3. Off Page Optimisation
Article #3.3

All about Alexa Rank

Humans have, for long have been stuck with numbers. One reason is that it helps them to compare and contrast aspects that are important to them. When it comes to digital marketing and Websites, it’s no different. Alexa ranking is another number which can help the webmasters in comparing the value (in terms of traffic) of their websites to that of their competitors. Not really sure about what exactly is Alexa rank? Read on to know more

Source: Techgyd

What is Alexa Rank?

Alexa ranking is a ranking system formulated by Alexa, which is a california based subsidiary company of Amazon, that specializes in providing commercial web traffic information acquired through various toolbars and web browser extensions.
Basically, Alexa rank is a metric that ranks websites on the basis of their popularity over a period of 3 months. This ranking system audits and calculates the frequency of visits on websites. The algorithm that they use for the same is pretty simple. It is based on the amount of traffic recorded by the Alexa toolbar installed over a time period of 3 months.
The parameters used to measure the traffic are ‘reach’ (number of Alexa users visiting a site in a day) and ‘page views’ (number of times a particular page or URL is viewed by Alexa users).  
Although, if a particular user visits the same page multiple times on the same day, it is counted as a single visit.
The final ranking is obtained by calculating the geometric mean of reach and page views, averaged over a period of 3 months.

So, how does the mechanism of Alexa rank works?

As mentioned above, the rank is calculated using the combination of average daily unique visitors and the average page views on the website over a period of 3 months. Hence, the website which has the highest number of combination of the above two metrics is ranked #1. 
This data is acquired from a subset of internet users who use one of the 25,000 browser extensions for Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet explorer etc. The algorithm then looks out for the potential biases and amends it for compensating for the visitors who are not included in the Alexa’s measurement panel.    

How can I view my Alexa Rank?

This is pretty simple and straightforward. Go to Alexa’s official website. Go ahead and type your full domain name and hit Find.
There you go! Your global rank as well as your country specific rank is right in front of you. Scroll down and get additional information on bounce rate, daily page views per visitor, daily time on site, which keywords send the most traffic to your site, which sites did people visit immediately before coming to your site, list of sites link to your website and even your page load times. Trust me, there is a lot more to explore in it. 

Is alexa rank worthy enough to give attention?

Well, I would say not much! But, of course, you can always get an idea as to, ‘how well is your website performing’ through the alexa ranks. You can also analyze your competitor’s performance through a quick peek at their alexa rank and get a rough idea of how popular is their website in relation to yours. However, just because the alexa rank of your competitor is better than yours, you cannot deduce that they receive more traffic as this system has a lot of loopholes which will be discussed below. 
I would suggest to rather go with Google Analytics than to attributing significant importance to your alexa rank.
However, it is totally up to you. For your convenience, I have jotted down a few good and a few negative points about the same. Go ahead and analyze for yourself

The Good side of Alexa 

  • You can easily compare your website with that of your competitor’s by entering the ‘Compare Sites’ section and measure the results of your online marketing efforts with that of your competitors.
  • It displays the web marketing potential of websites to webmasters, advertisers (the better the alexa rank, the more they would be willing to bid on the amount for buying an advertising space on your website) and users. 
  • Personal pages, blogs etc are also ranked in the same way as regular websites. Sometimes, they even get a distinctive mark (*).

The Loopholes in Alexa

  • Alexa ranking is a relevant rank. But, not every website has a Alexa toolbar installed. So, there might be a lot of websites, who might be receiving a good amount of traffic but, are still not ranked. Hence, the relative alexa rank that you are getting might not be solely correct.
  • Sub-domains are not ranked separately. The overall traffic is accounted for the top-level domain only. 
  • The sample size of audience that they use is too small.
  • It is inaccurate and can easily be gamed or influenced. Wondering how? Read the next section to know this.

Looking forward to increase your Alexa? Here you go!

  • Install the Alexa toolbar and then surf your site.
  • Write quality and valued content. Keep it concentrated towards mostly webmasters. After writing, promote it on various webmaster forums (always include your URL in your signature) and social networking platforms. The logic behind this is to get as many internet savvy people to visit your site (because they are likely to have Alexa toolbar installed on their websites).
  •  Write blogs and articles about Alexa. It will help in getting links to your pages, ultimately improving your rankings.
  • Reach out to the people you know, have them to install Alexa toolbar and ask them to visit your site. 
  • Optimize your site for Alexa related keywords.
  • Put the alexa widget on your website. It is likely to provoke the users to click on it and check what is in there, ultimately giving you a link.
  • Be active on social networking websites and post your articles on Digg, Stumbleupon etc.

On doing the above, you will automatically see an increase in your alexa ranking.

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