Using your logs to discover keywords is an important practice for SEO and Keyword success. Note: This section assumes you already have a website up and running so we are jumping ahead of ourselves a little because I advocate that a website should not be built before doing keyword research.

Many hosts provide good stats programs free of charge. Some of these programs with which I am familiar including Webalizer and Awstats produce web statistics that include a list of keywords used to find your website. These are goldmines go and dig.

Note: every host collects these statistics; they just don’t necessarily make them available in a format easy to understand. It is possible to get log file analyzer programs to interpret the log files automatically produced however the best solution if you cannot get graphical stats from your host is quite simply to change hosts. Frankly you do not want to be working with such backward companies.

Take a look at the keyword report produced by one of my hosts for the month of May 2005 and you will immediately see the enormous benefit you can get from exploring your log files.

Keyword Report Using Logs

Source of SE referrer by keyword May 05…


The data in the table plainly shows that this website is getting found a lot for the EXACT search term garden ponds. Now assume I was only on page 2 of the search engine results for this term. Imagine if I could optimize the site to such an extent I could get this web page onto page 1 and in the top 5 then my traffic for this single search term would increase enormously.

In practice what you often find is a search term that is giving you a few results yet when you type the phrase into the search engine you cannot find any results on the first 3 pages. This kind of information is a gold nugget because it is telling you that this term is probably highly searched for and that you have not created an optimized page for it. All that you have to do in many cases is to literally creature an optimized page and within weeks your traffic for this single phrase will increase.

Take note from the image above that in May 2005 this website was found on search engines 10,034 times for 4,870 different search phrases. This confirms the importance of keyword research and thinking like a customer.

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