As a data analyst in China, here's what you need to know.
As a data analyst sitting with a Chinese website (or several Chinese websites) with traffic that has reached a certain size, you should seriously consider building a data center.
As a data analyst, your job involves:
Data Storage and Data Processing
Webserver log: The size of data depends on the quantity of traffic your website receives every day, and the data size accumulates each day! Your webserver's log files grow everyday – which is a mega piece of raw data that you or your webserver administrator has to take care of (or find a place to store it). Then your webserver could be running on Apache or Microsoft's IIS, you will almost always need some techie guy to write a customize script to automatically extract reports from this piece of mega data. As a data analyst, your job is to give your techie guy the report requirements.
Conventional Web Analytics Tools
The most obvious benefit of using a web analytics solution over webserver log as your data analytics solution is: the daily processing of raw data and data storage problem will be taken care of by third-party vendors who provide the web analytics solutions.
Free Web Analytics Solutions vs. Paid Web Analytics Solutions
Of course, the downside of paid web analytics solutions is it requires you to have a budget.
Analytics for SEO and SEM
Conventional web analytics and webserver logs are great tools for you to understand the traffic and user behavior coming through from search (a.k.a. SEO + paid search). Combining the data you have collected from web analytics and webserver logs with Google's web data sharing lifecycle, SEO analytics, and SEM tools, you should be able to build a full set of data center that will continue to power the full search engine marketing strategies that you have set out.
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Gordon Choi has paid search experience in Google AdWords and Baidu since 2003; Yahoo/Bing since 2002 and SEO and web analytics experience since 2005 across China, Asia, U.S., U.K. and Australian markets. He gathered China Internet experience through working in-house at Ctrip.com and Alibaba.com and now specializes in setting up SEM/SEO strategies, managing online campaign operations, and implementing web analytics solutions for clients.
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