Not to be confused with Alexa from Amazon, Alexa Rank precedes the spread of intelligent speakers, and not a bit either. Read on as we explain what Alexa Rank is, how it works, and how it can be of use to website owners.
The analytics tool
Purchased by Amazon in 1999, Alexa Rank is a website ranking system that ranks websites by popularity based on web traffic data. The database contains millions of websites. This can be helpful in keeping track of how well your website is doing against the competition. Since Alexa Rank also tracks website stats in relation to others, this can be helpful in assessing a website’s performance.
How Alexa Rank works
Alexa rankings are essentially estimates of web traffic based on a sample of users who have the Alexa toolbar installed on their browser. The toolbar monitors surfing behavior quarterly (three months) and uses this as an example to create an estimate of the total Internet traffic. A website’s Alexa ranking is then calculated using the estimated data for both website traffic and user interaction.
Another way Alexa Rank can monitor these values is to have the website install a special Alexa script that generates direct measurements. These are later combined with global data and filtered through statistical models to get more accurate metrics.
Alexa rankings are recalculated and updated daily.
What does your ranking mean?
If you own a website, you are probably interested in getting the best possible ranking determined by analytics tools – including Alexa Rank. In addition to the basics outlined above, here are a few key points you should know about your ranking.
Alexa rankings are not calculated for subpages or subdomains – only the top domain traffic is taken into account. For example, traffic is measured for example.com, but not for example.com/page or subdomain.example.com. This is important when creating the site, as most of the other analysis tools also measure the top domain by default and also have to set up subdomains.
There is a difference between site visits and unique visitors. Measuring unique visitors refers to the number of unique users who viewed your website, while website visits is the total number of times a page was viewed on your website. On-site visits are measured per visitor over a period of 30 minutes. So if the same visitor views the page within half an hour, it will be counted as a single visit.
Less specific than either of these is pageview statistics, which simply count the number of times your page has been viewed or updated.
Your Alexa ranking can fluctuate in ways that don’t seem intuitive. This may be due to the fact that the ‘data field’, i.e. the number of users on whom the Alexa toolbar is installed, is growing, so that the measurement sample becomes larger and larger. Because you are ranked relative to traffic from other sites, more information provided by a larger data field can move your site up or down the list. This doesn’t mean your website is doing better or worse – it just indicates that the data is being displayed more accurately.
How to improve your Alexa ranking
The ranking of your website is a more or less precise representation of the performance in a competitive environment. So ways to improve rankings are the same as ways to increase traffic. Here are some useful points to keep in mind.
Pay attention to your content. Make it appealing, original and always up to date. High quality content creates a constant base of loyal customers and attracts new ones. It can also give you an edge in search results as Google and other reputable search engines tend to promote trustworthy websites and better content.
Use inbound and internal links. If you can link an authoritative site to your page, it will increase trust in your site. It can also cause search engines to get more results that lead to your website and make that connection more often on relevant searches.
Unlike the inbound links described earlier, the internal links go from one page of your website to the next. These are valuable for motivating visitors and they can also appear as site links in search results.
The use of links is closely related to the quality of the content. For inbound links, it should go without saying that no reputable website is hosting them unless they lead to a page that their visitors find interesting and valuable. The same applies to internal links – the linked pages will not attract anyone’s attention if they are not filled with appealing and relevant content.
You should be aware that links should be used appropriately, as overcrowding your website with them can result in lower credibility and even be penalized by search engines.
Analyze the marketing strategies and keywords your competitors are using. This is a pretty simple principle and should always be used in a competitive online environment.
Create and use a good SEO strategy. SEO is without a doubt a very important component to getting the best website traffic possible – it takes some learning and planning, but it is well worth the effort!
Is the Alexa ranking important?
Any analytics tool can provide valuable information about how your website is working. So make a note of your Alexa ranking. Note, however, that some tools provide broader and more detailed insights when it comes to analysis. Google Analytics is a prime example of the fact that a standard Alexa rank has not yet been achieved.