Template:Unreferenced A web counter or hit counter is a computer software program that indicates the number of visitors, or hits, a particular webpage has received. Once set up, these counters will be incremented by one every time the web page is accessed in a web browser.
The number is usually displayed as an inline digital image or in plain text. Images may be presented in a variety of fonts, or styles; the classic example is the wheels of an odometer. The counter often is accompanied by the date it was set up or last reset, otherwise it becomes impossible to estimate within what time the number of page loads counted occurred.
Web counters are not necessarily trustworthy. A webmaster could start the counter at a high number to give the impression that the site is more popular than it actually is or use a traffic generator to increase their hits automatically.
Some websites have been known to offer prizes to the visitor who makes the web counter roll-over to a specific number. Such an event is known as a kiriban.
At one time it was common to see a hit counter on every page, but this is no longer the case for several reasons:
- They have been replaced (or augmented) by more complicated web analytics methodologies that give the webmaster a better overall picture of site traffic besides a simple, perpetually increasing number.
- As style elements, they are no longer associated with the impression of professional web design—some people consider web counters to be a "gimmicky" feature and they are thus typically found on personal pages created by individuals.
- Too small a number might indicate the page's lack of popularity. Removing the counter thus levels the playing field.
Despite this, numerous companies continue to offer free and premium webcounter services. Some services also provide more detailed information on visitors, pages views, etc., using advanced techniques.
Counter schemes[edit | edit source]
One of the more recent SEO spamming techniques, companies pay to have their site listed in the html code of a free hit counter. Thus when a user puts it on their page, a small link will appear at the bottom and can be a quick way for sites to accumulate inbound links. This is often performed by sites in very competitive web fields like online gambling and even asbestos litigation.
Google recently removed a number of high ranking mesothelioma sites that had been using counters from the top results.Template:Fact Whether this will continue for other sites that use counters is unknown.