6.1 Log File Analysis¶
The main advantages of log file analysis over page tagging are:
Web servers normally produce log files, so the raw data are already available. No changes to the website are required.
The data is on the organization’s own servers and is in a standard, rather than a proprietary, format. This makes it easy for an organization to switch programs later, use several different programs, and analyse historical data with a new program.
Log files contain information on visits from search engine spiders. Although these MUST NOT be reported as part of user activity, it is useful information for search engine optimization.
Log files require no additional DNS lookups. Thus, there are no external server calls which can slow page load speeds or result in uncounted page views.
The web server reliably records every transaction it makes, including items such as serving PDF documents and content generated by scripts, and does not rely on the visitor’s browser.