Posts Tagged ‘popularity’

Alexa Rank

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Yesterday, Darrell Howell published an article in Site Pro News entitled “10 free and easy ways to improve your Alexa ranking.”  This got my attention because I see very little value in Improving a site’s Alexa rank. Alexa, owned by Amazon, gives a rank to each website based on the number of visitors it recieves relative to other sites on the Internet.  Yahoo, for example, has a rank of 1 as it is currently the most visited site.

The problem with Alexa rank is that it collects data from a toolbar that only a small percentage of people have installed in their browsers. People that have the Alexa toolbar do represent a true cross section of the general public, which means that certain types of websites will have over generous rankings whilst others are underestimated.  Housewifes, for example, are less likely to have the toolbar than IT professionals, so cooking websites are likely to be underestimated. (please excuse my misogynistic stereotyping).

Alexa’s ranking technique was improved earlier this year by introducing additional sources to help collect data, but it is far from perfect and Alexa has always been prone to delivering inaccurate results.  The fact that articles about how you can improve your Alexa rank even exist is a testament to how inaccurate the system really is.  One suggested method to improve your site’s rank is to set it as your homepage so that it gets visited every time you surf the Internet.  In real traffic terms, this would be a drop in the ocean but, because so few people have the Alexa toolbar, this can actually make a difference.

Alexa still has value and still gives fairly accurate readings for hive traffic sites.  However, in my opinion, it is not worthwhile trying to artificially inflate your own rank.  Many people will not see this rank and those who do will likely take it with a pinch of salt.