Analytics test

What does it do?

Checks whether Analytics software is being used on this website. (Analytics is used to monitor the behavior of website visitors).

Example results

Example of analytics test results

Why is it important?

To best improve a website, you need as much useful information about how it is currently being used as possible. Analytics software typically records a huge amount of information, including:

  • How many visitors your site has
  • Amount of new / repeat visitors
  • Where they go, and in what order
  • What areas of the page they click on
  • What computer capabilities they have

How is it measured?

Sitebeam has a database of recognized Analytics tools, and it searches for key ‘signatures’ for each of these on every page. Any matches are recorded and shown in the results. There are two main ways Analytics can work – via:

  • Log file analysis – the logs of webpages visited are analyzed, usually in batches.
  • Page tagging – a usually invisible image is downloaded together with each webpage and tracks the user.

Sitebeam can only detect page tagging, as by definition there is no detectable indication of log file analysis on a public website. We strongly advocate the use of page tagging in preference to, or in tandem with log file analysis. Both approaches have their uses, but page tagging offers more detailed information than log file analysis, and is increasingly favored as a result. For more detail, see this article on web analytics.

The score is based on the percentage of pages which use one or more forms of Analytics, weighted for their relative importance. The best possible score would come from using Analytics on every single page.

Technical explanation

An Analytics solution usually has a standard block of code which is copied into the HTML for each webpage. For example, with Google Analytics (v2), this code includes this signature fragment:

var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www.");
document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E"));

Sitebeam has a large database of these code signatures, covering major versions of many analytics solutions including (but not limited to):

  • WebTrends
  • Google Analytics
  • SiteCatalyst
  • OpenTracker
  • SiteCensus
  • Nedstat
  • LoadStats
  • DoubleClick Spotlight
  • Vignette
  • Touch Clarity
  • Site Manager
  • Atlas Analytics
  • CoreMetrics
  • WebSideStory
  • StatCounter
  • ClickTracks
  • HitsLink
  • IndexTools
  • Lynchpin
  • Quantcast
  • 103 bees
  • Mint
  • Web Forensics
  • Crazy Egg
  • KISS metrics

These solutions can only be detected if they use a recognized signature. We frequently update the list of supported solutions and can add more free of charge on request.

The score is based on the proportion of webpages using any Analytics (e.g. 100% of pages = 10/10).

Potential problems

If an Analytics solution is not recognized, Sitebeam cannot detect it. Typically this is because either:

  • The Analytics tool is obscure or new. Sitebeam simply doesn’t know about it. You should contact us and we will be happy to add it to your next free update.
  • The code of your pages has changed or obscured the Analytics tool. For example, a web designer may remove the comments originally found in the Javascript that your Analytics embeds in the page. Or they may move it into a separate Javascript file, where it is otherwise modified (e.g. variables and functions are renamed). If the signature is no longer present, Sitebeam cannot detect it. You should let us know, and we will see if it is possible to detect the modified Analytics code.

Please note that Wix sites may not display the Google Analytics code snippet in the “SEO Friendly” version of the page, and thus it will not be detected by Sitebeam.

How to improve this score

Use an Analytics solution on as much of your website as possible. Many (such as Google Analytics) are now free, almost all of them offer an incredible range of excellent functionality.

How to use this test effectively

If you have a minimum score of 0 for this test, you’re not currently using any Analytics software. We strongly recommend you either purchase a leading solution (such as WebTrends or Omniture), or try a free solution such as Google Analytics. Implementation of basic Analytics is straightforward, but making proper use of these tools can take some effort.

If your score is less than a perfect 10, you aren’t using Analytics on all of your pages. Ideally aim to cover as much of your website as possible. If any of these pages are client-side redirections you should aim to remove them and replace them with server-side redirections.

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