What is an Alexa ranking

The truth about Alexa rankings:

The truth is that they hardly mean much at all. People are very confused when it comes to the truth about Alexa and assume it is a measurement of site traffic. First you need to know that there are certain sites that will always have higher rankings than others because of the niche they are in. Alex rankings are based purely on visitors who have an Alexa toolbar installed in their browser. Thus a site about SEO will most likely have a visitor base of users who have the toolbar installed. Yes I know even the Guru’s get it wrong side up sometimes.

Obviously a website in other niche’s are at a bit of a disadvantage because even if webmasters know that an Alexa rank doesn’t mean much, we still like to keep track of it and other statistics. I have personally seen on two of my own domains how one with more traffic has a higher Alexa ranking than the one, which gets more traffic. With Alexa, the higher rank number means less traffic (supposedly). Admittedly there is a flaw in how they track this but it does give us a good idea of estimating website popularity.

Google owns Alexa, and as you would have guessed Google has the number 1 ranking. Rankings are also shown country specific and with a global ranking. They have attempted to show which search terms bring in most traffic but if you have Google webmaster tools and Analytics installed on your website, you will know this is a feeble attempt.

Where Alexa does come in handy is when a site starts ranking in the top one hundred thousand. This opens up new statistics for those sites like audience age, browsing location, education etc.… Again we have to wonder how accurate this data really is and how they know this information.

Recently it has only been necessary to have a plugin within your browser for it to register as a hit with Alexa, and installing a plugin does not require users to fill in this data. My guess is that like with most SEO services online they are simply trying to make some money while delivering statistics, which are not accurate. So, if you are a Webmaster, who is keeping a close eye on that Alexa rank, you should know there are more important things to keep an eye on and improving on your websites.

To prove that Alexa is nothing more than a gimmick I took some screenshots of a niche website in my portfolio. The first image shows the Alexa page for this site that claims 92% of visitors come from South Africa and the second is a screenshot of the Google Analytics for the same period. Obviously my own visits are affecting the ranking, which to me is enough proof.

Alexa Statistics Summary Page

Alexa Screenshot

Google Analytics

GoogleAnalytics SnapShot

I hope this post has shed some light on Alexa for you.

This is a guest post from Josef, an experienced Blogger and Internet Marketer. Josef writes at  I Earn Online and various other websites.

The following two tabs change content below.
I am Sue Bride, a Professional Blogger, Web Developer and Internet Marketer from the Mornington Peninsula, Australia. Here I talk about tools and resources for Blogging, Social Media, Networking, Wordpress, SEO, Images and Marketing. I create Wordpress sites for charity and small business.
Categories Promotion and SEO

7 Comments

  1. Susie
    Posted February 28, 2013 at | Permalink

    Interesting, although as so many people still use Alexa as a measure of how popular a site is do you think they are likely to revisit those with a good ranking?

    • Posted February 28, 2013 at | Permalink

      A higher ranking pretty much means a better site, so I would assume the higher the ranking, the more likely someone is to revisit.

  2. Posted March 5, 2013 at | Permalink

    I look at the pr, alexa and the websites’ contents as well. There are plenty of new websites which have quality contents, their pr is still low, but that is not a reason for you not to consider linking to them.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at | Permalink

      Hi Rachel, yes if the quality of a blog is good then there is no reason not to link to them or leave comments there. We can all help good blogs become more widely recognized this way. Our own blogs only get penalized if we link to poor and spammy content.

      If it were not for the kindness of a well known blogger I would not have done so well. Her own content was great and I visited and commented regularly. My blog was quite new but she added my link to her blog roll and I she got me started on the way to becoming much better known.
      Sue Bride (Sueblimely) recently posted…What is an Alexa rankingMy Profile

  3. Posted March 6, 2013 at | Permalink

    Hey there Sue, great Blog. I agree the Alexa means not much. But I do find it a good way of telling just simply how popular your website is, but the proof is it doesnt always take much to help get over the high numbers if u just try a little.

  4. Posted March 27, 2013 at | Permalink

    I am also agree with this answer.
    According to Josef’s article, the Alexa and google analytics may confuse the analytic system in web page ranking, although they evaluate a specific page in different perspective. I appreciate as he can figure out this real fact of PR.
    Thank you.

  5. Posted May 3, 2013 at | Permalink

    Thaks Josef !!! Here you are ice blog sharing about the Alexa Rank.Alexa Rank is a related dimension on how popular a site among the Internet.The Alexa rank is one that refers to the amount of traffic a site receives.
    LoyCuminn recently posted…WHQL TestingMy Profile