Alexa Rank

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Alexa Rank

What Is It?

Alexa.com tries to rank all websites on the internet in terms of popularity. A site with an Alexa rank of 1 means that Alexa.com perceives that site to be the most popular website on the internet. On the other hand if a site has an Alexa rank of 50,000 that site is perceived to be the 50,000th most popular site on the internet.

Notice how I keep mentioning "perceive" - there is a reason for this, which is that Alexa traffic rankings are not very accurate. This is due to the fact that Alexa.com makes all it's assumptions using data collected by the Alexa toolbar, a toolbar which some internet users have installed on their browsers. This toolbar collects information such as which sites they visit, how many pages they view etc...

Why Is It Inaccurate?

Some of the various factors that make the Alexa traffic rank inaccurate are listed below:

  • Only a small proportion of internet users actually have this toolbar installed, which means that sampling data is somewhat limited.
  • A large proportion of these Alexa toolbar users seem to be in specific groups. An example of one of these groups is webmasters. Now imagine 2 sites, 1 of which is a webmaster resource site like this site and the other a golf lessons site. Even if the 2 sites had exactly the same number of unique visitors a day, the webmaster resource site would be ranked above the golf site as more people with the Alexa toolbar would visit it.
  • A webmaster with the Alexa toolbar installed could repeatedly visit his own site to artificially improve his Alexa traffic rank.

Conclusion

The Alexa traffic rank is a very vague measure of traffic to a specific site. It should never be relied on too heavily as it is so easy to manipulate. However any site with an Alexa traffic rank of better (less) than 10,000 could be assumed to have a good amount of traffic.


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