Definition: What is the Alexa Ranking?
Summary: How-To Guide to improve your Alexa Ranking
Author: Liz Fulham, CEO of SalesOptimize
There are currently more than 173 million active websites at any one time. So how do we distinguish between the good and the bad?
Alexa, a subsidiary of Amazon, is a ranking tool ranging between 1-24,000,000 that measures the amount of traffic to a website based on users who have the Alexa toolbar installed on their browser. The closer a website is to 1, the better it is performing on the Internet. Therefore, the top websites are typically found in the 1-100,000 range. Some even say that “If you want to get anywhere online you have to get your Alexa Traffic rank under 100,000.”
Currently, these are the top 10 sites ranked on Alexa. As this is based on web traffic, the results are pretty unsurprising!
Alexa calculates traffic based on reach and page views. Reach relates to the number of visits to a site in one day, and page views are the number of times a particular URL is viewed. It is important to note that Alexa only reports on unique website/page visits, so if someone views the same website(s) multiple times in one day, only one of these visits is recorded. More information about this can be found on Alexa’s website.
Here are three reasons for having a good Alexa Ranking:
1. Investors use Alexa as a barometer to see if a business is attracting high volumes of visitors, thereby suggesting that a company could be a good investment opportunity if it has a good Alexa ranking
2. Marketers use Alexa to determine if a website has good marketing potential
3. Online publication sites may use Alexa to determine if there is a partnership opportunity to publish content on a website. This is a great way of improving SEO
For simplicity, there’s a great website I would recommend: Rranks. This is a great tool for measuring competition; you can simply upload a list of your competitors to see how they are performing – here’s an example for payment processors:
By checking this every day, you can see which websites are improving and declining. Alexa’s trend graphs are also a great way of seeing how a website is trending over time.
There is a question surrounding the accuracy of Alexa rankings, as it is possible for web bots to get around the system’s logic. “Simple plug-ins for the Firefox browser can add fictitious automated traffic hits to a website.” However, it’s also argued that these bots, or fake proxies, are not likely to make a huge dent in the ranking of the website in question.
It has also been known to inaccurately rank websites that have a huge social following. Take Vince Camuto for example: it has over 1.5 million Facebook followers, and 16,500 and 6,000 on Twitter and Pinterest respectively. However, its website ranking from Alexa is only 942,317 (October 26th, 2016); despite the website likely doing over $20,000,000 in turnover a year.
Alexa is not always regarded as an accurate tool for websites ranking outside of the top 100,000; some claim that tracking a website that’s ranking in the millions will not be very helpful in understanding how successful a company is. Nonetheless, Alexa is certainly a good indicator to determine whether a site is growing in popularity.
1. Download the Chrome Extension from Alexa – Alexa Toolbar
2. Content is key to improving the Alexa Ranking. You should plan to write between 10-12 web master quality blogs a month
3. All content must be original. Copied articles is considered ‘black hat SEO’ and seen as duplication by the search engines, ultimately lowering the organic ranking of your article on Google and other search engines
4. Publishing white papers or articles can give your website an incredible boost. Check out sites such as BusinessWire, where your articles can be picked up by international publication sites
5. A mistake commonly made is to publish content only on your own website. If you want to drive more traffic, you will need to publish on similar content forums and engage in discussions with key influencers around your areas of interest
6. Join directories like Owler. Each time you post an update, it automatically creates an alert for other users who maybe be interested in your company, and increase the exposure of your content
8. Publish articles about Alexa, and optimize the keyword density. The keyword Alexa generates more than 60,000 searches on Google.com each month
9. Ask your friends and family to install Alexa tool bar so when they visit your site, they are automatically picked up by Alexa
10. Whenever you publish articles, blogs, whitepapers, it is important to include your own website in your signature. This will help drive more traffic to your site
You may be weary of writing great content so why not engage in direct marketing as well? Talk to your customers directly and give them a good reason to come to your website. Your Alexa ranking will improve. Here’s an example: A payment processor that wishes to drive more visitors to their site just needs to check out TAMI – a disruptive e-Commerce market intelligence & lead generation online platform designed for businesses to find their future customers and download pre-qualified sales leads to their CRM.
Essentially, TAMI fills the payment company’s sales funnel directly from the Internet. The payment company can do a direct email or outbound sales campaign and this will drive traffic back to their site and help the company to win customers.
Alexa is widely used by marketers alongside Ahrefs, Compete, and other ranking tools. While it may not be hugely accurate outside of the top 100,000, this is more of a fault of the Internet which I like to call the “world wild west.” Trying to accurately rank websites from 1-173,000,000 is extremely difficult due to the ongoing changes in search engine algorithms, and the constantly changing popularity of search terms.
Alexa is great for monitoring competition, and also a website’s popularity. But a good Alexa ranking is no replacement for having visitors and money in the bank. The key metrics in measuring a business will continue to be:
Google Analytics is great for tracking visitors and, and of course, the bank account for tracking customer signup! Consider direct marketing campaigns as well to help drive both traffic to your website and revenue to your bank account.