Ann Voorhees BakerBlogTech Stuff For Entrepreneurs

Poor Alexa – So Many Rumors, So Much Misunderstanding

Alexa score

Do you own your own website or blog? Yes? Then do you know what your site’s Alexa score is? Do  you know what an Alexa score is?

For those of you who don’t know about Alexa rank – it’s a sort of popularity score of “best” to “worst” websites, as judged by traffic to the site, regularity of fresh content, number and quality of other sites linking to the site, and more. A site with an Alexa rank  of 1 is the “best” in the world. (Yeah, that’s Google.) A site with an Alexa rank of 900,000 is considered to be better than all but 899,999 other websites in the world. As of the date of this writing, there are approximately 1 billion active websites in the world. A rank of 2.5 million means a website is in the top 0.25% of websites worldwide.

Some argue that an Alexa score has little value because they say it’s determined only by the website visits of people who have the Alexa toolbar installed on their browser, not by how many people in general visit your site. That was true until 2008, but it is not true now, despite the fact that many people still believe it.  In 2008, Alexa announced that they were overhauling their ranking system to take into account the interests and surfing habits of the internet-using population in general, not just those with the Alexa toolbar installed.  Read TechCrunch’s article about this change, “Alexa Overhauls Ranking System.”  Greg Orelind, Senior Product Manager at Alexa, explains further on the Alexa blog in “Top 6 Myths About The Alexa Traffic Rank.”

Even if it were true that the Alexa score is still based on only the surfing habits of people who have the Alexa toolbar installed on their browsers, would that render the score valueless? Not at all. First of all, millions of people have the Alexa toolbar installed on their browsers. They are not just a handful of people. And since these are most likely the more internet savvy among the general population, and also most likely to use the internet often, it could be argued that data based on their internet activity might be more valuable than that gathered from a larger population that includes merely occasional users. More important, though, is the trending and comparative information you can glean from your score. If your Alexa rank suddenly shoots up (i.e. gets worse), you can bet that something is going awry, and it’s a good warning sign to find out what it is and fix it. If it’s steadily dropping (getting better), it tells you that you’re building traffic at a steady clip – a great sign. And if you have a competitor, you can compare your Alexa rank to theirs and get an idea of how you’re faring compared to them when it comes to traffic flowing to your site. So it’s the trending and changing of your score that’s as valuable, at least, as the raw score itself. Avangate has a good quick-to-read article about Alexa scores: click here to read “How Important Is Alexa Ranking?”

You can check how Alexa ranks your website by going to alexa.com, typing your site’s url into the search box, and viewing your score. It will display both your global score and your USA (or other country if you choose) score.

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