Friday, May 8, 2009

Alexa Traffic Rank

There are many ranking systems that measure the popularity and the quality of websites and blogs. Google Page Rank, Alexa Traffic Rank, Compete and mozRank are some examples of such systems. There are some other ranks such as the Technorati Authority and BlogCatalog Rank, which are more focused towards blogs. This post will take a look at the Alexa Rank which has established itself as a popular and reliable website ranking system.

The Alexa Traffic Rank is derived from the website traffic data collected from millions of Internet users who have installed the Alexa Toolbar and also from other traffic sources. These data are analyzed over a moving three month period and therefore, the rank on any given date is based on the traffic data during the past three months.

The traffic rank is a combined measure of a website’s reach and page views. The reach is the percentage of all Internet users who visits a given site. If a website has a reach of 1%, it means that out of all users who browsed the Internet, 1% has visited that site. Page views are the total number of pages viewed by the visitors to a given site during the period of statistics calculation (i.e. three months).

The popularity of a site is inversely related to the rank number. A site with a lower rank number ranks better than a one with a higher rank number. In other words, the closer a rank gets to #1, the better that site is. Alexa considers the top 100,000 sites as the special ones out of the zillions of sites on the Internet and getting included in that list is quite an achievement.

The Alexa rank has gained a reputation as an important yard stick in measuring the value/worthiness of a website or a blog. This is especially important when it comes to website advertising. A site with a higher rank can enjoy better ad pricing among the advertisers and ad networks. If you are concerned about monetizing your site, then keeping an eye on, and working towards improving, your Alexa rank is a prudent thing.

Like most measurements, the Alexa rank is not a perfect gauge of the quality/popularity of a site. The sample size used by Alexa (which is several millions according to them), may not be representative of the entire Internet population. The Internet World Stats sites reports that, as of March 31st 2009, the total Internet users have gone beyond 1.5 billion! A sample of even 1% of such a massive population amounts to more than 15 million users. But, in the absence of perfect data, Alexa rank works as a formidable measure.

The rank of The Blogger Guide as of today is 430,987 and is nothing much to write home about. However, the three month change (i.e. the difference between the rank three months ago and that of today) shows a gain of over hundred thousand, which is a positive sign. This gain is in accordance with the growth in traffic seen over the same period.

For more information, see this FAQ page on the Alexa website and this good article on