Website rankings are important for evaluating how well sites are performing. A site that ranks highly and is SEO-friendly can bring in more traffic and more revenue, which are the main goals of many webmasters. These days, website rankings are mainly the province of search engines like Google; however, they are not the only entities that rank websites. One of the more important ranks that bloggers and other webmasters care about is Alexa Rank. In fact, some consider it second only to Google Page Rank in importance. So, what is Alexa page ranking and why should you care about it? Consider the following:
Alexa is a web analytics company based in California and has been owned by Amazon since 1991.
What Does Alexa Do?
Alexa offers a search engine along with a toolbar and a directory among their services. The company collects data from individuals who have the Alexa toolbar installed. They rank 30 million domains according to their traffic. You can see the ranked sites by clicking on “Browse Top Sites” at the top of the Alexa.com homepage. If you type a domain name into the box for traffic rankings, Alexa will show you that website’s current traffic ranking data.
The traffic is calculated based on the website’s unique visitors and page views. The term “reach” is used in reference to the mean of unique visitors and page views averaged over a three-month period.
The rankings include graphs that show the history of all the websites to which Alexa is exposed via the toolbar. Each site gets a ranking number. The lower the ranking number the better. The general consensus is that if a website is in the top 100,000, this means that it is getting a lot of traffic.
It is important to note that Alexa page ranking has nothing to do with the quality of a website, just the amount of page views and visits it gets.
Why is Alexa Page Rank Important?
The idea behind Alexa is to measure a site’s popularity in terms of its traffic. Compare this to Google’s PageRank, which uses (among other things) links from other websites as a means of assigning rank in search engine results pages. With the Google system, a site can have a high ranking in search results without getting a lot of traffic. Page rank is not intended to reflect a website’s popularity.
Knowing a website’s actual traffic numbers is useful in a number of situations such as:
- Evaluating a Website for Purchase. If you are planning to buy a website, you will naturally want to know how much traffic it gets. While Alexa will not give you information like the quality of the traffic or its source, it can provide you with an approximate idea of how much traffic the website gets. Thus, you can use Alexa along with Google to help determine the value of the site. If it is ranked highly in both, then the website is likely to be both popular and authoritative.
- Researching the Competition. You can use Alexa for competitive intelligence. In other words, you get to see your competitor’s traffic since all the information is public. Even with a relatively small sample size, it is possible to compare the effectiveness your marketing with that of your competitors.
- Earning Marketing Revenue. Advertisers may be more interested working with you if you have a lower Alexa rank number. The better your rank, the more they are likely to bid.
How to Improve Your Website’s Alexa Ranking
- Install the toolbar and surf your site.
- Create content that is interesting and useful. Focus on content that will be of interest to webmasters since they will most likely to have the Alexa toolbar installed.
- Promote your articles on social news sites like Reddit.com. Posting on the webmaster-related sub-forums on Reddit (called “sub-reddits”), may allow you to get traffic from other webmasters.
- Create content about Alexa in order to get links to your pages and thus improve your ranking.
- Use Alexa redirect. To do this, place http://redirect.alexa.com/redirect? before your website’s URL. This allows Alexa to consider redirected links even when visitors to your site do not have the toolbar installed.
- When you visit forums for webmasters, make sure that your posts have your website’s URL in your signature. Other webmasters may have the toolbar installed and may visit your site.
Alexa’s main value is for direct advertising. It does have drawbacks in that the only visitors that affect ranking are those who have the toolbar. This means that the results are often inaccurate. However, it can still be useful for a website with a lot of traffic that can bring in highly targeted leads. This is because Alexa’s focus is on traffic rather than inbound links. Alexa can therefore be an effective component of a strategy for monetizing your website.