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What is Alexa and Why Should I Care?

There appears to be two rating systems that have clout on the internet.  There are probably more, but these two keep popping up every time I look at revenue generating sources.  They are Google page rank and Alexa ranking.

Google

Most folks know about Google.  The more traffic Google sends your way, the higher your page rank.  I don’t know their algorithm for determining page rank all I know is that sometimes the rank goes up and sometimes it goes down.  I could worry about it, but worry is a waste of time.  All I can do is the best that I can do.

Alexa

There is another page ranking system called Alexa.  From what I hear, Alexa is not an accurate determination of how popular a particular site is.  A site’s Alexa rating is determined by folks who have downloaded the Alexa toolbar.  Once the toolbar is downloaded, just visiting other sites helps to improve that site’s Alexa rating.  Unlike Google, the lower your Alexa rating the better.

In essence, by downloading the Alexa toolbar and navigating within your own site technically you can help to increase your own Alexa rating.

If you want more information on how the traffic ratings are determined, go to the Alexa.com site and review the FAQ’s about the Alexa traffic rankings.  Honestly, I’m a bottom line type of gal, so I’m not too interested in the Alexa intricacies, but for you guys who want to know the 5 W’s and the H (who, what, where, why, when and how) Alexa is willing to explain it on their site.

Giving Alexa Toolbar a Try

To test this whole thing out I downloaded the Alexa toolbar (now I have another statistic staring me in the face).  The upside is that I get to contribute improve the Alexa rating on everyone site that I visit.  The other upside is I can watch daily as my Alexa rating either goes up or down (I’m not so sure of that’s an upside).

Background Noise

It’s been a few days since I downloaded the Alexa toolbar and it’s really a white background noise.  I forget it’s there and I no longer check the Alexa rating for every site that I visit.  It does come in handy, however, when I do my monthly pulse check.  At the beginning of each month I check/compare my stats to last month’s.Alexa Toolbar

I check to see if Alexa has improved, my overall monthly visitor stats and a host of other statistics (including how much money I’ve earned).  Having the toolbar makes it a lot easier to check my Alexa ranking because it’s displayed right there at the bottom right-hand corner of my browser.

A Sense of Giving Back

I like the fact that I’m able to give a little Alexa Love to those websites and blogs that I frequent.  I may not comment very often on many of the blogs that I follow, but I’m now able to quietly show my appreciation of their hard work just by stopping by and sharing my Alexa Love.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Julie - Inspired to Write May 13, 2009, 8:24 pm

    Felicia,

    This is a great tool to add to my online arsenal… you are the giver that keeps on giving!

  • AlpheratZ July 28, 2009, 8:32 pm

    Well, most of the time you provide good info, so I decided to help a little:

    Page Rank is not about the traffic, it is about the backlinks. In a nutshell, the more backlinks you have the more PR you`ll gain. I could leave a link to my blog in the comment`s title and it would increase my PR a little. But you use “rel nofollow” in your outgoing links` attributes, so this link will be useless for PR increasing.

    If you want to be higher in google`s search results then you need more links from pages with higher PR (if possible) related to your niche. Your own PR is needed only if you decide to sell links (via TLA for instance), but be cautious – Google penalizes fot that; or if you decide to transfer link juice to your other sites to get them higher in search results.

    And about keywords density. Too much density is penalized by G. The optimal density is 3-6%, or 3-4 KW per page.

    • Felicia July 29, 2009, 7:49 am

      Thanks AlpheratZ for your input.

      If Google page rank is all about backlinks, then something’s not adding up. From time to time I make mention here (and here and here ) on NJFM about one of my sites that was all but dropped from Google overnight. One day everything was going swimmingly and then the next day ‘poof’ everything was gone. When I say everything, I’m talking about Google traffic. In about 5 or 6 months everything came back (I made no changes to the site before or after the magical disappearance).

      During the ‘now I see it, now I don’t’ period of time with Google traffic, my page rank remained the same. Google then pulled the disappearance trick again. As I have checked with several backlink checker sites, all of my backlinks remain in tact so I know it’s not because suddenly my backlinks disappeared.

      Then, over a period of time after my second disappearance, I noticed that my site’s page rank went from PR3 to PR0 to PR ‘no page rank for this site.’ I again checked my backlinks and they are all in tact.

      So, from my own personal experience, I would have to question if PR is really all about backlinks.

      To date, the site in question gets very little Google traffic. I did discover, however, that there is life without Google and that site is earning nicely daily.

  • AlpheratZ July 29, 2009, 8:06 am

    I promise you :), PR is only about backlinks.

    Why did your site disappear from index… There may be many reasons for that.. From duplicate content to some errors in code. Even simple “Google Dance” (that is recalculating of G`s index and PR) may be a reason for dissapearing from index, loosing search results position or loosing PR. One more reason for loosing PR is violation of something.. You even may not know what you violate, there are many webmasters there who just don`t get the idea what`s wrong with their site and why G hates them 🙂
    Also, there may be problems with hosting.. when the bot wants access the site and can not do it – it just leaves and tells G to remove from index.

    On one of my blogs there was term “latency”. I did not find out what it means, just removed it from the code and after that pages get into index not later than in 12 hours and stay there all the time.)

    What can I say.. I didn`t face that problems.. My content is unique, I ping “Google blog search” everytime I add content, and even when I have no links back to my site – it stays in index.. with zero PR, of course 🙂

    Here I attach the link. The language is not your native but the only important info is numbers. This table shows how many backlinks you should have to get some PR. Of course it is not precise, just for common sense.
    http://lizunov.dp.ua/tag/tablica-pr/

  • AlpheratZ July 29, 2009, 8:16 am

    But if you are going to earn by traffic then you just don`t care of your own PR. You do care of many backlinks (if possible – with higher PR, but unranked pages are OK as well, just make sure they are or soon will be in index).

    • Felicia July 29, 2009, 8:36 am

      Thanks AlpheratZ.

      I’ve given up trying to figure what went wrong and why. I still add content to it from time to time, but I’ve been concentrating my efforts elsewhere.

      You do offer quite a bit of information on PR, though. Hopefully it can help prevent someone else from going through what I’ve gone through.

  • Mike Wilson December 2, 2010, 10:33 pm

    I couldn’t agree more Felicia, although Alexa’s rankings can be skewed and reflect inaccurate rankings. It still is a great tool for checking a websites traffic stats and rank.

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