your website. Included in the service is a referrer log.

In addition to identifying the search engine or linked site from where your visitor arrived, referrer logs can also tell you what keywords or keyword phrases your client used for searching.

Knowing where your traffic is coming from is important because only then will you determine your marketing efforts are paying off. Everything you do must be tracked and analyzed for the best possible solution in bringing more traffic and more business your way.

Keep in mind that referrer information can sometimes violate privacy, some browsers allow the user to disable the sending of referrer information. Proxy and Firewall software can also filter out referrer information, to avoid disclosing the location of private websites.

This can result in other problems, as some servers block parts of their site to browsers that don’t send the right referrer information, in an attempt to prevent deep linking or unauthorized use of bandwidth. Some proxy software gives the top-level address of the target site itself as the referrer, which prevents these problems and still not divulging the user’s last visited site.

Since the referrer can easily be spoofed or faked, however, it is of limited use in this regard except on a casual basis. If you keep track of Google Analytics and compare it to your server logs, Google Analytics will usually be about 85% of what your server log displays.


This article was written by Dallas’ rankaboveothers.com – Texas SEO is a Dallas-based web marketing and consulting company. We can help you improve your on-site and off-site optimization so that your website not only looks good to visitors but rank well for the keywords you need. Let us increase your business by first giving you a free analysis.

Kevin Lam
author

Kevin Lam is a self-taught internet marketer, web developer and traffic conversion expert that started since he was 17 in 2000. Even throughout his 5 years in the Navy, Kevin continued to hone his skills. Kevin now owns multiple digital companies including a Strategic, Digital Marketing Firm, a Sales Funnel Concierge Service, General Support Company and other digital products.

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