There are a lot of questions circulating around the Internet in regards to how Alexa tracks traffic, how Alexa rankings work and how they impact your SEO rankings (or don’t). I set up this page to give full details on Alexa and whether it is worth having to help build your online success.
Alexa rankings display several metrics. These include Alexa traffic rank, Traffic Rank in the United States, and Sites Linking in.
Alexa gets their rankings from the Alexa Toolbar, which people install into their browsers. It basically tracks your activity around the Internet, the websites you visit, and how often you may visit a site.
This is where they get the majority of their data from, so they really do have a minute set of data to work with. Only a small fraction of people actually have the Alexa toolbar installed (unsure estimates of say around 15-20 million downloads…many of these no longer active), with a good deal of these being people that are Internet marketers who are also trying to track their Alexa rankings.
Along with that, they claim to get data from “other” unknown sources. Believe that if you want…
Another concern is the fact that the toolbar is considered to be “adware” by MacAfee while Symantec, another major anti-virus program considers the toolbar “trackware” because of the nature of how it works (it tracks and stores all of your web activities). If you have it installed, rest assure that all of your activities are being tracked and the data you are using it for really is deemed quite useless, because it is not real traffic data.
Increasing Your Alexa Ranking?
It is quite easy to manipulate your rank within Alexa.
You are wrong if you think the most obvious way would be to get more traffic to your website to increase your Alexa rankings.
More traffic does not equate to higher traffic rankings in Alexa. I did a comparison in the past between two websites in order to validate all of my assumptions about Alexa over the years (that it was not very helpful to online success).
In my test, the first Website was getting 15,000+ unique visitors per day, and the second Website was getting just over 3,000+ uniques per day. In other words Website A was getting 5 times the traffic of Website B, yet the Alexa rank had Website B getting double the traffic within their reporting!??
Alexa ranking data is completely irrelevant towards actual traffic. The correct way to get higher Alexa rankings is to get more people to visit your website that have the Alexa toolbar installed.
I am not going to go into details, but based on my first point there are very few data triggers that Alexa has to work off of that are not publicly available. They have no access to ACTUAL website data (only the owner of a website has access to actual traffic stats).
Due to the fact that the traffic data they use is based on their toolbar, they will continue to be incapable of providing you with accurate traffic reports.
Checking your Rank In Alexa
If you are wondering where to go to find out your Alexa rank, you can actually do this directly through their website, or you can install their “adware” toolbar (not recommended).
Again, don’t get deeply wrapped up in your rank within Alexa. It won’t help you in any way knowing your Alexa rank, nor will it be a sound indication of how your website ranks compared to others out there.
An important metric when determining your SEO effectiveness is to find out where your website ranks in Google. There are tools that can scan Google’s search results and tell you where you are ranked (what page you are on) under specific keywords.
If you want to find out what page you are ranked on in Google, I recommend that you use Jaaxy.com.
Is it Worth Buying Alexa Ranking Package?
There are many different services Alexa will attempt to sell you. You will see something similar to this in the Alexa sidebar menu.
I have personally tried these services (Get Certified Metrics) for testing purposes and can honestly advise that you would be buying into an empty offer.
The “Get Certified Metrics” is a service where you have to pay to give Alexa your accurate data. They should be paying you for this. There is absolutely no value from doing this and you would be wise to save your money.
Relation Between Alexa Rank and SEO
It appears that most people have been misinformed as to how Alexa works and what is Alexa’s purpose. Some individuals go around the Internet boasting an Alexa score as some sort of indication as to how well a website ranks in Google or how it reflects their website success.
However, Alexa rank has no correlation to SEO and how well a site gets indexed. So if someone tells you that Alexa means something and tout it as a reason to join their service, you should think twice before joining.
Secondly, Alexa offers Web Analytics toolkits for $149 per month. This service is a complete waste of money if you have Google Analytics (which is free). As a matter of fact, the Alexa Advanced Plan will offer you inferior data to what you can get with Analytics and Webmaster Tools, both free services offered by Google.
If you want to get SEO help, the best thing you can do is to learn about it yourself and there are services out there that can help you out with this. If you want to get help with your rankings in Google, you can get started with some REAL education. Get rolling here!
I hope this has provided some clarity to everything Alexa, and if you do have anything in addition to add, any Alexa experiences or any questions about any of this content, drop me a note below and I will be more than happy to discuss it with you.