Keyword Analysis Using Marketwave Hit List

NOTE: Because of the decreasing support and usage of Marketwave Hit List, this page is no longer kept updated.

Marketwave Hit List is a powerful log analysis program that can, among other things, extract the actual search terms people have used to find your web site.

Hit List comes in several editions. This page provides more information about using Hit List Professional 4.0 and Hit List Commerce 4.0 for keyword analysis. It also assumes you have a basic working knowledge of Hit List.

Hit List ships with predefined report elements for AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos and Yahoo. These are contained within the "Search Engine Keywords" report, in the Search Engines folder. Using the information below, you can expand this report to cover a number of additional services.

To start, make a copy of the Yahoo Search Keywords element. Next, select "Properties," then choose the "Filter" tab. You will see a filter named "Parameter/Value pairs", where "p" is the value shown.

We'll need to change that filter, plus add an additional one. To add the extra filter, choose "New" at the bottom of the Filter window. Then choose "Entry sources" for the filter name, from the drop down box that appears. The "Logic" field should automatically set itself to "And," but if not, make this change manually.

Now we have two filters. Let's configure them to make a report for HotBot search terms. First, we have to specify HotBot as the entry source. Enter *hotbot* as the value. Next, use mt as the Parameter/Value pairs value.

That's it! Now you will see all the search terms used to reach your site from the HotBot search engine.

Be aware that default Hit List elements may actually capture traffic beyond a specific web property. For example, the "Excite Search Keywords" element is really looking for any search engine that uses "search" as a keywords parameter.

That means traffic from AOL NetFind and Netscape will be combined into the "Excite" report, because they use the same parameters as Excite. If you want to see them separately, you'll need to set up an Entry Source filter as described above for each search service.

The chart below lists the information needed to configure reports for various search services. Just place the right information in the value areas as described above.

You'll notice that I use wildcards on both sides of entry sources, such as *yahoo* for Yahoo. This is because many search services use a variety of servers, or they may have mirror sites, branded editions or non-US services. Using wildcards ensure you capture terms from all places.

For example, traffic from Yahoo US comes from, while traffic from comes from Yahoo Canada. Using *yahoo* combines traffic from both services into one report.

You can also narrow a report by changing the entry sources, of course. For example, by specifying **, you will only see traffic from Yahoo US. You could then create another element called Yahoo Canada, where you specify ** as your filter.

In general, the chart keeps the entry sources as generic as possible unless there is a particular need to be specific.

Search Engines Entry Sources Parameter/
Value Pairs
AltaVista **
AOL NetFind **
AskJeeves **
Direct Hit ** qry,q
Excite ** search
HotBot ** mt
Go/Infoseek **
Google ** q
GoTo ** Keywords
LookSmart **
Lycos ** query
MSN Search ** mt
Netscape **
Open Directory **
RealNames ** realName ** query
Snap *snap* keyword
WebCrawler ** *ext,search
Yahoo *yahoo* p
Yahoo From Inktomi **
Metacrawlers Entry Sources Parameter/
Value Pairs
Dogpile ** q
Inference Find ** query
SavvySearch ** q

Other Notes

You cannot perform keyword analysis with Hit List if you only import summary data. You must be using a database where detailed data has been stored.

I've renamed all my elements along these lines: "Keyword: Search Engine." That way, if I want to select a specific search engine from the Toolbox, I can see them all at once, such as:

  • Keywords: AltaVista
  • Keywords: Excite
  • Keywords: HotBot

Those using earlier versions of Hit List need to ensure that Value/Value parsing is disabled before before importing logs. Otherwise, Hit List will will turn a search phrase such as "income tax attorney" into the separate words of "income," "tax" and "attorney." In other words, instead of seeing this:

Keywords: AltaVista



Total Requests

q income tax attorney


You'll get a report like this:

Keywords: AltaVista



Total Requests

q income






It is better to see the entire phrase, since that's actually how the page was found. To allow this, go to Options/Parsing and clear the Value/Value box. IMPORTANT: This must be done before importing logs. Otherwise, the information will be parsed, and you'll have to reimport the logs with Value/Value parsing disabled in order to get full search phrases.

More Resources

Keywords Used To Find Your Web Site
Background article about how search terms are recorded in your server logs.