What Is Alexa Rank And Why Does It Matter?
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When it comes to building a successful web site or blog there are many ways to track how well you are doing. Some people will focus on traffic, revenue or even Google PageRank, but many people also like to look at the Alexa ranking.
Not to be confused with Amazon’s Alexa, Alexa Rank predates the proliferation of smart speakers and not by a little either. Read on as we explain what Alexa Rank is, how it works, and how it can be of use to website owners.
What Is An Alexa Score?
Alexa is the service that tracks all of the web sites on the internet and assigns them a ranking based on various factors such as traffic, incoming links, social sharing and many other stats you might be looking at as site owners.
Alexa is currently ranking over 30 million web sites world wide from over 125 different countries. For most web site owners, it’s usually a big deal when you break into the top 1,000,000 on Alexa, but the real treasure is when you get in the top 100,000 sites.
When I first acquired BloggingTips.com a few years back it was in the 12,000 range, then I found myself not being able to dedicate as much time to the site as I would have like. At the high point it fell to around 18,000 on Alexa.
Once you get in the top 25,000 rankings of Alexa, it’s much harder to rank higher and very easy to fall back. In 2013 I made it a goal to get back into the top 10,000 Alexa (for whatever it’s worth), but it’s more of a personal goal than anything else. The best way to do this is through quality articles that get shared, linked and commented on.
You can see an Alexa ranking chart for BloggingTips.com to the right over the past two weeks. It’s nice to see that the blog is continuing to rank higher every single day. Special thanks to SiteRankHistory.com for the stats.
Through March the blog was able to jump another 1,000+ up in the Alexa rankings. It will be interesting to see how quickly the site continues to rank, as it will continually be harder to rank among authority sites and blog.
Does Alexa Score Matter?
Before we jump into the tips for how to get better Alexa score rankings, let’s first ask the question of does Alexa really even matter?
In so many words… no, it’s doesn’t matter! While it’s an awesome way to keep track of your site performance, it really doesn’t mean much. Alexa is just a score and at the end of the day it doesn’t mean much.
I actually have a few sites in the 1 million+ and few hundred thousand on Alexa and they are making almost more money than BloggingTips.com, so it’s definitely not a good way to measure the financial value of a site.
However… metrics are king and ad companies and businesses love stats. If your site is ranking in the top 10,000 on Alexa, you will probably get a lot more notice from ad companies and services looking to advertise or work with your site.
Alexa is a fun way to rank and track the performance of your site, but at the end of the day it really doesn’t mean much.
Quick Tips to Improve Your Alexa Score
Now that I’ve upset everyone by saying Alexa doesn’t matter, let’s talk about how we can increase your score anyway! (haha).
Below is a list of some of the most well known and effective ways to improve the overall traffic, quality and growth of your site while improving your Alexa rank at the same time.
I’m not doing anything special or amazing to continually increase the BloggingTips.com score, it’s all based off growing the site and my audience.
Install the Alexa Toolbar
I personally don’t use the Alexa toolbar, but there has always been a lot of talk about how effective it is to get people using the Alexa toolbar to browse your site. Obviously since you are visiting your site the most, and if you have the Alexa toolbar installed, then the toolbar will track a lot of visits to your site.
This is one of the many reasons why tech and webmaster related sites rank so well, many of the site visitors have the Alexa toolbar already installed since they are interested in the stats it can provide.
Claim Your Web Site or Blog
Over the years Alexa has grown into much more than a ranking system, they now offer advertising through their site, toolbar and advanced tracking for paid members.
Another great way to increase your Alexa score is to claim your site using their system. Doing so will allow you to:
- Easily update your site’s contact information
- Update your site’s title and description
- Respond to user reviews of your site
Place the Alexa Badge on Your Site
Again, Alexa loves getting all the attention. If you use their toolbar it will help your rankings… claiming your site will also help, and so will pushing their badge on your site.
There isn’t much detail on how much this will actually help, but if you love Alexa and want to show your ranking to the world, you might enjoy using this feature anyway.
Get Reviews for Your Site on Alexa
Again, not sure of the importance or value, but having reviews for your web site does go a long way with many directories and services.
When logging into your Alexa account you can leave reviews for other web sites and blogs on the internet. You can see in the screenshot below you can see the Alexa review option.
Link to Alexa within Your Blog Posts
It never hurts to link back to Alexa within your content, as this will lead to more people finding out about their toolbar, downloading it and visiting your site, while also allowing Alexa to see that they are getting backlinks from your site.
The Biggest Alexa Score Ranking Factors
Update Your Blog Often with Quality Content
As mentioned, I’m not worrying about any of the methods used above, all I really care about is growing out the site with quality content that provides value to my audience, gets them to share the content and link to it from their site.
The better the quality content on your site and as long as you are posting on a consistent basis, this will greatly help in your mission to increase your alexa score.
Don’t forget to always link to other content from within your articles and don’t spin articles or create garbage backlinks… this doesn’t help anyone at the end of the day and could also get your tossed out of the Google search engine.
Increase Your Social Reach and RSS Syndication
As less more are using the search engines and more people are relying on social networks, this should also be a major focus of yours. Make sure your blog content is being spread across Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You should also create a fan page for your blog if you haven’t already.
Even though Google Reader is going away, rss syndication and your blog update feeds are still going to be an important method for distribution and link building to your site.
Over To You
There are many ways to increase your Alexa score and some work better than others. Be sure to share your opinion and tips in the comments section below.
The Analytics Tool
Bought by Amazon back in 1999, Alexa Rank is a website ranking system that lists sites by popularity using web traffic data. It has millions of sites in its database, which can be useful for tracking how well your site is doing among the competition. Since Alexa Rank also tracks website statistics in relation to others, it might be valuable in assessing the performance of a site.
How Alexa Rank Works
Alexa rankings are, in essence, estimates of web traffic based on a sample of users who have the Alexa toolbar installed in their browser. The toolbar monitors browsing behavior on a quarterly (three months) basis and uses this as a sample to form an estimate of internet traffic in total. An Alexa ranking of a website is then calculated using the estimated data both for the site traffic and for user engagement.
Another way Alexa Rank can monitor these values is if the website installs a special Alexa script that will produce direct measurements. These are later combined with global data and filtered through statistical models to come up with more accurate metrics.
Alexa rankings are recalculated and updated daily.
What Does Your Ranking Mean?
If you own a website, you’ll probably be interested in getting the best ranking possible as determined by analytics tools – including Alexa Rank. Besides the basics covered above, here are some key points to understand about your ranking.
Alexa rankings aren’t calculated for subpages or subdomains – only the top domain traffic is considered. For instance, traffic is measured for example.com, but not for example.com/page or subdomain.example.com. This is important to consider when building the site since most other analytics tools also measure the top domain by default, and subdomains must be set up additionally.
There’s a difference between site visits and unique visitors. Measuring unique visitors refers to the number of distinct individual users who viewed your site, while site visits are the total number of times that a page on your site was seen. Site visits are measured per visitor in a 30-minute time frame, so if the same visitor views the page within half an hour it is counted as a single visit.
Less specific than these two is the pageview statistic, which simply counts how many times your page was viewed or refreshed.
Your Alexa ranking might fluctuate in ways that seem counterintuitive. This can be because the ‘data panel,’ which is the number of users who have Alexa toolbar installed, is growing, so the measuring sample is getting larger. Since you obtain a ranking relative to the traffic of other sites, more information brought by a larger data panel might shift your site up or down the list. This doesn’t mean your site is doing better or worse – it simply indicates that the data is more accurately shown.
How to Improve Your Alexa Ranking
Your site’s ranking is a more or less accurate representation of how well it’s doing in a competitive environment, so ways to improve the ranking are the same as ways to increase traffic. Here are some useful points to bear in mind.
Pay attention to your content. Make it engaging, original, and always up-to-date. Quality content will create a steady base of loyal customers and attract new ones. It can also give you an edge when it comes to search results since Google and other reputable search engines tend to promote trusted sites and better content.
Make use of inbound and internal links. If you can get an authoritative site to feature a link to your page, it’ll result in increased trust for your site. It can also make search engines produce more results leading to your site and making that connection more often on relevant searches.
Different from the previously described inbound links, the internal ones are those that lead from one page on your site to another. These are valuable in keeping visitors engaged, and they can also appear as site links in search results.
Using links is tightly connected with the quality of content; for inbound links, it should go without saying that no respectable site will host them unless they lead to a page their visitors will find interesting and valuable. The same goes for internal links – the pages linked won’t keep anyone’s attention if they’re not filled with engaging and relevant content.
You should be aware that links should be used appropriately, as overcrowding your site with them can lead to lower credibility and even be penalized by search engines.
Analyze the marketing strategies and keywords your competitors use. This is a pretty straightforward principle and should always be employed in a competitive online environment.
Create and use a good SEO strategy. SEO is, without a doubt, a very important component of achieving the best possible site traffic – it will take some learning and planning, but the effort is very much worth it!
Is Alexa Ranking Important?
Every analytics tool can provide valuable information on how your site’s doing, so you should take note of your Alexa ranking. Keep in mind, though, that as far as analytics go, some tools offer wider and more detailed insights. Google Analytics is a prime example, setting a standard Alexa Rank has yet to reach.