Alexa.com is a site owned by Amazon that’s been tracking global user traffic rank data for well over a decade, the results tend to be biased towards websites with users who are more likely to install the Alexa toolbar (main method Alexa uses to track traffic data): website owners, techy geeks and nerds, you know, the people reading this article about increasing Alexa traffic rank :-)
I’ve installed/uninstalled the Alexa toolbar so many times I’ve lot count, install it because I know running the toolbar means when I visit my web sites they’ll get an Alexa traffic rank boost, then uninstall it because it adds no useful features I use.
Shame they don’t provide frequent install Alexa toolbar miles :-)
The Alexa traffic rank is based on Internet traffic to a website, more visitors a site receives higher the traffic rank, BUT it is far from accurate, it’s highly biased data and very easy to manipulate.
Alexa.com do not have access to all traffic data (they aren’t Google :-)), it’s equivalent to a large survey or poll and as you know poll results can be biased based on how the poll sample is generated. Originally Alexa traffic rank was based only on Alexa.com visits and Alexa toolbar usage data making it extremely biased towards sites webmasters visit.
Pretty obvious who is going to install a toolbar that tracks traffic data, webmasters, geeks and nerds. Only reason I’ve used the Alexa toolbar is to gain an Alexa rank boost. I’m writing this Alexa article (April 2014) is because this site is relatively new and it’s Alexa traffic rank is relatively low (132,000) and until a few hours ago the toolbar was NOT installed on my computer.
You can see from the Alexa traffic rank graph above when I started to add content to this site, was in February (2 months ago). Before then the site had a few articles about the Stallion Responsive Theme, but nothing that would generate traffic. Since then have added over 100 articles and you can see it’s impact on Alexa rank.
I plan to work on this site for at least several months building new content etc… so makes sense to install the Alexa toolbar as this site will gain an Alexa boost from my visits. If I stop working on my sites for a while (have had to in the past due to health issues), I’ll uninstall the toolbar until next time.
Alexa.com changed their traffic rank algorithm to take into account other data sources (not a clue what they are?), so it’s no longer just Alexa.com and toolbar data, but from my own experience it is obviously HEAVILY biased towards websites with a tech/geek/nerd niche.
Alexa Rank Boost
I have a couple of joke/humour sites that are far more popular than some of my SEO niche sites, yet I’ve had SEO niche sites with Alexa ranks in the top 50,000 on modest traffic, but the humor sites languish well outside the top 100,000 sites: one of my popular joke sites 750,000 Alexa traffic rank with 10 times the traffic of this new site with an Alexa rank of 132,000 on April 23rd 2014 (no bias there to the SEO niche!).
Alexa traffic rank data is based on the past three months visits, since it’s April 23rd as I write this, this sites Alexa rank is based on data between January 23rd and April 23rd 2014. I started adding significant amounts of content to this site in February (most content is well under 6 weeks old) and it takes time for a new site to rank well, for the entire 3 months my rank is 132,000 (see image to right), but viewing the Alexa Traffic sites page for this site shows over the past few weeks there are days the traffic rank is in the top 50,000 to 100,000 (this is before I installed the Alexa toolbar, so no manipulation: top 40K most recent, today).
This is on relatively modest traffic numbers (hundreds NOT thousands of unique visitors a day), this is a new site, assuming nothing goes wrong it’s probably another 6 months before I see serious Google traffic that sees this site generate thousands of visits a day, but this Alexa rank is so biased towards webmaster traffic (pretty much all my visitors, AKA you) the numbers are WAY above my far more popular joke site (which has 10+ times more traffic).
You can install an Alexa toolbar for Firefox, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.
When installed it will track the websites you visit giving Alexa access to your valuable online usage data (that’s how they make their money) and giving the sites you visit an Alexa rank boost: now you can see why it’s easy to manipulate).
As a website owner there’s multiple benefits to increasing a sites Alexa rank, especially webmasters in a niche like SEO where other webmasters in the same niche know Alexa rank exists.
To illustrate my point just asked my wife (who runs websites that are non tech based) “Do you know what the Alexa rank is?”
Her response “No, what the hell’s that?”
Anyway, benefits of high Alexa rank are it suggests your site is popular, has no SEO ranking value, won’t directly increase traffic, won’t directly make more money. But…
Some webmasters looking to exchange links look at your Alexa rank.
Some text link ad sellers use Alexa rank as part of their link pricing structure.
When selling a website some buyers will look at your Alexa traffic rank.
Some advertisers looking to buy banner ads or guest posts use the Alexa rank to determine popularity, they pay more for high ranking Alexa sites.
Though Alexa traffic rank is easily manipulated and has no real value it has value because some webmasters believe it has value :-)