Are Alexa Rankings Influential and Accurate?

Image representing Alexa as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

That’s a question I posed on LinkedIn recently. While the results can’t be extrapolated to represent all internet users, I found the answers to be quite revealing. Alexa, according to its website – “… is a useful resource for people to discover information about websites. You can use Alexa to learn how popular a site is, to find new sites, to learn who owns a site, and a lot more.”

Many marketers rely on a website’s Alexa rankings to evaluate the company behind it. In order to be ranked you must install the Alexa toolbar, so in effect it becomes a self-selected universe.

Here are the answers I received (edited for brevity).

YES

– Alexa rankings are somewhat accurate and offer limited value, yet they’re something you should keep your eye on. Due to such, install the toolbar! When potential clients contact our company and I initially review their website, one of the first things I look at is the Alexa ranking. Checking the ranking and getting a rough idea of website traffic takes no more than 3 seconds, so why not take a peek? One thing to note is Alexa rankings have hardly any (if any) influence on search engine rankings. They simply provide a rough estimate of traffic derived from SEO, PPC, social media, etc.

– The value in Alexa lies with in how it reveals your presence within that specific realm. If you’re a coder or web developer, than a good Alexa ranks tells you some valuable insights. If you’re a marketer or blogger, then not so much. As with any niche, you want to have a strong presence within a certain group your niche is targeting. Alexa is NOT a tool for determining search engine ranking or true site popularity. Alexa is valuable for instance, because it can tell potential investors or customers if your domain and site is getting good exposure among their desired audience. When trying to flip sites, sell web real estate, or just convince potential customers that you have a hold of the right audience for their needs, it can be very valuable indeed.

NO

– Not accurate, not influential…

– I did and deleted it a few weeks later as a waste of time and effort…

– Not accurate at all and not influential at all, as my post below will tell you. (Jeannette: I recommend you read this very detailed evaluation at husdal.com)

– I wouldn’t worry about it Jeannette. The only ones who seem to take note of it are the ones that need to show traffic to attract advertising, etc., for their site. You can see how inaccurate it is by just comparing the information to Google Analytics.

– Alexa is absolutely worthless unless you’re trying to flip a site, selling it to someone who believes Alexa counts for something. The system can be gamed so easily, it definitely should be relegated to the garbage bin. If you want an easy assessment tool, Website grader, as suggested previously is one route. So is using Compete, or my preferred tool, the SEOMoz authority measurement tools for domain and page.

YES AND NO

– As you may see from the other answers you received, the Alexa´s Ranking is not a very influential measure, especially if you use it as an absolute parameter. You must never forget that this ranking is made from the data harvested by the users that use the Alexa´s Toolbar as an add-on of their browsers. This amount of users is just a small portion of the whole Internet users mass. Anyway, if you are improving your ranking, you are getting more visitors, so it should be a good signal. If you use it as a complement of other tools, you are going to be ok.

– Jeannette, you can get your Alexa ranking through www.websitegrader.com. Just look at the bottom and there it is. I tried to install Alexa but it was so complicated I didn’t do it since I’m not technical. The catch with Alexa is that people who write about issues related to the web get higher rankings than you and I do even though they have fewer visitors. So it’s slightly inaccurate but still a great measure for us.

I also asked if I should install the tool bar. If companies are looking for your blog’s Alexa ranking and you don’t have one, is this damaging? Or, because it is a flawed measurement, is your ranking going to convey the wrong impression?

Would love to hear what you think in the comments section below.

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  2 comments for “Are Alexa Rankings Influential and Accurate?

  1. July 27, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Just stepping in to say thanks for referring to my post on how to improve Alexa ranking.

    It has been 100% confirmed in the year since I wrote it. Having the toolbar installed on the 3 PCs I use daily and visiting my own site every day (for editing and updating my posts, linking newer posts to older posts and vice versa) I manage to have some minimum ranking just below or above 100K. Add to that other toolbar users visiting my site (and especially that post) and lo and behold, my ranking jumps and stays well above 100k for a while.

    I’d say that not having an Alexa ranking is not damaging at all, if you are a serious blogger with good quality content. A professional advertiser will be able to see that, and is also likely to use a number of other evaluation tools than just your Alexa rank. A professional marketer will perhaps be more interested in your Twitter activity, how often your are retweeted or mentioned as a lot more influential than your Alexa rank.

  2. July 27, 2011 at 4:00 am

    Thanks, Jan, for your additional commentary on Alexa. There will always be companies that rush to see your ranking, but I agree quality content should be the aim for a blogger and not necessary writing something to get a better ranking. Interesting take about Twitter.

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