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
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.