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103bees Search Term Analytics – Review

103Bees103bees is a free tool for analyzing inbound search engine traffic. As with most tools of this nature you use it by adding a small piece of javascript code to your template and it then goes to work analyzing what SE the traffic is from, what keywords they come to your blog after searching, what landing pages they hit on your blog etc. You get 7 days of analysis for free and can upgrade to get 30 days (still for free).

The basic information that it gives you includes:

  • Comparative analysis of how much traffic is coming to your site from SE’s vs referral/bookmarks/type ins
  • Latest Search Terms – the most recent phrases that people came searching for
  • Top Landing Pages – the most popular landing pages on your blog and how many visitors they’ve had in the last 7 days
  • Top Search Terms – a list of terms that people used to come to your blog searching for with how many visitors used them
  • Top Key Words – a list of single words and how many people used them (you can also get this presented as a tag view)
  • Search Engines – a list of which search engines sent the traffic and how many people used them (also what percentage of all SE traffic they made up)

The above are the first level of stats that you get. Then you can go deeper from within these pages and can do cool things like go to a page that analyses a keyword or phrase and shows you how much traffic came from different SE’s for that term (useful for comparing how different SE’s rank you for different terms). There’s also a deeper page that graphs how many hits different landing pages got over time and another to analyze what search terms people used when arriving at a certain landing page.

The analysis you get from 103bees is not completely unique – I’ve got all of it already from different stats packages BUT I do like a few things about it that make it worth considering:

  • Analysis is done in real time – the stats come into your analysis area very quickly, something some other stats packages don’t give you
  • Multiple Domains – you can track multiple domains (they are called ‘projects’) in the one package – very handy for us multi-bloggers
  • Usefulness of Analysis – as I say you can get all this information from other stats packages but the analysis is presented in a way that makes it reasonably useful (ie when it refers to pages in your blog you’re given links to go look at what they are referring to.
  • Fresh Design – I like it. It’s clean, fast loading and useful.
  • Depth of Analysis – once you go beyond some of the first level of pages to the secondary pages there is some very useful information. For example being able to analyse what different search terms were used to for people to get to a single landing page on your blog is very useful information.
  • Breadth of Statistics – 7 (or 30 if you upgrade) days analysis for free isn’t heaps but it’s more than what packages like sitemeter give you (they only give you the last 100 visits)

Why would you use it?

The beauty of knowing what people are searching for when they come to your blog is that you have your finger on the pulse of what type of information people are looking for (which can give you hints as to what to write more about) and you know how the different SE’s are ranking you for certain terms which helps you work out how your SEO is going.

Once you start analyzing how people arrive at your blog in this way it’s interesting and useful to find out how many people arrive using terms you’d never considered before. Knowing this data can sometimes just be ‘fun’ (you get all kinds of quirky keywords coming up) but also useful as you might find that the SE’s see you as an authority on something on the periphery of your niche that you could write more about.

It’s also very very useful for analyzing not only your overall blog’s performance but single pages on your blog and how they’re going in SE’s. For example:

If I wanted to analyze the performance of my page How Bloggers Make Money from Blogs (one of the better performing pages here at ProBlogger) I could gather the following information:

  • How much traffic it’s had in the last 7 days (I could see this graphed and raw stats)
  • How this compares to other pages on my blog
  • A list of specific search terms that people come to the page looking for (ranked) – for example ‘make money online’ drove traffic to that page
  • I could then see what other pages on the blog those search terms have produced traffic for – for example ‘make money online’ also sent traffic to my home page
  • I could see which SE’s are sending the traffic to that page (ranking and also percentages given)
  • I could see how the page ranks for each search term ranks on the different SE’s sending traffic – for example ‘make money online’ on Google
  • This enables me to optimize the page more for the SE’s by trying different onsite SEO techniques to see if I can rank it higher or not

What I’d like to see added

Some of the features are slightly hidden away and are not accessible enough. For instance one of the things I love to check is how high I rank for a search term by clicking through to the SE that the visitor came from to see whether I’m #1 or #10 for that term (for example – 103bees told me that I got visited by someone searching on Yahoo! for “Colin Ferrell Sex Video” (go figure!). When I go to Yahoo’s page for that search I find I’m #10). 103bees does give a ‘ranking’ link which takes you to these pages but you have to click on two or three links to get to it.

Perhaps the only other suggestions I could make would be for them to add a feature that tells you what number your page ranks at in the SE so you don’t have to click through (not sure if this is possible but it’d be nice) and also a few more percentages (for example on the ‘top landing pages’ results it’d be nice to see what % of SE hits have gone to your top page in addition to the numbers – this is a handy stat to know on a blog that get a lot of SE traffic. This would also be handy on ‘Top search terms’ and ‘top keywords’ results).

All in all – 103bees is a great little program. I’m not a big fan of adding to many javascript tracking codes to a page but I think this is a worthwhile one to investigate if you’re looking for analysis of your inbound SE traffic.

Update: Marcus over at Performancing has a great review of 103bees also.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. It seems interesting, but I only think it’s worth paying for if you’re a professional who’s really into SEO. For the rest of us, nah!

  2. Ill check it out

  3. I signed up for 103bees and hittail yesterday. Hit tail does seem to show you what position you rank on the searches as long as you are in the top X (I think 10). They’re both pretty neat little tools.

    I was surprised to see a post I wrote just a few days ago on a blog I created about a week ago made it to number 10 on a search term. Kind of neat. I didn’t even expect Google to have found my new site yet.

  4. I use Statcounter and I am wondering how 103Bees compares to the free version of Statcounter that I currently use?
    I am relatively new to the blogging scene, but I am a marketer at heart, so I want to have the best stats available. Is it worth it to run both tools?
    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Kind regards,

  5. I’m using both for very different reasons. Statcounter is more of just straight up hit numbers. 103bees and hittail are more about analyzing how people are finding you.

  6. I think StatTraq is a very nice option for wordpress users in this field. It gives detailed information on search terms, lists most viewed posts and provides a lot of other stats which are very useful for people interested in SEO.

  7. Leon – it’s free. No need to pay anything.

  8. I like to think of HitTail as analyzing how people WILL find you, and nudging you to follow our suggestions. It’s kind of like analytics turned upside down.

    We’re kind of sensitive about people calling us analytics… sniff, sniff. Anyway, analytics will help validate whether or not HitTailing is working for you. As usual, many thanks for the mention.

  9. Can we coin the “problogger effect”? 103bees.com is down and upgrading their servers.

    103bees.com enjoys a huge demand from people all around the world, so we are currently moving the beehive (a.k.a. the webserver) to a more powerful location. On behalf of all bees we would like to apologize for any trouble this may cause! Please come back later.

    I can’t check my stats, but I am impressed with the interface. Sometimes simplier is better. I am using Google Analytics in conjuction, just so I don’t get a break in my stats.

  10. After reading your comments I did a little more investigative work. Thanks for the push in the right direction! I’m just starting out and I want to do the best I can from the get go.

    Also, Mike, it’s really cool that you take time to comment about your product. Keep up the good work and personalized communication efforts. It will do wonders for you and your reputation.

    Thanks again.

  11. Interesting tool, but can these Web apps get any stupider names? :))

  12. Darren, Could you please advise which tracker is really stand out of rest, I mean is it Statcounter, sitemeter , 103bees or other.

    And yes, Why ?

  13. @Peter (11): The vision of the hard working bee is explained pretty clear. Well the 103 still needs some explanation :-)

    @Daren: Great article. Some new aspects explained very nicely (as always)

    I have no idea how Christopher (the 103bees developer) is doing right now over there in Switzerland but I remember someone writing somewhere that 103bees was calculated for 3,000 users. By now I would be interested ho much are using the service.

    I find that a bundle of PMetrics (performancing.com), 103bees and HitTail show a great value for bloggers interested in their statistics. PMetrics gives the overall numbers, 103bees shows the top phrases, pages and keywords and HitTail is an inspiring tool to find subjects your readers are really interested in.

    PS: Darren, thanks for the link to my p.com article. I have added some comments about new 103bees aspects and features in the thread (and a review on HitTail).

  14. […] I signed up at the website http://103bees.com almost immediately after I first discovered their site, referred in my bloglines from Darren on his Problogger.net blog last summer … but it wasn’t until mid January 2007 that I finally began to go around and actually add some code to a few of my sites and test it out. […]

  15. Awsome. I am going to test and compare:

    103bees vs. StatTraq vs. HitTail.

    One question why use this tools instead of Google Alytics which I currently used and is free. I am a complete rookie when compared to you guys in the blogging world so pardon my naiveness.


    Also do you have any other good handy software outhere that you would recommend?

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