Monthly Archives: December 2015


AWSTATS v Google Analytics – Which is the winner?

In our quest to provide the most accurate reporting to our clients, the monthly figures play an essential role. However, this is not quite as easy as we would like it to (or believe it should) be.

For many years we have used a combination of Google Analytics (reports produced from Google) results and Awstats (visitor details pulled directly from the server) to produce a comprehensive overview for our clients.

The world of Google can be a very cloak and dagger place on occasion though and a previously Google announced some big news for website owners. google-485611_1920Going forward, when a search is made through the Google search engine (which in February 2014 was approximately 89% of all searches) and the result clicked, the search term would no longer be passed to the destination website. Instead, these visits would simply be grouped together in Google Analytics under the keyword “(not provided)”.

Whilst this does not affect the tracking of visitor numbers to a website (a key indication of growth and the success of an SEO campaign) it now makes it impossible to track which term a user typed in to find the website.

For example if you found our website by searching for SEO Oxted on Google, when you clicked on the link to visit our website, our unique visitor numbers would increase by 1 but we would not be able to identify how you found our website. Annoying isn’t it!!

What Made Google Do This?

A great question! On the surface, the official reason was that this was done in the name of privacy. Google is suggesting that those searching using their general services would not want their search term to be passed on to the destination site.

However, some people have other ideas regarding this……

To further clarify the situation, we recently contacted our hosts for their take on this issue and this was the response that we received.light-bulb-1002783_1920

“This is unfortunately a known issue with Google not passing referrer data from searches under certain circumstances.

Awstats parses information directly from Apache’s domain logs- which are the raw web server access logs. These logs contain various pieces of information (see the samples below), one of which is the referrer- i.e. the site the user was visiting prior to coming to yours. If the referrer is a search term, Awstats is intelligent enough to detect this, and also detect the search terms the user had entered in.

Unfortunately Google have been taking steps for a few years now (in the name of “privacy”) to restrict the visibility of these referrers. Initially this was only for users who were signed into google when they performed a search. Now, it seems to be that any search done over SSL (i.e. https) doesn’t pass the referrer over to the site. I’ve provided an example below based on my own testing:

To test this I searched for “footprint web design” on Google and Bing and then clicked through to your site. Here are what the raw access logs recorded:

Google: – – [26/Jun/2014:10:27:47 +0100] “GET / HTTP/1.1” 200 96724 “” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/35.0.1916.153 Safari/537.36”
Bing: – – [26/Jun/2014:10:29:46 +0100] “GET / HTTP/1.1” 200 96724 “” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/35.0.1916.153 Safari/537.36”

Notice the referrer (the sixth field) in the first line only reports ““. The actual referrer should be:

Because this is the URL of the page I was performing the search on. If this was the referrer Google sent, Awstats would pick up on the “q=footprint+web+design” bit at the end of the URL and record a search term of “footprint web design”. However, as Google doesn’t send the actual referring URL, Awstats can’t report it.

I hope this makes sense- unfortunately because this is a problem with the way Google are passing referrers there isn’t anything we can do at our end. I understand this will affect the SEO work you are doing as you won’t have visibility of many search terms.”

As you can see, whilst we are continually looking for an alternative method of tracking how visitors find our customer’s websites, this information is currently unattainable.

Some Good News Though!

Whilst the information provided by Awstats pay be incomplete (through no fault of the host server), the visitor numbers to your website are guaranteed to be accurate because these figures are generated directly from the server and cannot be altered in any way.


By | December 15th, 2015|Google, Uncategorized|Comments Off on AWSTATS v Google Analytics – Which is the winner?

Taking a Closer Look at SEO

Whilst an attractive and fully functional website certainly offers a number of benefits to any business, without the implementation of effective SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), the chances are no-one will be able to find it. A sobering thought isn’t it!

Taking Your Website To Another Level

The implementation of effective SEO should play a pivotal role in the process of designing a quality website but is one that can easily be mishandled office-625893_1920without the required knowledge and expertise needed to implement the right measures.

Looking at the Key Aspects

There are several key aspects to the successful optimisation of website and only by understanding that there is no ‘one size fits all’ technique to SEO and web design Surrey will we able to achieve the best possible results on a consistent basis.

There are many different ways to achieve the desired ranking results but we believe that a concerted and sustained campaign which is built through the correct identification of relevant keywords and the implementation of a combination of on-page and off-page techniques, along with intensive social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter etc) will play all important roles in the quest to move your website towards the top of the Google rankings.

Reading Between The Lines

It is important to note at this point that although you may find web design and SEO companies out there who guarantee the top places for your google-485611_1920website and related key search terms, this is not actually possible to guarantee!

At Footprint, you can be certain that we will improve the traffic to your website and we will improve the Google ranking but because major search engines are constantly changing the algorithms that are used to determine the ranking for websites, guaranteeing that we will reach the top stop is simply not possible.

However, one thing we can guarantee is that we will work tirelessly for you to stay ahead of the curve and our record of achieving great results for our clients tells us that this is a battle that we have a great chance of significantly enhancing the online profile of your business.

Proven SEO Techniques

Footprint’s Search Engine Optimisation techniques take a wide variety of factors into account and include a variety of both ‘on-page’ and ‘off-page’ methods which we tailor to the individual needs of your website.

On-Page SEO

The implementation of effective ‘on-page’ techniques is a critical component for the success of any SEO campaign. Without creating a solid foundation for your website, any other efforts are likely to be destined for failure and as such, ‘on-page’ work is always going to be our primary target.

The initial ‘on-page’ techniques used at Footprint involve targeting a number of different areas, including:

  • Meta tags
  • Heading tags
  • Contextual linking
  • General HTML code

The Next Stage

Once the initial stage has been completed, we will move on to the on-going creation of a number of ‘key term’ and location based pages which we will add to your website.

By tapping into a number of different packages which allow us to track the number of times particular terms are searched for on a monthly basis, we will create a number of targeted, original, hand-written, keyword-related pages all of which are designed to help draw potential customers to your website.

For example, if your are a Surrey based driving school, we want to make sure that when potential customers search for the term ‘Driving Lessons Surrey’, your website appears on Google’s first page.

This image highlights how effective a combination of our 'on-page' and 'off-page' techniques can be. By targeting the key phrase 'Driving Lessons Surrey' for our client Surrey Driving Force, we have managed to obtain 4 of the top 5 listings for the organic (non paid for) listings on Google's first page.

This image above highlights how effective a combination of our ‘on-page’ and ‘off-page’ techniques can be. By targeting the key phrase ‘Driving Lessons Surrey’ for our client Surrey Driving Force, we have managed to obtain 4 of the top 5 listings for the organic (non paid for) listings on Google’s first page.

Off-Page SEO

There are a number of ‘off-page’ SEO techniques which we will explore for you with the goal of helping to increase the reach of your website.

Some of these techniques involve:

  • Directory submissions (Citations)
  • RSS feed submission (for websites with regular blog updates)
  • Guest blog posting
  • Link building

Please Note – With reference to the link building strategies that we utilise, it is important to note that whilst other companies may offer the ability to generate huge numbers of links to and from your website, it is very much quality rather than quantity that will provide the best results. It may well even prove to have a negative effect on your Google ranking if you are linked to many poor quality websites and as such, this is not something that we will even entertain doing for your website.

For a more in-depth analysis of how our SEO strategies have been used to great effect for our clients, please take a moment to read the following case studies:

Implementing Social Media

Social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook offer the perfect opportunity for businesses of all size to open up lines of communication with The Top 5 Online Marketing Mythsexisting and potential customers.

Reaching an audience of a substantial number through Facebook and Twitter takes a lot of hard work and dedication but are always worthwhile as these channels provide the maximum amount of positive exposure for your company.

A great example of this is Surrey Driving Force. One of the South East of England’s fastest growing driving schools and one of our major clients. Due to the number of younger people using Facebook and Twitter, the ability to post messages on these social mediums regarding successful driving test attempts for their learner drivers has led to a sharp increase in the number of enquiries received.

Assessing Your Website

Whilst many of our clients choose to boost their newly designed websites with one of our SEO packages, we also have many clients who come to us with an existing website which they feel could perform better.

To help us get to the bottom of any areas of weakness, we can provide you with a free diagnostic report of your current website. All you need to do is provide us with your URL and the terms you would most like to be ranked for and we will produce a report highlighting the current areas of strength and weakness.

Available SEO Packages

Unlike many of our competitors we do not believe in tying our clients into long term water tight contracts. Whilst we strongly recommend the benefits of undertaking a sustained SEO campaign focused on pre-agreed key terms and words to all of our clients, we want to work with you on a month by month basis to see how things are progressing to ensure that you are happy with all aspects of the work that we provide.

For more information regarding our available SEO packages, please click here.

Please Note – We do understand though that not all of our clients wish to look at SEO as a longer term proposition and because of this we also offer short term packages which are designed to give your website a one off overhaul and produce new content for a pre-determined number of key terms.

Further Information

Footprint specialise in providing SEO services which are designed to help take your business to another level. We have been providing SEO Surrey since 1998 and if you’d like to speak to us regarding any of our services, give us a call on 01883 372488, via e-mail or contact us via Facebook and we’ll be happy to talk you through your options.

By | December 8th, 2015|SEO|Comments Off on Taking a Closer Look at SEO

We Bet You Didn’t Know This!

Few people expect Wi-Fi speeds to be the same as advertised. Clever wording (up to 20MB for example), clearly leaves plenty of scope below the 20MB for the actual speed to be registered.

The majority of internet providers though are now better than ever before and Wi-Fi speeds are faster and more reliable than they have been in the past and therefore internet connections are often serviceable at worst.

However, did you know that there are certain appliances within your home that may negatively impact the performance of your Wi-Fi connection?christmas-1044474_1280

Fairy Lights Can Slow Your Internet Connection!!

As Christmas decorations go up in homes and work places throughout the UK, Wi-Fi speeds could be about to slow due to interference caused by fairy lights!

Sounds crazy doesn’t it but thanks to a new app which has been launched by OFCOM which allows you to check wireless signals to see if data is flowing uninterrupted from routers to phones and tablets, it has been highlighted that interference could be caused by other electronic devices such as baby monitors, microwaves or Christmas fairy lights.

A Newly Published Report

Statistics about home Wi-Fi speeds are in Ofcom’s 2015 Connected Nations report that looks at the state of telecoms and wireless networks in the UK.

The report said there had been “good progress” on the availability and use of telecoms services. About 27% of UK homes now have super-fast wifi-158401_1280broadband that runs at speeds in excess of 30 Megabits per second (Mbps). Last year the figure was 21%.

Super-fast broadband is now available to more than 83% of UK homes – up from 75% in the same period in 2014.

The research also found that those with the higher speed connections to the net are doing more with them. People with faster connections were now making significant use of catch-up TV services, online film rental services and video calls, it said.

To view the full report, please click here.

If you would like to download the app for yourself to see how your connection is performing, Android users can download the app by clicking here. Whilst the app is also available via the iTunes app store by searching for Ofcom Wi-Fi Checker.

Further Information

If you’d like to speak to use regarding how we can help you to use web design to grow your company, give us a call on 01883 372488 or contact us via Facebook and we’ll be happy to talk you through your options.

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By | December 8th, 2015|WiFi|Comments Off on We Bet You Didn’t Know This!