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Showing posts with label Alexa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alexa. Show all posts

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Alexa Rankings – What is it And is it Important?

Alexa Rankings – What is it And is it Important? 
by Brin Wilson

People love sticking numbers on things – usually in order to compare and contrast them with similar things. Websites are no exception: after all, what webmaster wouldn’t want to compare and contrast his or her website with that of a competitor? One of the most well-known metrics aimed at allowing people to do exactly this is the infamous Alexa Rank – why infamous? Because historically heaps of people tend not to trust it as an accurate indicator of what it is supposed to be a measure of, namely: ‘how a website is doing relative to all other sites on the web over the past three months’ (quoted directly from Alexa’s official website)* – which is itself a bit of a dubious definition: I mean ‘how a website is doing’… What does that mean?! Right, enough of an intro, let’s get stuck in…

A little history

Founded in 1996, Alexa is a California-based subsidiary company of (acquired by Amazon in 1999) that specializes in providing commercial web traffic data gathered via various toolbars and web browser extensions. Some of Alexa’s most notable previous activities include providing a database that served as the basis for the creation of the Wayback Machine and the creation of various search facilities (now largely discontinued). However, the thing they’re probably best known for is, of course, their ‘Alexa Rank’ – a metric that ranks websites in order of popularity or ‘how [well] a website is doing’ over the last 3 months.

How are Alexa Ranks measured?

According to the official Alexa website’s Our Data page, the rank is calculated using a ‘combination’ of the estimated average daily unique visitors to the site and the estimated number of pageviews on the site over the past 3 months – with the site with the highest combination of unique visitors and pageviews being ranked as #1. The data is collected from a subset of internet users using one of 25,000 browser extensions for either Google Chrome, Firefox, and/or Internet Explorer. An algorithm then ‘corrects’ for various potential biases and attempts to compensate for visitors who might not be in Alexa’s measurement panel (a factor it historically hasn’t always tried to accommodate for) and normalizes the data based on the geographical location of visitors.

How can I view a website’s Alexa Rank?

At least this part is straightforward: simply go to the official Alexa website, type in your full domain name and hit return! What’s more, scrolling down the results page reveals no end of other interesting metrics, such as Bounce Rate, Daily Pageviews per Visitor, Daily Time on Site and the Percentage of visits from Search, as well as various Demographics, a list of sites that link and even page speed/load times! All of which should probably be taken with a pinch of salt…

What does the Alexa Rank mean?

The general consensus seems to be a reluctant admittance by most (certainly not all) that there does indeed appear to be a very general – rough – correlation (seemingly with a LOT of outlying data points) between a site’s Alexa Rank and traffic for well-established websites that receive over and above a certain level of traffic: i.e. for relatively popular sites with Alexa Ranks of less than somewhere in the region of about 50,000 to 100,000 – to their credit, Alexa does actually state on their website that ‘traffic rankings of 100,000 and above should be regarded as [very?] rough estimates‘ and that conversely ‘the closer a site gets to #1, the more accurate traffic rankings become‘. Anything higher than this 100,000 waypoint and everyone I’ve ever spoken to on the subject (I hangout in somewhat geeky circles) seems to pretty much laugh it off as a metric that can, nine times out of ten, be almost completely ignored.

Why don’t people tend to trust it?

It seems that a lot of people/webmasters with access to reliable web analytics data (the most popular being provided by Google Analytics of course) for more than one website often report seeing web-traffic trends and statistics that appear to be completely out of line with the corresponding Alexa Rank for each site. Unfortunately, you’ve only got to Google something like ‘Is Alexa Rank Accurate?’ to find such reports – not good! Although, in all fairness, quite a few of these reports are for websites with quite high Alexa Ranks – i.e. often way in excess of the 100,000 mark.
The real kicker though, seems to be two-fold: 1) Alexa aren’t able to gather their data from everybody (they obviously simply don’t have access to everybody’s browsing habits) – they can only gather data from a subset of a few million users via certain browser extensions (as previously mentioned) – something common sense suggests will almost certainly skew the data right from the get-go (since the average user presumably arguably isn’t likely to have installed any such browser extensions) and 2) rather than address such concerns head on and be completely open about exactly how this particular problem is accounted for, i.e. by being more open about exactly how the underlying data is collected and used to calculate the rank, Alexa seem to (as far as my admittedly somewhat limited research goes) be less than 100% transparent on the matter, simply stating that Alexa Rank ‘is calculated using a combination of the estimated average daily unique visitors to the site and the estimated number of pageviews on the site over the past 3 months’. Hmmmm….

Are Alexa Ranks important?

For most site owners, ‘how a website is doing’ is of course very important, however, when assessing your own website my advice would be to simply stick with Google Analytics data rather than to go attributing any significant meaning to your site’s Alexa Rank. When looking at competitor’s sites however, by all means take a quick peek at their Alexa Rank for a very rough idea of how popular their website is relative to yours (assuming the same kinds of people visit both sites – thereby hopefully minimizing some of the biases brought about by the significantly-less-than-perfect way in which Alexa gather their data); however I definitely wouldn’t go thinking a particular website gets more traffic than another merely on the basis that its Alexa Rank happens to be only a few thousand lower – and if the website you’re interested in happens to have a rank of anything even near the aforementioned 100,000 mark, it’s probably best not to go attributing any significant meaning to comparing Alexa Ranks at all!


I personally hope that Alexa continues to work towards really getting this particular metric up to scratch… because it sure would be nice to stick a number on each and every website that would allow us to compare and contrast them all with a decent level of accuracy! Unfortunately, it would appear that they’ve still got quite a long way to go in order to regain the industry’s faith in the matter!
What do you think? Have you noticed Alexa Ranks becoming more accurate as they decrease? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much faith do you generally place in the accuracy of a site’s Alexa Rank?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dont change your Blog Template

Whenever you feel bored with the template of your blog and want to change it, you immediately take the hazardous step of replacing the template without even thinking of its bad impact. 

While doing so, the look of your site changes as per your likings BUT this is the starting point of the endless problems.

 Search Engine Optimization get disordered affecting your Global Alexa rankings.

 You may loose your visitors too from sources like Google keyword search and Google image search. Not only Google other Search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Ask may also get affect. 

 Apart from it you have to wait for a long time to regain your previous status until the search engine updates there indexed pages.

Hence whenever you want to change the template of your blog -


and even if it is necessary then re-design it properly as you think best and use it forever.

Don't change template so often.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How Important Is Alexa Ranking?

All businesses that have taken up online marketing, aim at improving their conversion rate. Now, there are different ways of attracting targeted traffic. Some go for a good place in the SERPs, others like to know that their site receives heavy traffic. Either way, everybody has this goal of achieving financial success. 

But, while scoring high with Google may seem to certain business people the only way to make themselves known and thus reaching their goal, there are others that think that a good place in the Alexa ranking system might benefit them just as well.

What is Alexa Ranking?

This is a ranking system set by  (a subsidiary of ) that basically audits and makes public the frequency of visits on various Web sites. The algorithm according to which Alexa traffic ranking is calculated, is simple. It is based on the amount of traffic recorded from users that have the Alexa toolbar installed over a period of three months. 

This traffic is based on such parameters as reach and page views. The reach refers to the number of Alexa users who visit a particular site in one day. Page view, as its name shows, is the number of times a particular page (URL) is viewed by Alexa users. makes it clear though that, if a particular user visits the same URL multiple times on the same day, all those visits will be counted as one.

The first step of the ranking process is calculating the reach and number of page views for all the sites on the Web on a daily basis. The Alexa ranking is obtained by performing the geometric mean of reach and page views, averaged over a predefined period of time (three months). 

How Alexa Ranking Works

It's quite easy to get started. All you have to do is visit the site and download (and install) theAlexa toolbar . This toolbar offers a search function but it mainly displays the rank (at a global level) of the visited site, as well as the sites that have been visited by Web surfers that are linked in some way to the site being visited.

The Alexa toolbar not only displays information, but it also sends data to the central server. Thus, each time you visit a Web page via a Web browser (be it Internet Explorer or Firefox) that has the toolbar installed, information is sent to the server indicating your IP and the page you are visiting. Such data is gathered from all the Web users who have the Alexa toolbar.

With Alexa, the smaller the numerical ranking, the better. Most people say that if you manage to make it in the top 100,000, it is a sign that your site enjoys quite heavy traffic. 

Is Alexa Ranking Worth Anything?


  • Alexa Traffic can be used as a competitive intelligence tool  but you should take into consideration the fact that its sample size of audience is too small; Just enter your competitor's site in the "Compare Sites" section and measure the results of your web marketing efforts in comparison with your competitors'.

  • As opposed to Google's PageRank, the lower your ranking number, the better.

  • It helps Webmasters and advertisers see the true marketing potential of your Web site. The better your Alexa rank, the higher they will be willing to bid to buy advertising space on your Web site.

  • Personal pages or blogs are taken into consideration and ranked in the same manner as regular Web sites. They will even get a distinctive mark (*)

  • Given that Alexa ranking offers you information about your Web site, it is a good tool to have in view of search engine optimization.
  • Not everybody has the Alexa toolbar installed, so there might be millions of Web sites that, even if they have a lot of traffic, will not be ranked (or not high enough) by Alexa. It is rather relative.

  • Many people say that it is inaccurate and that Alexa traffic can be greatly influenced (or "gamed", as some prefer to call it).

  • Subdomains are not ranked separately, and neither are subpages within a domain. The overall traffic is calculated for the top-level domain only.
Ways to Improve Your Alexa Ranking

If you want to boost your Alexa traffic ranking, you just have to follow some quite simple rules, such as:
  • Download and install the Alexa toolbar and then surf your own site.

  • Place the Alexa widget on your Web site. It will entice the visitors to check it out, and you know, each click counts.

  • Write useful, quality content, mostly webmaster-related. Promote it on webmaster forums and on social networking sites. The idea is to get as many computer and Internet savvy people as possible to visit your site, since the probability that they will have the Alexa toolbar installed is high.

  • Write posts on your blogs and articles about Alexa. You will get links to your pages that will help improve your ranking.

  • Try to get your articles on such social networking websites as , 

  • Optimize your site (or relevant pages of it) for Alexa related keywords.

  • Tell your friends about the Alexa toolbar, have them download and install it on their computers, and then tell them to visit your site.

  • Use Alexa redirect. This means placing in front of your Web site's URL. Thus, Alexa will even take into consideration clicks on redirected links even if the visitor does not have the Alexa toolbar.

  • Whenever you post on webmaster forums, include your site's URL in your signature. It is very likely that most webmasters have the toolbar installed, and there's a great probability that they'll visit your site.

As we have seen, there are pros and cons to Alexa ranking. The bottom line is that most people consider it valuable only for direct advertising. Given the fact that Alexa ranking for a site is calculated on the basis of how many visitors with the Alexa toolbar installed have visited that particular site, the results can be inaccurate most of the time. 

Nevertheless, it may prove useful for sites with very good traffic that attract highly targeted leads, since Alexa focuses more on the traffic that Web sites receive rather than on links to it. As a Web site monetization strategy, we can safely say that Alexa ranking might be the right solution.

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