Web traffic

Web traffic is the amount of data sent and received by visitors to a website. This necessarily does not include the traffic generated by bots. Since the mid-1990s, web traffic has been the largest portion of Internet traffic.[1] This is determined by the number of visitors and the number of pages they visit. Sites monitor the incoming and outgoing traffic to see which parts or pages of their site are popular and if there are any apparent trends, such as one specific page being viewed mostly by people in a particular country. There are many ways to monitor this traffic and the gathered data is used to help structure sites, highlight security problems or indicate a potential lack of bandwidth.

Not all web traffic is welcomed. Some companies offer advertising schemes that, in return for increased web traffic (visitors), pay for screen space on the site. There is also "fake traffic", which is bot traffic generated by a third party. This type of traffic can damage a website's reputation, its visibility on Google, and overall domain authority.

Sites also often aim to increase their web traffic through inclusion on search engines and through search engine optimization.

Analysis

Web analytics is the measurement of the behavior of visitors to a website. In a commercial context, it especially refers to the measurement of which aspects of the website work towards the business objectives of Internet marketing initiatives; for example, which landing pages encourage people to make a purchase. Notable vendors of web analytics software and services include Google Analytics, IBM Digital Analytics (formerly Coremetrics) and Adobe Omniture.

Measurement

WebTrafficGraph
Example graph of web traffic at Wikipedia in December 2004

Web traffic is measured to see the popularity of websites and individual pages or sections within a site. This can be done by viewing the traffic statistics found in the web server log file, an automatically generated list of all the pages served. A hit is generated when any file is served. The page itself is considered a file, but images are also files, thus a page with 5 images could generate 6 hits (the 5 images and the page itself). A page view is generated when a visitor requests any page within the website – a visitor will always generate at least one page view (the main page) but could generate many more. Tracking applications external to the website can record traffic by inserting a small piece of HTML code in every page of the website.[2]

Web traffic is also sometimes measured by packet sniffing and thus gaining random samples of traffic data from which to extrapolate information about web traffic as a whole across total Internet usage.

The following types of information are often collated when monitoring web traffic: [3]

  • The number of visitors.
  • The average number of page views per visitor – a high number would indicate that the average visitors go deep inside the site, possibly because they like it or find it useful.
  • Average visit duration – the total length of a user's visit. As a rule the more time they spend the more they're interested in your company and are more prone to contact.
  • Average page duration – how long a page is viewed for. The more pages viewed, the better it is for your company.
  • Domain classes – all levels of the IP Addressing information required to deliver web pages and content.
  • Busy times – the most popular viewing time of the site would show when would be the best time to do promotional campaigns and when would be the most ideal to perform maintenance
  • Most requested pages – the most popular pages
  • Most requested entry pages – the entry page is the first page viewed by a visitor and shows which are the pages most attracting visitors
  • Most requested exit pages – the most requested exit pages could help find bad pages, broken links or the exit pages may have a popular external link
  • Top paths – a path is the sequence of pages viewed by visitors from entry to exit, with the top paths identifying the way most customers go through the site
  • Referrers; The host can track the (apparent) source of the links and determine which sites are generating the most traffic for a particular page.

Websites produce traffic rankings and statistics based on those people who access the sites while using their toolbars and other means of online measurements. The difficulty with this is that it does not look at the complete traffic picture for a site. Large sites usually hire the services of companies such as the Nielsen NetRatings or Quantcast, but their reports are available only by subscription.

Control

The amount of traffic seen by a website is a measure of its popularity. By analysing the statistics of visitors it is possible to see shortcomings of the site and look to improve those areas. It is also possible to increase the popularity of a site and the number of people that visit it.

Limiting access

It is sometimes important to protect some parts of a site by password, allowing only authorized people to visit particular sections or pages.

Some site administrators have chosen to block their page to specific traffic, such as by geographic location. The re-election campaign site for U.S. President George W. Bush (GeorgeWBush.com) was blocked to all internet users outside of the U.S. on 25 October 2004 after a reported attack on the site.[4]

It is also possible to limit access to a web server both based on the number of connections and by the bandwidth expended by each connection. On Apache HTTP servers, this is accomplished by the limitipconn module and others.

From search engines

The majority of website traffic is driven by the search engines. Millions of people use search engines every day to research various topics, buy products, and go about their daily surfing activities. Search engines use keywords to help users find relevant information, and each of the major search engines has developed a unique algorithm to determine where websites are placed within the search results. When a user clicks on one of the listings in the search results, they are directed to the corresponding website and data is transferred from the website's server, thus counting the visitors towards the overall flow of traffic to that website.

Search engine optimization (SEO), is the ongoing practice of optimizing a website to help improve its rankings in the search engines. Several internal and external factors are involved which can help improve a site's listing within the search engines. The higher a site ranks within the search engines for a particular keyword, the more traffic they will receive.

Increasing traffic

Web traffic can be increased by placement of a site in search engines and purchase of advertising, including bulk e-mail, pop-up ads, and in-page advertisements.

Web traffic can also be increased by purchasing through web traffic providers who are experts at delivering targeted traffic, however, buying traffic in the past has seen many websites being penalized on search engines.

Web traffic can be increased not only by attracting more visitors to a site, but also by encouraging individual visitors to "linger" on the site, viewing many pages in a visit. (see Outbrain for an example of this practice)

If a web page is not listed in the first pages of any search, the odds of someone finding it diminishes greatly (especially if there is other competition on the first page). Very few people go past the first page, and the percentage that go to subsequent pages is substantially lower. Consequently, getting proper placement on search engines, a practice known as SEO, is as important as the website itself..

Traffic overload

Too much web traffic can dramatically slow down or prevent all access to a website. This is caused by more file requests going to the server than it can handle and may be an intentional attack on the site or simply caused by over-popularity. Large-scale websites with numerous servers can often cope with the traffic required, and it is more likely that smaller services are affected by traffic overload. Sudden traffic load may also hang your server or may result in a shutdown of your services.

Denial of service attacks

Denial-of-service attacks (DoS attacks) have forced websites to close after a malicious attack, flooding the site with more requests than it could cope with. Viruses have also been used to coordinate large-scale distributed denial-of-service attacks.[5]

Sudden popularity

A sudden burst of publicity may accidentally cause a web traffic overload. A news item in the media, a quickly propagating email, or a link from a popular site may cause such a boost in visitors (sometimes called a flash crowd or the Slashdot effect).

Overall worldwide

According to Mozilla since January 2017, more than half of the Web traffic is encrypted with HTTPS.[6][7]

According to estimates cited by the Interactive Advertising Bureau in 2014, around one third of Web traffic is generated by Internet bots and malware.[8][9]

See also

References

  1. ^ Jeffay, Kevin. "Tracking the Evolution of Web Traffic: 1995-2003*" (PDF). UNC DiRT Group's Publications. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  2. ^ Malacinski, Andrei; Dominick, Scott; Hartrick, Tom (1 March 2001). "Measuring Web Traffic". IBM. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Web Analytics Definitions" (PDF). Web Analytics Association. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  4. ^ Miller, Rich (2004-10-26). "Bush Campaign Web Site Rejects Non-US Visitors".
  5. ^ "Denial of Service". Cert.org. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  6. ^ "We're Halfway to Encrypting the Entire Web". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 21 February 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  7. ^ Finley, Klint. "Half the Web Is Now Encrypted. That Makes Everyone Safer". WIRED. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  8. ^ Vranica, Suzanne (23 March 2014). "A 'Crisis' in Online Ads: One-Third of Traffic Is Bogus". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  9. ^ "36% Of All Web Traffic Is Fake". Business Insider. Retrieved 3 May 2017.

Bibliography

Alexa

Alexa may refer to:

Alexa (plant), a genus of legumes

Alexa (name), a given name and surname

Alexa (typeface), a typeface

Alexa Fluor, a family of fluorescent dyes

Alexa Internet, a subsidiary of Amazon.com that provides web traffic analysis

Amazon Alexa, the speech recognition used in the Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo, responding to the default name Alexa

Arri Alexa, a digital motion picture camera

2013 Middle East cold snap, also referred to as Alexa

Alexa Internet

Alexa Internet, Inc. is an American web traffic analysis company based in San Francisco. It is a subsidiary of Amazon.

Alexa was founded as an independent company in 1996 and acquired by Amazon in 1999. Its toolbar collects data on Internet browsing behavior and transmits them to the Alexa website, where they are stored and analyzed. This is the basis for the company's web traffic reporting, including its Alexa Rank. According to its website, Alexa provides web traffic data, global rankings, and other information on 30 million websites. As of 2018, its website is visited by over 3 million people every month.

Brisbane Times

Brisbane Times is an online newspaper for Brisbane and Queensland, Australia.

Compete.com

Compete.com was a web traffic analysis service. The company was founded in 2000 and ceased operations in December 2016.

Cost per impression

Cost per impression (CPI), or cost per thousand impressions (CPM), is a term used in traditional advertising media selection, as well as online advertising and marketing related to web traffic. It refers to the cost of traditional advertising or internet marketing or email advertising campaigns, where advertisers pay each time an ad is displayed. CPI is the cost or expense incurred for each potential customer who views the advertisement(s), while CPM refers to the cost or expense incurred for every thousand potential customers who view the advertisement(s). CPM is an initialism for cost per mille, with mille being Latin for thousand.

DNSWL

A DNSWL ("DNS-based whitelist") is a "whitelist" of semi-trusted locations on the Internet. The locations consist of IP addresses which may be reputed with no or low occurrences of spamming.

Disney.com

Disney.com is a website operated by Disney Digital Network, a division of The Walt Disney Company, that promotes various Disney properties such as films, television shows, and theme park resorts, and offers entertainment content intended for children and families.

For years, Disney.com has been a very popular website: a survey back in April 1998 revealed that Disney.com had over 10% more unique visitors than ABCNews.com, and the combined Disney/Infoseek websites were second in web traffic to leader Yahoo! that month.

The current portal is Disney's second effort at a web portal, the first being ended with the loss of go.com.

On September 21, 2011, the content from Disney.com was launched as a free channel available through the Roku streaming player. It is the first player so far to allow viewing through a television.

Entrepreneur (magazine)

Entrepreneur is an American magazine and website that carries news stories about entrepreneurship, small business management, and business. The magazine was first published in 1977. It is published by Entrepreneur Media Inc., headquartered in Irvine, California. The magazine publishes 10 issues annually, available through subscription and on newsstands. It is published under license internationally in Mexico, Russia, India, Hungary, the Philippines, South Africa, and others. Its editor-in-chief is Jason Feifer and its owner is Peter Shea.

Great Cannon

The Great Cannon of China is an attack tool that is used to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks on websites by intercepting massive amounts of web traffic and redirecting them to targeted websites. According to the researchers at the Citizen Lab, the International Computer Science Institute, and Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy, who coined the term, the Great Cannon hijacks foreign web traffic intended for Chinese websites and re-purposes them to flood targeted web servers with enormous amounts of traffic in an attempt to disrupt their operations. While it is co-located with the Great Firewall, the Great Cannon is "a separate offensive system, with different capabilities and design."Besides launching denial-of-service attacks, the tool is also capable of monitoring web traffic and distributing malware in targeted attacks in ways that are similar to the Quantum Insert system used by the U.S. National Security Agency.The first known targets of the Great Cannon (in late March 2015) were websites hosting censorship-evading tools, including GitHub, a web-based code hosting service, and GreatFire, a service monitoring blocked websites in China.

HitFix

HitFix, or HitFix.com, is an entertainment news website that launched in December 2008 specializing in breaking entertainment news, insider information, and reviews and critiques of film, music, and television. In mid-2010 HitFix crossed the 1,000,000 unique users per month milestone. As of June 2017, HitFix was ranked 37th among all entertainment news websites by web traffic analyser Alexa Internet. HitFix has been cited as a source by such publications as Time, Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, E! Online, and The Daily Herald. In April 2016, it became a brand of Woven Digital.

Internet bot

An internet bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. The largest use of bots is in web spidering (web crawler), in which an automated script fetches, analyzes and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. More than half of all web traffic is made up of bots.Efforts by servers hosting websites to counteract bots vary. Servers may choose to outline rules on the behaviour of internet bots by implementing a robots.txt file: this file is simply text stating the rules governing a bot's behaviour on that server. Any bot that does not follow these rules when interacting with (or 'spidering') any server should, in theory, be denied access to, or removed from, the affected website. If the only rule implementation by a server is a posted text file with no associated program/software/app, then adhering to those rules is entirely voluntary – in reality there is no way to enforce those rules, or even to ensure that a bot's creator or implementer acknowledges, or even reads, the robots.txt file contents. Some bots are "good" – e.g. search engine spiders – while others can be used to launch malicious and harsh attacks, most notably, in political campaigns.

Literotica

Literotica (a portmanteau of Literature and Erotica) is a free erotic fiction website. It allows any user to register as an author and submit stories and has over a million registered users as of April 2010. Amateur authors contribute stories, poems, essays, illustrated stories and audio stories in a variety of categories. As of April 2008 there were more than 299,000 erotic stories posted. Ant.com ranks the website as the 361st most popular on the internet as of April 9, 2011. As of August 2013 Literotica, a United States-based web site, received 44% of its web traffic from the United States. According to alexa.com, other countries with a notable share of the site's web traffic are India with 9.2%, Germany with 8.1%, the United Kingdom with 5.8%, and Canada with 4.4%. As of January 2012 It had 4.5 million visitors per month.

Slashdot effect

The Slashdot effect, also known as slashdotting, occurs when a popular website links to a smaller website, causing a massive increase in traffic. This overloads the smaller site, causing it to slow down or even temporarily become unavailable. The name stems from the huge influx of web traffic which would result from the technology news site Slashdot linking to websites. The original circumstances have changed, as flash crowds from Slashdot were reported in 2005 to be diminishing due to competition from similar sites, and the general adoption of elastically scalable cloud hosting platforms. The effect has been associated with other websites or metablogs such as Fark, Digg, Drudge Report, Imgur, Reddit, and Twitter, leading to terms such as being "farked" or "drudged", being under the "Reddit effect"—or receiving a "hug of death" from the site in question. Google Doodles, which link to search results on the doodle topic, also result in high increases of traffic from the search results page. Typically, less robust sites are unable to cope with the huge increase in traffic and become unavailable – common causes are lack of sufficient data bandwidth, servers that fail to cope with the high number of requests, and traffic quotas. Sites that are maintained on shared hosting services often fail when confronted with the Slashdot effect.

A flash crowd is a more generic term without using any specific name that describes a network phenomenon where a network or host suddenly receives a lot of traffic. This is sometimes due to the appearance of a website on a blog or news column.

Social media optimization

Social media optimization (SMO) is the use of a number of outlets and communities to generate publicity to increase the awareness of a product, service brand or event. Types of social media involved include RSS feeds, social news and bookmarking sites, as well as social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, video sharing websites and blogging sites. SMO is similar to search engine optimization, in that the goal is to generate web traffic and increase awareness for a website. In general, social media optimization refers to optimizing a website and its content to encourage more users to use and share links to the website across social media and networking sites. SMO also refers to software tools that automate this process, or to website experts who undertake this process for clients.

The goal of SMO is to strategically create interesting online content, ranging from well-written text to eye-catching digital photos or video clips that encourages and entices people to engage with a website and then share this content, via its weblink, with their social media contacts and friends. Common examples of social media engagement are "liking and commenting on posts, retweeting, embedding, sharing, and promoting content". Social media optimization is also an effective way of implementing online reputation management (ORM), meaning that if someone posts bad reviews of a business, a SMO strategy can ensure that the negative feedback is not the first link to come up in a list of search engine results.In the 2010s, with social media sites overtaking TV as a source for news for young people, news organisations have become increasingly reliant on social media platforms for generating web traffic. Publishers such as The Economist employ large social media teams to optimise their online posts and maximise traffic, while other major publishers now use advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology to generate higher volumes of web traffic.

StatCounter

Statcounter is a web traffic analysis tool founded in 1999. Access to basic services is free and advanced services can cost between US$5 and $119 a month. The company is based in Dublin. The statistics from StatCounter are used to compute web usage share for example. StatCounter is used on 1.1% of all websites.StatCounter statistics are directly derived from hits (as opposed to unique visitors) from 3 million sites, which use StatCounter, resulting in total hits of more than 15 billion per month. No artificial weightings are used to correct for sampling bias, thus the numbers in the statistics can not be considered to be representative samples.

The company was founded by Aodhan Cullen at the age of 16. He remains the CEO of StatCounter. Cullen received the "Internet Hero" award at the 2008 Eircom Golden Spider Awards. He was also named the 2007 BusinessWeek Young European Entrepreneur of the Year.In 2008, the company surpassed two million members globally.

The Quint

The Quint is an English and Hindi language Indian news website founded by Raghav Bahl and Ritu Kapur after their exit from Network18. The website initially launched in January 2015 on Facebook, a website in March 2015. As of 2016 it has more than 95 editorial staff, and half of its content is original and half from social media and press releases. Most of The Quint's web traffic is from India and from 18 to 35 year old people. In April 2016, The Quint's parent company Quintillion Media partnered with Bloomberg News to create BloombergQuint. The website retracted a story on Kulbhushan Jadhav that said he was a Research and Analysis Wing agent.

Traffic generation model

A traffic generation model is a stochastic model of the traffic flows or data sources in a communication network, for example a cellular network or a computer network. A packet generation model is a traffic generation model of the packet flows or data sources in a packet-switched network. For example, a web traffic model is a model of the data that is sent or received by a user's web-browser. These models are useful during the development of telecommunication technologies, in view to analyse the performance and capacity of various protocols, algorithms and network topologies .

Web analytics

Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage. However, Web analytics is not just a process for measuring web traffic but can be used as a tool for business and market research, and to assess and improve the effectiveness of a website. Web analytics applications can also help companies measure the results of traditional print or broadcast advertising campaigns. It helps one to estimate how traffic to a website changes after the launch of a new advertising campaign. Web analytics provides information about the number of visitors to a website and the number of page views. It helps gauge traffic and popularity trends which is useful for market research.

XVideos

XVideos is a pornographic video sharing and viewing website. Since December 2018, it is the most visited pornographic website according to the Alexa analytics tool. The website is registered to the Czech company, WGCZ Holding. As of 24 October 2018, it was the 29th most visited website in the world.In 2012, it was estimated that the site streams over a terabyte per second, which was the equivalent of one-fifteenth of the network bandwidth available from London to New York.WGCZ Holding also run the Bang Bros network of websites and are the current owners of the Penthouse magazine and its related assets.

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