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Hits vs. Unique Visitors vs. Page Impressions – What You Should Know

September 24, 2007 by  

Once in a while, I came across a blog post that proudly announces their blog or site is getting thousands of hits per month. Either they don’t know what hits mean or it’s like the bragging rights for those who don’t know better.

Hits shouldn’t exist in your vocabulary unless you are a server administrator. There are better metrics out there to gauge a site’s popularity and hits are irrelevant as far as the average site owners are concern.

 

So what’s a Hit?

A hit is generated when a file is requested and served on your website. The file can be anything from the ordinary HTML document, an image file, a video and so on. An HTML document with 10 image files on it will register 11 hits (1 HTML file + 10 image file) when the page is viewed by a visitor.

Therefore, a page containing 1000 images will register 1001 hits when viewed by a single visitor. The same visitor may reload the same page 10 times to register 10,010 hits instantly. Obviously, that doesn’t mean there are 10,010 people visiting your site

So really, using hits to gauge a site’s popularity is misleading and there’s nothing to brag about when you get thousands of hits per day. You might just as well talk about how much bandwidth your site is consuming daily.

 

What Is a Page Impression?

Page impression, also known as page view is just that. It shows how many times the page is viewed. For example, when you click a link and the page is loaded, that request is counted as one page view. When you click the back button on your web browser to return to the previous page, another page view is registered.

As you can see, there may therefore be many hits per page view.

Page impression can be used to gauge the ability of your pages to retain the visitors’ interest, sometimes called the stickiness of your website. High number of page view per visitor means your visitors may be browsing several pages during their visits. This can be a good thing to mention if you are selling advertising on your site.

Surely, most advertisers prefer to have their ads viewed as many time as possible.

 

What Is a Unique Visitor?

Unique visitors are what matters when you want to show off a bit :)

A unique visitor means a visit from a person to a web site, at least once, typically within a 24 hour period.

Several visits from the same person to that website within a 24 hour period are only counted once. The person is identified by his or her IP address and sometimes through cookies, which acts like an online fingerprint.

So, if a blog gets 1000 unique visitors per day, it means that 1000 different individuals have visited the blog within the 24 hours period. While several individual may have visited the blog several times during the period to read new posts or comments, each visit would be counted once only.

Next time if you’d like to talk about how popular your blog is, tell people how many unique visitors you have instead of hits.

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21 Comments »

Comment by Alb
2007-09-24 15:48:42

At last a Guru’s telling us about this :) No wonder when i check my Sitemeter, pageview is higher compare to unique visitors.. hehe. but i never post any post about this la… hehe

 
Comment by eshark Subscribed to comments via email
2007-09-24 16:02:51

Woo like that ka! I’ve always refer to Alexa PageRank to see the popularity.. So far I got 3,681 Page Impression and 2,634 Unique Visitors as per my Google Analytics reading.

Comment by Gaman
2007-09-24 20:54:50

Alexa PageRank? Do you mean Alexa and Google PageRank?

How many visitors do you get daily?

Comment by eshark Subscribed to comments via email
2007-09-25 10:50:22

Ya exactly! err.. according to my Google Analytics recently, the number around 210 – 280 a day, but this number has been reducing starting somewhere in July.

Your blog have a great tips about web development, wish I can learn from you, especially how to make money online. Currently I make quite some money through designing, but I want to increase my earnings so I’ll don’t depends very much on my design site.

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Comment by Tim
2007-09-24 16:57:49

Thanks Gaman, now i know why my blog’s hits always larger than page view. I have about 60-100 unique visitors after blogging for 2 weeks, do you think is reasonable progress? or anyway that I can improve to get traffic faster?

Comment by Gaman
2007-09-24 17:15:46

For a two weeks old blog, that’s pretty good.

 
 
Comment by Mr. Rajawang
2007-09-24 20:05:50

Thanks for sharing this info gaman, surely you have done your homework! :P

 
Comment by Kay Kastum Subscribed to comments via email
2007-09-25 16:01:59

I did understand a bit until you explained it here in laymen terms. Next goal is to increase the unique visitors! :D

Comment by papajoneh
2007-09-26 07:58:54

Let’s do that Kay. We need more unique visitors. We’re not unique anymore to each other :D

Comment by Kay Kastum Subscribed to comments via email
2007-09-26 08:08:39

Not unique but still special!

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Comment by keeyit
2007-09-25 17:26:13

Learnt some useful tips today !

I have to work harder to get more unique visitors.

 
Comment by sns Subscribed to comments via email
2007-09-26 00:39:42

hehe … guess i’m the guilty one!!! Didnt realize the full meaning of all those hits!! (though it sounded really impressive .. when you see thousands and thousands of hits!)

Tks for the Xplanation … appreciate it! :) Now I’ll work to get the Unique Visitors to Increase!! Any suggestions … pls keep sharing!!
SNS

p/s By the way how many unique visitors do sabahan.com gets a day?

Comment by Gaman
2007-09-26 00:41:55

I’ve talked about that in this blog several times. The search engines will help you find those posts :)

 
 
Comment by phyzhoe
2007-10-02 20:27:49

Thank! now i know what unique visitors are. Instead of hits we require more unique visitor so more $$$

 
Comment by dott-com
2007-10-05 08:39:30

lol..I never know that before..

 
Comment by Jim
2010-09-02 01:47:44

I got impressions and visits mixed up… Thanks for the clarification.

 
Comment by noklpopl
2010-12-23 19:55:50

I thought page impression has something to do with google serps and means: how often your domain appears in google serps for a special period (doesn´t matter if your domain is one page 1, or 2, or 3, or whatever..)

 
Comment by Paul Gupit Subscribed to comments via email
2011-08-28 18:47:32

So, pageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value.

 
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