Wow My Alexa Ranking is Great! Should I Trust It?

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:

  • ignorance

  • 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.

Mother Russia's Google

Jun 12th

Russia's 'Google' aims for London share listing

Russia's leading internet portal floats on the Alternative Investment Market on Wednesday in a stock market debut that will value the company at more than $150 million.

Rambler Media - the closest the country has to Google - hopes to become the latest in a series of sought-after Russian stocks listing in London. It plans to offer 3.9 million shares priced at $10.25, and use the $40m raised to help it take advantage of Russia's rapid increase in internet usage.

Interesting that many Russian companies are floating stock in other countries, and it shows how important a stable currency and political structure are.

I am not sure what the search engine distribution breakdown is like over in Siberia, but a friend told me that its fookin cold there.

Google Hijacked in their own Search Results

Google Hijacked in Google:
Official Google AdSense site bit by a meta refresh. hmm. Low quality site? more at ThreadWatch

For those who spin all the ethics stuff, do you think Google knew of the problem and was lying when they said it was no big deal? If so, is it ethical for them to tell blatent lies? If not, how is it that SEOs know more about their search engine than they do and they generally disocunt the whole concept of SEO?

Yahoo! Q Challenge:
whats up with a $5,000 prize - that surely is not much payout for the value they could create with that contest. I might need to create a similar marketing program for myself. hehehe

Exalead:
Michael Nguyen posts about some of their search features.

Novice Spam Tool:
I have not tried it, but someone promoted this site http://searchpr.info/test.php, via forum spam of course.

Yahoo! Public Site Match:
Nothing more than a PR stunt? It sure smells the part. A while ago they promoted that program a good bit, but it sure is hard to find information about it nowadays.

Masochistic Behavior:
reading IHY forums. I don't know anywhere else where a single comment can return pages about what a horrible person you are. SEO is doomed. We are all evil. hehehe

Lots of good ones in that rant thread, but one of my all time favorite Doug quote:

Most journalists I know of at least fall on one side or the other.

Another scary thing with that thread is I find myself agreeing with Glengara!

Open Source Rank Checker:
I have not tried it, but a friend pointed me to this software. I am not sure how it plays with Google, since they have been blocking some automated software.

OPD Should Close Shop?
Danny Sullivan weighs in on the ODP's recent site submission status closure.

Black Market Porn:
UK bans selling porn DVDs over the web. UK prostitution market to soar ;)

Funny:
There is a website that qualifies you and prints out your ordained ministor certification in under a minute. A person today tried to justify me giving away my business model to them because they spent the minute to print one out.

Evolution of Yahoo! Search:
article about Yahoo! creating their search service. thnx to RC

Newspapers Invest into Topix.net, BlowSearch, Google Bomb for Sale, Blog Spammer Letter, SEO Chat SEO Conference?

In the News:
Knight Ridder, Tribune and Gannett take a stake in Topix.net. With NYT recently purchasing About.com it is clear that newspapers are starting to wake up to the online world.

BlowSearch:
May have launched a new product that "blows"?

You have to respect how quickly they commented on it though. I wonder why more of the small PPC search engines are not actively monitoring their brands and replying to what people say about them.

I'm Feeling Lucky:
Google Bomb for sale. so many creative ideas come to mind.
found on SE Roundtable.

Dear Diary:
Letter from a blog spammer. As long as the algorithms require it people will do it.

SEO Conferences to become the new SEO forum?
SEO Chat is thinking about holding an SEO conference. I can't see the conference medium becoming as saturated as the forum medium with all the associated costs and constraints, but there surely are a good number of conferences.

Amazon Yellow Pages - A9 City Search

Amazon added an optical feature to their A9 search by driving trucks with digital cameras on them through about a dozen cities.

Google Theming, Gigablast Custom Topic Search, Death of SEO?

My Way or the Highway...
Dave Hawley (who is on my ignore list) recently created a thread to prove that signature links do not count. Given limited sets of data and a desired goal one can, after all, prove just about anything.

DaveN cites the thread stating that he thinks all links will help some, but that he is seeing more theming at play in Google today.

Questionable:
When you know people manipulate information systems and you need to research you should become a Skeptical Business Searcher

New Library:
Internet Archive's Text Archive project will challenge the recently launched Google library.

Search a Bunch of Sites:
GigaBlast allows you to create a custom topic search engine which searches up to two hundred of your favorite domains.

Taking Bets:
Sebastian reviews 2004, and bets that SEO firms will drop like flies in 2005. I have grown to know a good number of SEOs over the past year or so (and chat with many daily). Many come from bright business backgrounds, but it also seems to me that many of us also had exceptionally low points in our lives and looked to the web for something to do when other things did not make sense (I am definentally part of that second group).

I would not bet against the resiliency of internet marketers, especially with how fast and cheaply the web provides feedback. No matter how much search advances people will still make money off SEO services. Some SEOs will always be able to manipulate most any search results, while others will move on to other business roles.

I think niche SEO services (knowing everything about an industry or link building or directory registration or keyword research), more sophisticated SEO services (those who can instantly rank anything or know how to get around any technical problem), and more personalized SEO services (working exceptionally closely with just a few clients) will spread.

General broad SEO services for some random set fee to tons of clients will be a business model that provides less and less value as time passes and search advances.

More clients means more data, but understanding social networks and finding the key things that various web based businesses need to do to succeed longterm is not something that can scale out to work well with thousands and thousands of clients. Most base level salary workers can not do the deep analytical stuff and there is only so much that you can automate or mass produce before it loses value.

Some of the best SEOs work for a limited number of clients and share profit with companies that they help make successful. In the long run it is much more valuable to forge a few strong relationships than to spread too thin. From my experiences usually those who demand the cheapest rates also are the most likely to be bad customers in many many many other areas.

If customer SEO fees and service structure are not customly designed around what their sites need then they are:

  • paying for a package they may or may not need; &

  • probably are not getting the individual attention their business needs to succeed longterm.

Even selling things like directory registration or consulting I have fees listed on my website, but in my mind the numbers are arbitrary guidelines to qualify prospects...really nothing more. In my opinion no legit service price can be given for full quality SEO services without first extensively chatting and feeling each other out.

SEO in and of itself will not go away anytime soon, though many of the people doing it may create interesting new business models and ideas or have job positions that go by some other official name.

Then again I could be wrong ;-)

Do you think SEO is going away anytime soon? How will it evolve? Will customers learn to pay in jars of peanut butter?

Content SEO:
When I moved my other site the DNS propigated through amazingly fast (before I even had the site up - oops). My site was not up when Google crawled it and it still ranked at #6 for search engine marketing. Also here is the cache copy of the page. For competitive terms the actual page copy does not usually matter that much IMHO.

Major World Wide Search Engines

This is a list of the major world wide search engines. Major World Wide Search Engines

(Personal rankings) appear next to each search engine.
AllTheWeb - powers Lycos. Database created from Yahoo! Slurp spider. (4)
AltaVista - on its last leg. Database created from Yahoo! Slurp spider. (5)
InfoSpace - meta search engine which also powers many other meta search engines (6)
Google - powers AOL, Google...(1)
Teoma - powers Ask Jeeves (3)
Yahoo! - powers Yahoo! (2)

Web Site Software Submission Spam

Most search engine traffic comes from the top few search engines. Time spent registering a website with all kinds of small random third pary engines is just a waste of time. As hard as it may be for you to promote your own business imagine how hard it would be to promote a search engine, especially one with no technological advantage over those already in existance.

As part of my service to do good on the internet I will point out crap offers for garbage software I do not use.

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