The Importance of Your Site’s Alexa Rank

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Why is the Alexa ranking of your website or blog so important?

How reliable is the Alexa ranking system?

According to Alexa, they gather web traffic statistics from web surfers who have installed the Alexa Toolbar, or from website pages that display an Alexa Widget.

This means, that visitors to your site that do not have the Alexa Toolbar installed will not contribute to your ranking unless you address this by adding a simple to install graphical widget to your website’s sidebar, header or footer. This way, when any of your sites pages are visited a request is made to Alexa’s system to retrieve your site’s current rank and at the same time Alexa will record the request as a qualified visit to your site and your Alexa rank will be adjusted accordingly.

All Alexa ranks are based on the preceding three months traffic data collected and an average trend rank is calculated when comparing this data against all other sites contained in the Alexa database.

The trend rank of any site is calculated according to the following criteria:

1. Reach – the percentage of global internet users who visited the site.

2. Pageviews – the percent of global pageviews the website received

3. Pageviews/user – a calculation of the pageviews per visitor to the site

4. Bounce rate – the percentage of visitors to the site that closed the site after visiting only a single page.

5. Time on site – an average calculation of the time spent on the site by each visitor

6. Search percentage – the percentage of visits to the site that were referred from a known search engine.

Alexa have recently stated that its toolbar has achieved over 10 million downloads worldwide, but I am unsure as to the duration this claim refers to. I am confident to assume that a very large percentage of toolbars will remain installed are being installed and therefore continue to contribute to the accuracy of the Alexa ranking system. But, this does however highlight the need for webmasters, who wish to gain the best rank possible, to install an Alexa widget on their sites.

Although not everyone in the web development industry believes that Alexa is a reliable popularity ranking system, Alexa (an Amazon company) remains at the forefront of the website ranking world and receives worldwide recognition of this. I recently searched Google with the keyword “website ranking”, and the results were clear. It was Alexa.Com who was at the top of the search results.

In contrast to Google Pagerank systems, the lower a site’s Alexa rank number, the higher the rank is. Google operate a system in reverse where a higher number indicates a higher rank. At the time of writing this article, Goole ranked no. 1 on Alexa’s Top Sites list, closely followed by Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo.

But, with all this said, what does having a high Alexa rank do for your site?

Your site’s rank is very important for recognition and website monetization. Many website flipping businesses use Alexa to assist when making a calculated decision regarding the financial potential of a website on the open market. There are also websites that provide website value estimations, and once again a website’s Alexa rank is used when making their calculations. Businesses such as these feel that the Alexa rank to be a very useful tool in determining the overall popularity of a site and in turn the potential financial viability of the site.

A high rank could imply high traffic and this often attracts advertisers when looking for potential advertising space. For those looking to move into the affiliate marketing industry, a high rank is often required by product and service sellers before they allow membership to their affiliate programs. This way they feel confident that their products or services are being advertised by sites with good traffic and therefore a good reputation. Websites with lower ranks are often rejected.

Tracking the movement of a site’s Alexa rank is a very important practice for any web developer or blog owner. By keeping a close eye on the movement of the rank in relation to changes made to the site, a web developer or blog owner can make informed judgements on the effectiveness of changes or additions to the site and then act accordingly. But Alexa.Com does not offer tracking facilities to any websites that are ranked over 100,000 and as a result the only way to track changes has been to visit Alexa.Com every day to obtain the results yourself and record them in your own way. Perhaps as a spreadsheet or in a note book. A Google search of the term “Track Alexa” can provide some great tools for doing this for you.

In conclusion, although a million or two Alexa toolbar users and Alexa widgets cannot give us an exact ranking on the popularity of every website currently being served to the world wide web, the information Alexa provides can give us a basic idea on the general traffic a site receives and where the traffic is mostly being referred from. Alexa rank is important to any website because it provides recognition, increases the potential of monetization and provides important information that will help web developers improve the quality of their sites by improving the sites visitor experience. So tracking your site’s rank is exceptionally important.

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