An important part of maintaining and optimizing your website involves keeping an eye on your traffic. You need to know what users are looking for when they come to your site, how long they stay, the last page they visit before they leave, and the average amount of time spent on your site. This information is irreplaceably helpful when it comes to highlighting areas that might need improvement or successful page designs you might want to emulate throughout your website. The two most popular services for this analysis are Google Analytics and SmarterStats. The main difference between the two is that Google Analytics is a script-based analyzer, while SmarterStats is a log-based analyzer. What does this mean? We have complied a comparison of facts to help you make the educated and informed decision that will best service your website’s specific needs.
Features unique to SmarterStats:
SmarterStats has the advantage of being managed and installed on your own server and can still be used on firewall-protected corporate internet, reassuring you that you are receiving the whole picture of the statistics. It is able to reprocess historical data from log files and locally process or reprocess log files. It reports on spider and bot activity, server errors, and status codes. SmarterStats provides access to raw data for custom report building, uses SEO reports for analyzing search engine ranking, and offers analysis of competitor reports.
Features unique to Google Analytics:
Google Analytics is able to collect information through tags and uses its integration with Google AdWords to gather more information. It provides Real Time user data, goal configuration and tracking, and visitor flow report.
Features shared by SmarterStats and Google Analytics:
Both analysis services are able to report on paid search campaigns, banner and traditional marketing campaigns, and offer geo-targeted reporting. They analyze visitor session and navigation paths. Additionally both services offer free versions of their programs. The SmarterStats free version limits the use to a single site and one SEO campaign. Google Analytics free version has a limited amount of pageviews it will track. Larger sites with high traffic are required to purchase more of a package.
When it comes to accuracy, Google Analytics can misrepresent or underreport some statistics. The two services process data at different intervals, with Google Analytics using a 30-minute window while SmarterStats uses a 5-minute. Google Analytics only records data on pages with a tracking code. When it all boils down, SmarterStats is more accurate because it reports every request to the server instead of just what tracking code tags.