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Keyword Analysis Using WebTrends

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WebTrends Log Analyzer is a popular log analysis program that can, among other things, extract the actual search terms people have used to find your web site. This page provides more information about using WebTrends for keyword analysis. It assumes you have a basic working knowledge of the program.

Adding A Search Engine

To add a search engine, you must first make an entry in the [SearchEngines” section that comes right at the top of the keywords.ini file. Just scroll to the bottom of the list, which in a normal installation will end with this line:

Engine26=PlanetSearch

You simply add a line for the new search engine, giving it the next number and any name you like. For example, here's how we'd add Google

Engine27=Google

Next, you have to add a section for your new search engine to the end of the keywords.ini file. Scroll to the end of the file, then insert the new section. It needs to start with the name you used to define the search engine in the [SearchEngines” section, with that name set in brackets. Here's how the Google section would begin:

[Google”

Next, you need to list the search engine's domain name as an ID line. For instance, Google can be found at google.com. So we'd add that like this:

[Google”
ID1=google.com

Finally, we have to add a KeywordIndicator line. This shows the character or characters which come before the search terms. In Google's case, search terms are preceded by the characters ?q=, so we add them to a line like this:

[Google”
ID1=google.com
KeywordIndicator1=?q=

That's it -- you've now added a new entry for Google. You can follow these instructions to add any number of search engines to your WebTrends reports.

Modifying A Search Engine

Sometime you may even want to break up an existing search engine so you can focus more narrowly on particular services. For instance, here's the default setting for AltaVista:

[AltaVista”
ID1=www.altavista
ID2=altavista.digital
ID3=altavista.skali.com.my
ID4=www.altavista.yellowpages.com.au
ID5=www.altavistacanada.com
ID6=altavista.telia.com
ID7=www.magallanes.net
KeywordIndicator1=?q=
KeywordIndicator2=&q=
KeywordIndicator3=;skw=
KeywordIndicator4=;kw=
KeywordIndicator5=&r=

Most of those entries are for non-US versions of AltaVista. Here's how we could break them up into US versus non-US versions:

First, we'd add a new entry like this (assuming you already have 26 search engines defined -- set the number to whatever is appropriate for your installation).

Engine28=AltaVista Non-US

Next, we'd remove all the non-US information from the [AltaVista” section. Just cut and paste it into a new section that matches the new search engine entry you make. In this case, everything would look like this:

[AltaVista Non-US”
ID3=altavista.skali.com.my
ID4=www.altavista.yellowpages.com.au
ID5=www.altavistacanada.com
ID6=altavista.telia.com
ID7=www.magallanes.net

Next, you also need to add the keyword indicators. Just use all the same ones for AltaVista's US service. Keep in mind that in the future, you may need to add any indicators that are unique to the service. You also need to change the ID numbers so that they begin with 1. In the end, you'll have an entry like this:

[AltaVista Non-US”
ID1=altavista.skali.com.my
ID2=www.altavista.yellowpages.com.au
ID3=www.altavistacanada.com
ID4=altavista.telia.com
ID5=www.magallanes.net
KeywordIndicator1=?q=
KeywordIndicator2=&q=
KeywordIndicator3=;skw=
KeywordIndicator4=;kw=
KeywordIndicator5=&r=

And your AltaVista entry will look like this:

[AltaVista”
ID1=www.altavista
ID2=altavista.digital
KeywordIndicator1=?q=
KeywordIndicator2=&q=
KeywordIndicator3=;skw=
KeywordIndicator4=;kw=
KeywordIndicator5=&r=

Now your reports will show terms from the main AltaVista service and AltaVista's non-US editions separately.

Other Notes

WebTrends does not indicate the exact capitalization shown. For instance, if someone searched for you by entering "Golf Balls" and then clicked through to your site, the term would be listed by WebTrends as "golf balls."

Several search engines are case sensitive, so if you then go back and search for "golf balls," you may not find your site. Unfortunately, there is no way to know what the exact capitalization was.

Older versions of WebTrends do not show actual search phrases. Instead, they would break phrases up into individual words. For instance, if someone found your site by searching for "income tax attorney," WebTrends would instead tell you that you were found for each individual word alone. For this reason, you must ensure you are running WebTrends 4.5 or above.


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