In the past I did not write in my ebook about somethings I did not care for much. I never really mentioned Alexa because I did not view it as a big deal. An epiphany hit me that I should state why I did not care much for Alexa stats.
Over the last few days my Alexa has doubled from around 13,400 to around 6,800. Wow I am great. Not really!
If you looked at my actual server logs you would see that traffic has been fairly constant over the past week with only a small uptick in traffic of about 5 percent. Why the huge increase in Alexa rankings then? More new webmasters using the Alexa browser finding my site. The three things that helped boost the number of new webmasters reading this site are:
- mentioning the hidden links on FT - WebProNews linked to my site
- my site ranking for Corey Rudl's death, and his friends recently putting out a newsletter saying he died
- About.com WebSearch recently listing my blog as a top SEO blog
Many new webmasters get information from each of those channels. Just a few people from each browsing my site with an Alexa toolbar caused the rankings to nearly double, which is a huge change on a logarithmic scale for a site in the top 10,000.
Traffic has not changed much, sales are about the same, and if you looked just at Alexa things would look a bit brighter than they really are.
Here is what I recently wrote in my ebook:
Alexa is widely tooted as a must use tool by many marketing gurus. The problems with Alexa are:
- Alexa does not get much direct traffic and has a limited reach with it's toolbar
- a small change in site visitors can represent a huge change in Alexa rating
- Alexa is biased toward webmaster traffic
- many times new webmasters are only tracking themselves visiting their own site
Why do many marketing hucksters heavily promote Alexa? Usually one of the following reasons:
- if you install the Alexa toolbar and then watch your own Alexa rating quickly rise as you surf your own site it is easy for me to tell you that you are learning quickly and seeing great results, thus it is easy to sell my customers results as being some of the best on the market
- if many people who visit my site about marketing install the Alexa toolbar then my Alexa rating would go exceptionally high
- the marketers may associate their own rise in success with their increasing Alexa ranking although it happens to be more of a coincidence than a direct correlation
A lower Alexa number means a greater level of traffic, and the traffic drops off logarithmically. You can fake a good Alexa score using various techniques, but if it shows your rankings in the millions then your site likely has next to no traffic.
Alexa by itself does not mean that much, but it simply provides a rough snapshot of what is going on. It can be spammed, but if a site has a ranking in the millions then it likely has little traffic. It is also hard to compare sites in different industries. For example, if I created a site about weight loss there would be many more people searching for it than a site about knitting. Also, you shouldn't forget the webmaster bias the tool has, which means my site will have a higher Alexa rating than it should.
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