Mining Web Logs to Improve Website Organization

Ramakrishnan Srikant, Yinghui Yang


Many websites have a hierarchical organization of content. This organization may be quite different from the organization expected by visitors to the website. In particular, it is often unclear where a specific document is located. In this paper, we propose an algorithm to automatically find pages in a website whose location is different from where visitors expect to find them. The key insight is that visitors will backtrack if they do not find the information where they expect it: the point from where they backtrack is the expected location for the page. We present an algorithm for discovering such expected locations that can handle page caching by the browser. Expected locations with a significant number of hits are then presented to the website administrator. We also present algorithms for selecting expected locations (for adding navigation links) to optimize the benefit to the website or the visitor. We ran our algorithm on the Wharton business school website and found that even on this small website, there were many pages with expected locations different from their actual location.


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