Numbers, Rankings, and Why I Think Alexa Is Big a Waste of Time

by Marcus Sheridan

alexa ranking is stupidAs I sat down to write this post this evening (or should I say this morning as it’s 2:12am in Virginia as I commence writing), I noticed my little Alexa toolbar had reached another major goal I had set for myself well over a year ago—after 18 months of blogging, my traffic ranking had dropped below the ‘magical’ 50k. Wow, what a milestone, right?

Wrong. These days, Alexa rankings mean very little and are practically a waste of your time. In fact, I feel no magical difference at all now that I’ve reached this new number, as TSL looks the same today as it did yesterday. Hmmm, crazy, isn’t it?

It’s funny how so many of us, especially when we first get started with internet marketing, focus on our Alexa ranking. For those of you unfamiliar with how Alexa (AR) works, here is a quick definition , but just know that the lower your ranking number is, the better (similar to first vs second place), and is supposed to indicate higher traffic.  But I was reminded of Alexa’s ‘issues’ recently when Patricia from Lavender Uses wrote an article entitled, “Alexa, Have I Upset or Offended You?” It was a funny article, tongue and cheek really, but still it was pretty insightful as to how Alexa works, or better stated, doesn’t work.

Alexa Makes Little Sense

In Patricia’s case, she was wondering why, after reaching a solid number of 65,000, her ‘ranking’ had begun going in the wrong direction. She was getting more traffic than ever. She was (as always) getting tons of comments from other bloggers and visitors. But yet that little Alexa was not cooporating, and had gone back up to 80k.

I’ve seen this odd phenomena again and again over the last two years on a variety of websites in different industries and so I left Patricia the following comment:

I’ve read most of the comments here Patricia and just wanted to make a few small points:

My swimming pool company has an Alexa of 230k. The Sales Lion has an Alexa of 53k. Which gets more traffic? My pool blog does, by far.

The problem though is that many pool shoppers don’t use (Alexa) the tool bar, but compared to other pool companies, it’s the lowest Alexa (ranking) in the world as far as pool builders are concerned– which means it’s awesome.

The way to judge your AR Patricia is by comparing it with those in your industry, then you’ll get a true gauge. (at least a better one)

And why did you lose 15k? The answer is because as Google started showing you up in the search engines, and as regular folks (without the toolbar) came over to buy your products, they actually hurt your Alexa score, if you can believe that. Originally, your low score was reflective of a community of a bunch of bloggers that use the toolbar. Now it’s a reflection of a mix– bloggers but also lavender consumers.

To paint the picture further, if I’m looking at Google Analytics, TSL usually gets between 350 and 500 visits a day (this is rising quickly ;-) ), and its AR is 49k. My River Pools website gets about 1500-2000 visits a day, yet it has a ranking of 235k. Make sense? No, of course not, which is why it really has to be looked at only as a gauge, not as gospel, and certainly not something that you lose sleep over as an entrepreneur and business owner.

Further Odd Comparisons

But even in the same field Alexa can get pretty wacky. Take for example Mark Schaefer’s blog {Grow}. Currently, Mark’s AR is right at 48k. So, for the average onlooker, one would assume his site gets just a slight edge in traffic over TSL. But in reality, Mark gets wayyy more traffic on his site. I’m not sure exactly how much more (feel free to let us know Mark ;-) ), but I can assure you it’s a good bit. Considering we’re both in similar fields, this again shows that Alexa is just a gauge, and sometimes not very  accurate.

Allow me to use one more example as well. One of my favorite ‘sales’ bloggers is Paul Castain. His blog, other than being funny and hilarious, gets huge traffic and has tons of subscribers. But if you were too look at his ‘meager’ Alexa ranking of 339k, many would wrongly assume he didn’t have the amazing community and traffic that he does.

Stop Caring So Much about Alexa

My point here is simple folks. Stop losing sleep over Alexa. And why should you not care?

Because Alexa will never give you money.

That’s right, for as long as you’re in the business of making money (ie marketing) from your website, I can assure you that our friend Alexa will not flip you a single penny.

These days, I could care less about AR. Ingrid Abboud and I were chatting about this just the other day. I was teasing her a little because months ago she wrote an article that discussed her goal to reach ‘X Alexa ranking by such-and-such date‘. But 6 months later, Ingrid is now at a different place with her blog, and she no longer sweats silly numbers that mean squat when it comes to community, success, and bottom line.

I share these exact same sentiments. While I used to be obsessed over my lovely friend Alexa, I now simply don’t care. It is what it is. And until Alexa starts leaving comments on my blog, chatting with me on Skype, or paying me for services—I’ll just let her ‘rank’ me however she’d like, and let the real results speak for themselves.

Your Turn:

OK, so be honest—How much do you really care about your site’s Alexa ranking? What patterns, if any, have you noticed with your site over time? And finally, how do you feel about ‘numbers’ in general? Important or not so much? As always, I’d really love to hear your take, and feel free to disagree too!!

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{ 165 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Davis May 20, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

I am not concerned with numbers like those (at least not yet) sometimes ignorance is bliss.

I am more concerned with engaging with my audience and getting comments. Page views matter a lot to me. :)

I feel like things like rankings will matter more in the near future, but at this stage, I do everything I can to keep my spirits up. I try really hard not to compare myself to other blogs. When I do that I start feeling inferior for no good reason.

I am the only blogger I know asking the question “Are YOU an Emotional Chicken?”

So there!

I love your posts Marcus, but what I love to observe most is how much your audience loves you. That is what I want more than any other thing.

Thanks!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Hey Nancy, I really appreciate you stopping by to share this. I think your approach is exactly the way it should be. Whatever you do, DON’T compare yourself it others, as it’s the quickest route to unhappiness and frustration as a blogger. When it comes down to it, you’ve got to do your thing, no matter the traffic or numbers, and hold the course. Look forward to seeing you do this Nancy.

Have a great weekend.

Marcus

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Jim Connolly May 20, 2011 at

Your points about Alexa are absolutely correct, Marcus.

Just a handful of regular readers, who have the Alexa software installed, can generate a massively over-inflated ranking for a site.

Many web design/social media blogs have extremely good Alexa rankings, purely because their readership is massively more inclined to have the software installed than a more typical web user.

Conversely, a genuinely busy site like http://www.riverpoolsandspas.com/ with a more typical readership, shows fewer visitors.

My only issue with Alexa numbers, is that many organizations use that (almost meaningless) number in their ranking formula. AdAge, for example, use the Alexa rank of a site as part of it’s formula.

I think people are becoming more aware of the bullshit that is Alexa.

Posts like this one REALLY help.

Thanks for fighting the good fight, my friend!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Amen Jim, you’ve nailed it here man and I completely agree that AdAge needs to chuck the entire AR from their equation, in fact, it’s long over due and there are certainly other more accurate indicators of a sites.

Great to see you stop by Jim and hope you have an excellent weekend!

Marcus

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John Sherry May 20, 2011 at

Confession time! I don’t give a hoot about Alexa traffic and site visitors and blog subscriber numbers Marcus because it’s all too easy to be hood winked into chasing figures rather than writing what matters to you. I know I would have the most awful business plan and my planned projections would be pretty unfathomable but you don’t always have to follow the usual tick box blogging development. I’d rather write for no-one and be happy than chase numbers and lose all the enjoyment I have. Alexa is a nice name but a waste of space to me. Good on you for flagging it up and taking a stand. The only number I like is I for ONE love what I do and no ranking good or bad will ever change that. Maybe one day someone might create a satisfaction index cause I might be right up there on that!!!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Satisfaction Index….now that’s an idea John! I tell ya man, the blogosphere, and bloggers in general, would be much happier if everyone shared your amazing perspective. You really get the big picture and I’m so impressed with your general approach to blogging and life.

Thanks for being so dang awesome John Sherry!!

Marcus

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Peggy Baron May 20, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

Right on!

At this point in my online life, I really don’t care about my Alexa rankings. The numbers I do watch are my traffic numbers.

Otherwise, I care about a lot of things that don’t involve numbers (thankfully, I was never that good at math) like providing good content, or at least entertaining content, helping people out, earning an income, etc.

Peggy

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Good for you Peggy. I think your perspective is absolutely where it needs to be, and focused on the essentials– people, satisfaction, and finances. I’m with you 100% lady! :-)

Have a wonderful weekend Peggy!

Marcus

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Benny May 20, 2011 at

To be honest, I’ve heard of people writing about Alexa ranking and trying to get it lower but I never felt the need to work on it. You’ve made great points for me to really not worry about it. I’ve read a lot of blogging tips from the A listers and none of them has once talked about improving your Alexa ranking.

So thankfully I never was interested in it and have focused my time and efforts on content and community!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Good for you Benny in that you really seem to have your head and focus in the right place. I’ve seen bloggers actually brag before about how they were able to better their Alexa score and I can remember thinking, “And why should anyone care???”

It’s always great to see you stop by Benny. Thanks so much for the support.

Marcus

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Thomas May 20, 2011 at

An Interesting post Marcus. I guess I learned something new today :-)
Statistics is fun but it is also just numbers and sometimes it fools us. I am quite a sucker for statistics, but I do pay way more attention to Google Analytics that I do to Alexa. Alexa can’t really teach me much about my blog, only if I am moving forward or not (and it seems that I can trust that either). With Google Analytics I can learn so much more. Today e.g. I found out that for the month of May I have had visitors on my blog from 65 different countries. That kind of information is a much more interesting than my Alexa score that are about 575K at the moment.

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Like you Thomas, I do enjoy statistics and analytics. And I’m not the guy that says analytics don’t have worth, because I think they certainly do. Personally, I enjoy watching trends and seeing how different articles do well and others do not and trying to understand why. I think as long as we’re not obsessing over visits each day and don’t get depressed if we go down a little, then looking at GA can be great.

Really appreciate you stopping by Thomas, and hope you have a great weekend. :-)

Marcus

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Fred Leo May 20, 2011 at

Marcus,

I completely agree that Alexa ranking is a waste of time. The vast majority of browsers do not use the Alexa toolbar, so it is a really bad measure of traffic.

But, I will go one step further. For many business bloggers, traffic numbers are also not as important as we make them out to be. If you are in a coaching business or consulting business, like me, I don’t need 100,000 visitors a month to make a living. I need to work with 20 people a month. Therefore, if I am targeting the right people, I can make a living off of much less traffic.

I think that is really important for bloggers and online business owners to realize. This mindset shift can really have a profound impact on your revenue.

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

GREAT point Fred. Traffic, for the sake of traffic, is worthless. Conversions is really the only number that means squat and puts money in the bank account. Take twitter for example— they’re still not profitable. Can you believe that!!?

Really appreciate you stopping by and sharing this Fred. Keep up all your great work, I love watching you grow.

Marcus

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Stuart May 20, 2011 at

I’ll be honest with you Marcus, I’ve looked at my Alexa ranking once, and no more. That was a while back, and I’m sure it’s changed for better or worse since then, but I just can’t be bothered.

You recall my interview with Bryan Thompson? I talked about how my only goals for Unlock The Door were to reach more and more people, and to consistently produce quality content. That’s it. I don’t need anything else.

I remember looking at my site view stats one day, and noticing a dip by about 40% over a couple of recent days. Was I bothered? No, because the connections I’ve helped to make haven’t been affected by this dip. I’m still talking with people, regardless of how well my site does in terms of numbers. That won’t change anything.

It’s what matters with the people Marcus, not by the numbers. I’m happy with the amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing these 5-6 months of blogging, and I don’t intend to let that slide :-)

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Stuart May 21, 2011 at

Actually, that should read “7-8 months of blogging”, turns out I can’t count ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Your growth and maturity as a blogger has been exceptional over the last 6 months Stu. You’ve moved past the stage of ‘numbers’ and moved into the stage of measuring true ‘connections’ . That’s dang awesome brother and I hope you only continue to espouse such a powerful paradigm.

Cheers bud, and have a great weekend mate,

Marcus

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Bruce Bates May 20, 2011 at

Alexa is now and always has been a joke, unless you are targeting a very niche range of people pr if your site gets in the top 20% of websites online.

Anyone who really thinks alexa matters, look into what the following software does, and laugh to yourself knowing just how many blackhat marketers are out there showing false trends and nonfactual traffic statistics.

http://digital.net4truthusa.com/rankenhancer.htm

I do not suggest investing in this waste of time software or alexa at all, the only people who really care about it, are the ones who want to sell advertising space. The only reason they care is so they can point out to potential customers how well they rank.

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

You’ve nailed it Bruce, as you typically do—it’s a waste of time and a ‘bragging’ gauge, but nothing more really. Awesome explanation you provided in the article as well bud.

Your support is great Bruce, and I’m absolutely thrilled to have someone with your knowledge base in our community.

Marcus

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Bruce Bates May 23, 2011 at

I am not sure what I was thinking when I made this first comment. What I meant to say was, alexa is useless and a joke, AS A TRAFFIC GAUGE.

As you are aware by now I am sure, I am an affiliate marketer and an network marketer. As an affiliate marketer, alexa is a most useful of useful tool, but not for measuring traffic. Alexa has a LOT of REALLY useful features.

For example, as an affiliate marketer nothing is more useful then knowing what the hot topics are. and what the hot products are.

http://www.alexa.com/whatshot

Such information can tell an affiliate marketer exactly what products to focus on at any given time. There are a few other spots that make alexa very powerful for an affiliate marketer. However, the problem is, this same info can be had elsewhere. Google themselves readily make hot searches available. Because of this, alexa has taken a serious decline in just how useful it is. Once upon a time, there was nothing better, these days however, its nearly obsolete.

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Dino Dogan May 20, 2011 at

As others have pointed out, if you want to rank well on Alexa make sure you have a website that caters to people who install Alexa toolbar. THAT is how Alexa determines its score. In fact, if you installed Alexa toolbar on your computer, you could skew the score yourself. Which is why webmasters install/uninstall the bar so as to not skew their own rating.

So what sites have a high Alexa ratings? The type of sites that provide useful info to webmasters. CSS, design, javascript, etc.

Nuf said?

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Nuff said is right Dino, so many people manipulate their Alexa and it’s down-right ridiculous, plus, like you said, the numbers are grossly scewed towards ‘techy’ audiences.

Have a great weekend bud…btw, why aren’t you coming to blog world man??

Cheers,

Marcus

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Dino Dogan May 21, 2011 at

Im in AZ atm…..would have def come if I was in NJ (my “normal” place of residence)

But no worries, we’ll have our own Blog World pretty soon :-)

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paul wolfe May 20, 2011 at

Marcus

I wouldn’t say a COMPLETE waste of time. Just mostly a waste of time.

I have half an eye on AR for two reasons: it gives me a rough idea that I’m making progress. For example two months ago my AR was 600,000 or so. Now it’s up to 160,000 or so.
And the consequent traffic stats in Analytics confirm that visits are up.

And the other reason is that articles like this give me a very rough guide of what kind of traffic to expect in terms of daily visits at some time in the future when – and if – the growth in traffic continues.

So now I can say that an AR of approx 50K will equate to 300 to 500 daily visits. And know that for me that this estimate won’t be far off.

But there’s NOTHING that I do that ever tries to influence AR. I have my own plan, and I’m settling into a publication schedule. And I’m commited to delivering my plan as it’s envisaged. Irrespective of AR ranking.

So the information is of mild interest. But nothing to get excited about. That make sense?

Paul

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Actually Paul, that makes a ton of sense. I don’t fault someone for using it so as to have a ‘feel’ for where their site is, especially in comparison with others or competitors, it’s just the obsession that some have that is where the problem lies, along with the supposed seo ‘experts’ that like to yap at how they increase Alexa, which is crapola. Personally, I have the AR toolbar showing at the bottom of my screen all the time, and thus I’m actually seeing it everyday, but at this point I just don’t have any emotional connection with it, if that makes sense.

Thanks for adding your thoughts Paul, have a great one buddy.

Marcus

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Tisha | tMedia May 20, 2011 at

You know, I have come full-circle with this issue. With my first blog, I didn’t care a wink about rankings, traffic, analytics, etc. – mostly out of ignorance. Then I got “schooled” by all the other mom bloggers in my niche and I have to admit I went a little crazy with the numbers – installing the Alexa bar, checking stats everyday, several times a day – and then it all started to feel so shallow. Plus your points about accuracy are quite right. That mom blog I had didn’t get a lot of traffic consistently, but its ranking was always hovering around 100k which kinda baffled me.
So now, after starting over, I feel I’m doing things the right way – the way I should have continued in the very beginning – focusing on the writing, regularly publishing quality content that I feel passionate about and building solid relationships.
You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that would you Marcus? ;-)
Thanks for always keeping it real, as always!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

This was such an interesting story Tisha. When you say you’ve come ‘full circle’, you’re not kidding, and it’s neat to hear your perspective. It’s funny how focusing so much on numbers and things like AR can really suck the life out of inspiration and one’s writing. I’m glad you’ve found the right balance and hope that this go round brings you the results you’re hoping for.

Have a great Saturday Tisha!

Marcus

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Lye Kuek Hin May 20, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

Well said in the post. I can’t remember when was the last time i did a check on my Alexa ranking. It just doesn’t affect us in many ways right? As you said, a low Alexa ranking is not equal to high traffic.

I seldom see any bloggers installed an Alexa toolbar in their blogs now and that underline the Alexa influence is diminishing. The blogosphere has evolved to the time when networking and relationship rules. Having a low Alexa ranking doesn’t determine whether we become a loyal reader or not. Your content and networking does.

All these numbers and ranking should not be causing us to lose our focus. Instead of finding ways to raise our ranking, we should rather spend the time on how to increase our traffic. And i agree AR is completely a waste of time.

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

This was cool Lye– how you talked about the ‘shift’ that has occured from numbers to relationships. In fact, I think we’re just seeing now the evolution and it’s going to develop much more so in the coming years.

Thanks so much for your support and comments Lye, I really appreciate it.

Marcus

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Rohan May 21, 2011 at

Alexa is certainly not something to die for , it does not translate into more sales or more money in anyway , neither does it influence SERPs so its not worth fretting over alexa rank .

I think the rank depends on the ratio of people who visit your website with the toolbar installed to those without the toolbar . Naturally when SERPs improves the ratio goes for a toss and that is why the ironic increase in alexa rank (the number) with increase in traffic . In the first two months of blogging I was receiving 250~350 daily hits when Alexa rank was improving my a few thousands daily and had reached the 50k mark . Now that my SERPs have improved after the panda update and traffic has increased to 850~1000 daily , alexa seems to be increasing daily .

I have had same experience with my design blog which gets about 300k impressions monthly and alexa keeps fluctuating between 26k~27k and there are blogs with far less traffic sitting in the 10k alexa bracket ….

The only place where alexa plays an important role if any is while flipping websites and selling banner ads .

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Hey Rohan, wow man, I can tell you’ve certainly had some experience in the AR arena, and I’m so glad you’ve taken the time to share these examples. And your point about flipping websites and selling banner ads is dead on as well.

Thrilled you stopped by Rohan and hope you take a walk through these parts again in the future. ;-)

Marcus

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Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker May 21, 2011 at

Marcus,

I think writing good content takes care of Alexa ratings. We know when we write something that will touch people in positive ways. This beats a Alexa toolbar any day.

Alex

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

It sure does, doesn’t it Alex? When I hear people talking about their Alexa I sometimes want to say ‘That’s nice, but tell me about the people you’re helping’.

Speaking of helping people Alex, thanks for doing all you do bud. :-)

Marcus

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Keith Davis May 21, 2011 at

Hi Marcus
Never bothered with Alexa – don’t even know what a good score would be.

I do check Google Pagerank using the Google toolbar and number of inbound links using Google Webmaster tools.

I also take a peak at Google Analytics once in a while.
Lots of interesting info there.

Looks as though I can kick any thoughts of checking Alexa into the long grass.

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

I actually have a tool bar that shows me practically everything Keith. PR, alexa, and just about every metric in the book. As a person that works with companies to develop a web presence, it’s nice, but boy do some people gets nuts over that stuff. Honestly though Keith, why do you care much for PR? That’s even worse than AR because at least AR is constantly changing, giving you some type of anticipation ;-)

Good to see you Keith, as always bud.

Marcus

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Keith Davis May 21, 2011 at

I know Marcus, it’s a bit like a comfort blanket.
Got to have my pagerank to cling to.
I’ll check in at rehab after the weekend. LOL

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

LOL Keith! ;-)

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 21, 2011 at

Okay, I’m going to be honest, even if it makes me look like the idiot in the room: I check my Alexa ranking every morning.

I don’t put a lot of stock in it, or care very much, but I do like to see it dropping bit by bit; it’s encouraging, and as a beginning blogger, I need all the encouragement that I can get!

It’s not a time-consuming thing; it takes 15 seconds out of my morning, just like checking my other stats. And I know that it means very little, if anything at all. But I still like watching it drop. :)

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Keith Davis May 21, 2011 at

Hi Danny
Guess we stick with what we know.
You’re an Alexa man – I’m a Google pagerank guy.

And if I’m being honest… I check my pagerank every day, but keep that under your hat. LOL

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 21, 2011 at

Oh, I check my Pagerank too – it just doesn’t change often enough to be very gratifying! :D

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

I do understand what you’re saying Danny, as positive reinforcement is certainly nice when you’re trying to grow a blog and community. As I mentioned to Keith, I have some extensive analytic toolbars that are always showing on my screen, so whenever I’m logged in PR, AR, and loads of other stuff. As a guy that loves statistics, some of it is fun, but my biggest message here is that Alexa simply can’t be trusted and no one should ever lose sleep over it or base their success on it. At the same time, if it help you, then awesome.

Thanks for your amazing support Danny. Take care bud.

Marcus

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 21, 2011 at

Oh, for sure – and you’re right, I know that it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just a little extra bit of encouragement. :)

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Shonali Burke May 21, 2011 at

Personally I think Alexa is a bit of a waste of time as well. The problem is that clients, particularly those who are not very adept at the way the social web & online works, want to see numbers to justify one’s outreach… hence the use of Alexa, etc., as ONE of the metrics to explain why we’re reaching out to so-and-so. It’s something I try not to push, though, because it’s so unreliable. Ditto with Klout, but I won’t get started on that…

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Amen to that Shonali. Teaching a new client about AR or PR can be the biggest mistake a consultant ever made, and it causes so many people to ‘miss the mark’ with their marketing that it’s sad. And good point too about Klout.

Looking forward to meeting soon in NY! ;-)

Marcus

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Sarah Arrow May 21, 2011 at

Love this article Marcus.
Often stats don’t reflect on things like community (community here is fab) and fails to calculate the interaction.
I’m inclined to throw all analytical measuring tools in the bin, as soon as I reach the 50k mark on Alexa *rushes off to install toolbar* ;)

My goals have always been simple ones, write what makes the phone ring. Write what people would like to subscribe too. I read a lot of other blogs and I wonder if they are perhaps too simplistic? I do know they are fairly easy to keep.

A dear friend of mine swears that if something has an algorithm it will be manipulated by the users to their own advantage. What are your thoughts on that? Can Alexa be gamed?

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Hey Sarah! (I think your avatar rocks btw) Your friend seems like a smart person. No question Alexa can be gamed, especially do get it around 200k. It gets more difficult the lower you go, but just by installing it on your own toolbar it can go down, and then by adding content often it will also go down—without a single visit to the site.

You’ve got some great goals Sarah, no question you’re on the right track. And thanks so much for your kind words regarding the community here. I think it rocks too ;-)

Marcus

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Hajra May 21, 2011 at

Hey “Lion”!
I did read Patricia’s post a few weeks back and was surprised. I am pretty new here and going by the frantic need to climb the Alexa rankings I thought it was a pretty big issue. Though the number of readers to my blog keep increasing, Alexa doesn’t show a similar increase and even if I miss posting for two weeks at a go, the ranking keep getting better…so it was confusing at first and I thought I needed to do something about it. But now, you make a good point, it doesn’t determine pay…so why bother!
Thanks for an informative post. Goodbye Alexa, we aren’t going to treat you as special as we did before!

Have a great day!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Hey Hajra! Great to see you, as always. :-) I’m glad you’ve found out early on that Alexa means nothing in terms of success, and so you can keep your focus on the stuff that matters most. :-)

Again, thanks for coming by Hajra and I hope your blog is growing like you hope!

Marcus

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Davina K. Brewer May 21, 2011 at

Since we’re all in ‘honest’ and ‘confession’ mode here’s mine: I am a crap marketer sometimes which is to say I hadn’t even HEARD of Alexa or her rankings until a post or comment by Paul called it to my attention.

I’ve installed the little analytic thing in the header, taken a peek and am back at What. Ever. For reasons you’ve outlined Marcus, these measurements are flawed in that they ‘count’ what they do but the algorithms and metrics don’t take into account so many variables never mind quality vs. quantity, etc. Been debating a similar issue with Klout, same thing.

I do like seeing my PageRank email, as it gives me analytics I wasn’t bothering to check, but like Tisha and John.. I’m not going to write or blog or tweet to curry favor with some arbitrary tool of measurement. That said, I do get the need or intent of having a ‘standard’ some benchmark by which we can track and compare, but still.. these are woefully inadequate and I got better things to not do with my time. FWIW.

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

How did I know you were clearly not the type of person to care a minute about Alexa Davina ;-)

As someone with clients, it’s actually a really good thing that you don’t ever bring it up, otherwise you’d be getting them started off in the completely wrong direction, and not focused on the essentials, which,as we’ve all come to embrace, is relationships and community. ;-)

Looking forward to dinner ;-)

Marcus

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Davina K. Brewer May 23, 2011 at

It’s good to know about such things… even it’s just to know they are not worth worrying about, knowing to put resources elsewhere. See you in Atlanta. :-)

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Eugene May 21, 2011 at

I’m not g0onna lie, I used to check it obsessively when I first got started until I realized it meant absolutely NOTHING! I noticed the inaccuracies you’re talking about and most of the time the Alexa rank just isn’t accurate at all. And doesn’t really add any value.

That being said, I have to admit that every once in a while I’ll still check it just to see progress and eventually have a bragging point. It may not mean anything, but I bet it feels good breaking 50k doesn’t it? :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Haha Eugene! It’s funny, I used to think that when I reached this and that ‘goal’ I would have this amazing feeling. But truth be told, it really does feel the same. Same with comments. I used to literally dream about getting 100 comments on a post. Now it happens all the time, but it doesn’t honestly ‘feel’ any different. I’m still this dorky guy in my basement, often times wondering how all these people showed up to my site. ;-)

You rock Eugene, thanks so much for your support.

Marcus

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Eugene May 21, 2011 at

Why thank you :)

Maybe you’re right. I’m in no position to account for how different it feels, if at all …yet. I’ll get back to you when I’m there. :)

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Gini Dietrich May 21, 2011 at

Alexa who? I’m only concerned with two things: Beating Danny Brown and getting in the top 10 of AdAge. As long as I’m #9 and he’s #10, I’ll be happy.

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

Ha Gini!! Now THAT’S an admirable goal!! :-)

See ya soon lady ;-)

Marcus

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Eugene May 21, 2011 at

Haha. Where’s the like button?

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Brankica May 22, 2011 at

The comment of the year :) Love it!

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Frank Dickinson May 21, 2011 at

I couldn’t even tell you my Alex rank right now for FrankDickinson.me.

The numbers I focus on are all about community:

New Subscribers via email or RSS
New Commenters I see frequenting the blog (usually derived from New Subscribers)

If these numbers are on the upswing – I’m cool as the breeze.

Great stuff Marcus!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2011 at

I’m diggin your metrics Frank, and I’d say that if there is a number that concerns me, it would be subscribers and private emails from readers (along with clients!! ;-) )

Thanks so much for stopping by Frank, hope you have an awesome weekend man.

Marcus

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Devesh @ Blokube May 21, 2011 at

Marcus,

I don’t care about alexa and even don’t know the rank of Blokube. I think it is a big time waste. I would rather spend my time on building a community then wasting hours on alexa toolbar, widgets, adding alexa rank tool etc.

Great stuff, Marcus. Thanks for sharing.

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Marcus Sheridan May 22, 2011 at

Great point Devesh, and it appears you’ve got the right perspective. Tell me though, if you wouldn’t mind, what Blokube is? I’ve seen it but really don’t know.

Best,

Marcus

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Devesh @ Blokube May 23, 2011 at

Marcus,

Blokube is based on concept of Digg but it is more a social networking site. It offers a place for bloggers to mastermind, to connect, to exchange ideas, to interact and to network with other bloggers & marketers.

It’s all about like minded individuals getting together to share valuable, quality content, but that’s just the beginning.

You may want to visit our About page & site help page.

Have a powerful day, Marcus.

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Tia Peterson May 23, 2011 at

Hey Dev – I am loving the new gravatar! So nice to see your face.

Cheers,
Tia

P.S. Sorry for hijacking the comment, Marcus.

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Devesh May 23, 2011 at

Tia,

Glad you liked my new avatar. I’ve been thinking of getting sketch or anime avatar of it.

How’s life treating you these days, it’s been so long since we talked last time.

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Hijacking is ALWAYS allowed Tia ;-)

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Bill Dorman May 21, 2011 at

Hey buddy, I think you answered my question. If I don’t have the Alexa toolbar then I would raise your score by stopping by. I see what people talk about, what measurements they think are important, etc so it’s not foreign to me; but not really important to me either. Therefore, I don’t need to worry about what it’s doing.

It’s interesting because I did check out Paul Castain and his latest post. He was talking more about sales and just being himself, but that’s where I’m at in this arena; just being myself. Maybe it doesn’t always allow me to be as efficient as I can at times, but it serves me well in other areas.

Hope your weekend has been going well and whatever measurement has the most meaning for you is going in the right direction. Take care….

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Brankica May 22, 2011 at

Bill, I think you should install Alexa toolbar on every browser you ever use and keep visiting us as much as you do, especially stay longer to comment etc… just to get the numbers up :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Awesome idea Bran!!!

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Marcus Sheridan May 22, 2011 at

Hey Bill, good to hear from you sir. I’m glad you went to Paul’s site. The guy is a sick writer and sales guy with such a fun twist. And yes, he’s just himself, and that’s why I think you’ve been so successful as well. But also, I think this article was good for you because it is a subject you’re going to be dealing with the less and less ‘invisible’ you become. ;-)

Thanks so much for stopping by and your support bud.

Marcus

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farouk May 22, 2011 at

can’t agree more,
i know a friend who gets 1/5 the hits my website get yet his alexa rank is almost 5 times better than mine :D

When i investigated i found that blogs that has more US visitors rank better in alexa because the alexa tracking bar is mostly downloaded by US citizens

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Very good point Farouk. The US component can really screw up the algorithm. Well said.

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Brankica May 22, 2011 at

Alexa ranking is only “important” to blogs about blogging, because bloggers are the only ones that know about it and think a blog is better if it has lower Alexa rank. “Normal” people have no clue what it is and don’t care.

My blog is at about 33K now and the rank went down as traffic climbed, so it shows that it is kinda connected.

But my niche site has doubled in traffic since the Panda update but the Alexa went up (or worse).

I don’t sweat over it and I am glad to see better numbers, but I know I can’t do anything about is so….

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Marcus Sheridan May 22, 2011 at

Hey Bran! I actually thought about you when I wrote this article because your Alexa is so low on your blogging site, and such a fact has always impressed me. But your other example is perfect– traffic improves while Alexa gets worse– that sure doesn’t make any sense.

Thanks for stopping by lady, which you were coming to NY!

Marcus

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Mark Harai May 22, 2011 at

Hi Marcus… Well, I have to admit, I’ve never been called a goof-ball before; but you called it correctly – I don’t pay attention to any of it.

Aside from being a dufus and not knowing about tools that every blogger should know about, I just enjoy the community of friends I learn from and support everyday. That’s pretty much does it for me and it’s very rewarding and fulfilling time spent.

Granted, I’m not trying to generate money directly from my blog the way many folks do, however, I have done plenty of projects with friends I’ve met in the community and that’s how I measure my success.

I must admit though… I can understand the draw numbers can have on folks. I’ve visited Alexa at least a dozen times since you asked me for those stats. It’s crazy.

Cheers Marcus : )

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Marcus Sheridan May 22, 2011 at

Seriously Mark? You’ve really never been called a goof-ball?? That’s one of my top 5 names of all times, as my 4 kids would gladly testify ;-)

Here’s the thing, numbers are cool. Traffic—watching it grow and all that stuff— is fun in my opinion. But if paid too much attention to, especially something as lame as Alexa, can be really damaging, especially in terms of a bloggers inspiration.

So glad you stopped by bud and hope you have a great coming week. :-)

Marcus

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Sheila Atwood May 22, 2011 at

Marcus,

Keeping and comparing stats is a big part of my business. It helps me measure how well I am doing and helps me to decide what was successful and what was not. A good portion of those stats I keep record and measure for my self.

When it comes to working online, having information pulled together so I can see it, is invaluable. I could not do it on my own. Like others have mentioned I use Alexa as a way to compare where I have been and where I am going. Although I have never seen my Alexa rating increase. I would still take it as a measure to get in and keep on working toward the Alexa goal I set. Good thing it is only one rating tool I measure by!

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Hey Sheila, and sorry for my slow response on this. …Yes, I do think comparing stats is a big part of many businesses. For my pool company, there is a ton of metrics that I look at and compare with others, and although I do some with Alexa, when one compares one industry to the next with Alexa, that’s when things get really wacky.

Glad you’re doing well with your business Sheila. I hope it continues to go up and up and up. :-)

Marcus

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leon Noone May 22, 2011 at

G’Day Marcus,
“Alexa will never give you money.” Another absolute gem of pool-grown wisdom from mild-mannered Marcus.

I would definitely buy a pool from you if you weren’t so far a bloody way. Just imagine: if all the people who comment on your blog were to buy pools from you, Alexa, or even Alex if he was home, wouldn’t notice.

Each of my three daughters has a name ending in “a” as do two of my four granddaughters.
I’m telling ya. I know about these things. I was sus about Alexa from day 1.

Keep hammering away mate.

Regards

Leon

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Oh Leon, you make me laugh and you make me smile my friend. :-)

Glad to offer a bit of value here and there mate. ;-)

And congrats on your awesome guest post on Danny’s blog!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marcus

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Barrett Rossie May 22, 2011 at

Hey Marcus, this is just another reminder: the measurement tool isn’t the objective. The objective is the objective. As we get more sophisticated, raw numbers mean less and meeting real objectives mean more. I’m sure you’d rather get 10 visitors to your pool company website and sell 8 pools, than get a million visitors and sell no pools.

Or something like that!

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Awesome, awesome point Barrett. You’re on the money brother—-the objective is the objective—-I wonder just how many bloggers and biz owners lose touch with this incredibly important reality…

Thanks so much for stopping by Barrett and sharing!!

Marcus

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Daniel M. Wood May 23, 2011 at

Great article Marcus and right on the spot.
I have seen this a lot with my own blog, since I live in Norway, I am one of the only people in the country with the alexa toolbar.

I used to have a really nice alexa rank because I was using three different computers, 1 at the office, 1 on the road and 1 at home. Each had a seperate IP adress and alexa toolbar.
I was ranked top 1000 in Norway which made an awesome difference in my total rank.

Today I only use 1 computer.
It still has the alexa toolbar, but because I have one third of the toolbars I used to It thinks I have a third of the traffic and my Alexa rank plummeted.
It is on its way up again though, but I have my highest traffic ever and the rank stays pretty stable.

Just goes to show that it doesn’t work :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

This was really, really cool Daniel (and sorry for my slow reply). A few others have also mentioned just how ineffective Alexa gets when one is using it in a country outside of the US/Canada.

So glad your traffic and community are growing though my friend—and that’s all that really matters mate.

Cheers brother!!!!!!!!!!!

Marcus

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Roger May 23, 2011 at

When I first started out I thought Alexa was important. At least, until I read up on it. I don’t think I’ve checked (or care to know) the Alexa score for ANY of my sites in the past two years. The numbers arent an accurate representation of anything, except partial traffic flow.

Good post.

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Great points Roger, and I’m glad to hear you’ve got the right focus. Alexa is getting less and less important and accurate, and I don’t see that trend changing.

Take care my friend and thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

Marcus

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Andrew Walker May 23, 2011 at

Well, honestly, I always check Alexa score every day. In my humble opinion, Alexa is important but not vital. And it’s not stupid at all. Anyway, great post, Marcus.

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Nothing wrong with that Andrew, as long as it doesn’t drive you crazy checking it everyday, it’s all good brother!

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Wim @ Sales Sells May 23, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

I must say I have never really bothered about Alexa rankings. The only tool I use and trust with numbers is my Google Analytics. This is because I do care about traffic.

Of course community is the number one priority, but traffic gives me an indication of how many people are reading without placing a comment.

Traffic spikes can also indicate someone influential linking to you, so I always try to see where it comes so I can thank the ‘sender’.

Great to see you mention Paul by the way, gotta love him! He’s definitely one of my favorite bloggers in the field, his voice is truly unique.

See you next time,
Wim

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

That’s cool that you read Paul Wim, he’s great, isn’t he??

I think you’ve really got the perfect perspective man— A focus on GA with little to no caring for Alexa.—-With a constant focus on COMMUNITY! :-)

Marcus

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Adam Toporek May 23, 2011 at

Marcus, I agree, the methodology for Alexa is very flawed. However, it is nice to hear from more experienced bloggers that you don’t put much stock in these metrics. I use Alexa like Paul Wolfe does, just to gauge base progress. 7 figure score, to 6 figure score to 5 figure score. Once I hit 5 figures, I’ll probably quit looking at it at all.

While they measure different things, I lump Klout right in there with Alexa, by the way.

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Great points Adam, as I mentioned before, there is nothing wrong with using Alexa as a gauge and motivator—but it shouldn’t be used as a demotivator in my opinion. Unfortunately, that’s what often times happens.

I love you coming by often Adam and hope you know how much I appreciate your support.

Marcus

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hyderali May 23, 2011 at

I avoided Alexa Ranking long time ago :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Good for you Hyderali!!

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Ben Brown May 23, 2011 at

This is a very interesting article, I believe that a lot of people make the mistake of over-emphasizing the importance of their ranking and completely ignore important things like quality and entertaining content. Bloggers should concentrate on their content first and once they have managed to create and retain an audience, the ranking will automatically improve.

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Hey Ben, I really appreciate that and I think you’re very right. ‘Ranking’, as it is, has never helped anyone, made anyone money, or changed anyone’s life. But the content and community? Yeah, that’s another story!

Thanks for stopping by Ben!!

Marcus

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Tia Peterson May 23, 2011 at

I didn’t know you were the River Pools and Spas people! Did you have an office in Manassas or nearby? I grew up in Fairfax County and Prince William County and recognize River Pools as a company.

Anyway, I suppose Alexa is useful for understanding *types* of visitors. My Alexa improved dramatically (down to 30K at one point) and then as soon as my traffic skyrocketed to around 1,000 visits a day, Alexa started to climb back up.

It seems to have a threshold. If a site was getting say, a million hits a month, then surely the Alexa ranking would be crazy low. But it seems that if the traffic is below a certain amount, then there is no rhyme or reason to the ranking.

I feel the same way about Compete. Compete is unbelievably inaccurate and I still can’t believe that people refer to it.

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Tia!! (My lovely new friend I met at Blog World ;-) ) Sorry for my slow response here, all this travel stuff has me behind!

Regarding you ranking story, I think you’re spot-on in the sense that there seems to be a magic threshold and it very much affects the fluxuation of the ranking.

1000 visits huh? Dang girl, that’s awesome!!

Keep up the great work and thrilled to have met. :-)

Marcus

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Srinivas Rao May 23, 2011 at

Marcus

When people ask me about metrics and measurement, the only thing I usually have to say is ” I know I’m Indian and I’m supposed to be good at math, but I can barely add.” I very rarely spend time looking at analytics and traffic stats because I don’t believe that’s what causes a blog to grow. In fact I think people spend far too much time obsessing over metrics and measurements and as a result they don’t any of the real work that matters like connecting with people, creating content, and doing work that actually produces results. The other day my friend Mark Lawrence said “your skool of life has a PR 5 on google.” I had no idea because I dont’ spend much time looking at these things. My main concern is the people I meet and connect with online and I believe that conversation leads to opportunities.

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

PR of 5 Srini?? Dang dude, that’s actually very, very impressive. I love your take on traffic, relationships, and growth—-which is exactly why you’re going places my friend.

Cheers brother,

Marcus

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Erica Allison May 23, 2011 at

Ah, Marcus…Alexa is a lot like her cousin, Klout…tools that may have started out as useful, but can be gamed, manipulated and contorted to suit the need or discussion. I don’t put a lot of stock into them. I do check my numbers from time to time, but base my success on the community of people I’m meeting, the comments I get, the RT, the page visits and the new business. Those are the numbers that matter to me.

From where I’m sitting, if you use those numbers, you’re in excellent shape, my friend.
Enjoy NYC! Knock ‘em dead!

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Marcus Sheridan May 23, 2011 at

Hey Erica! I think you and I are very similar in this regard– with an understanding of the metrics that are most important– like community based stuff and social media counts, etc.

Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful week!!

Marcus

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Jack@TheJackB May 23, 2011 at

Metrics are like any other set of numbers- easy to manipulate.

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Marcus Sheridan May 25, 2011 at

Yes they are Jack ;-)

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Brad Harmon @ Big Feet Marketing May 24, 2011 at

I don’t know that I agree with you, Marcus, that your Alexa ranking (or Google PageRank for that matter) means nothing. Yes, these metrics are flawed; however which metrics don’t have their quirks? They do serve as a barometer of how well your site is doing as long as you keep in mind the flaws.

Let’s face facts though. I would love your 48,867 ranking, but who really cares about it? It’s like asking who’s the 725th best player in the NFL? Does it really matter if I’m off by a 100, 200, etc.? Until you start getting in the 4 to 3 digit numbers with your Alexa rank there isn’t much point in stressing over it.

I have the Alexa and PageRank extensions on my browser. I glance at them from time-to-time. I’ll check my Alexa traffic about once a week; however, I check my analytics daily because they mean more to me. If I’m grading my website, then my Alexa and PageRank make up about 5% of my overall blog score.

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Bryan Thompson May 24, 2011 at

Marcus, when I first got serious about blogging, I was OBSESSED with Alexa rankings and Google Analytics. I checked constantly and I was REALLY hard on myself when I didn’t think I was doing as well as some people. I know, this is really silly to beat yourself up over, but I can sometimes be extremely competitive. Something I’m not always crazy about myself over. When I read Gary Vaynerchuk’s “CRUSH IT,” and he tells bloggers to NOT check analytics for at least a year. To devote yourself to the craft of blogging, it made sense to me. I changed my ways and haven’t looked back since. I’m a lot less hard on myself now…at least about blogging. :)

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Sonia May 27, 2011 at

In the beginning, I remember someone telling me how important it really was. It sounded more like BS to me and a waste of time. I would rather spend my time working on my content, building relationships and consistency then always wondering about my Google and Alexa rankings. Building your site takes time and true effort. What you focus on determines your reality, it’s not worth sweating the small stuff.

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at

Sorry for my slow response on this Sonia, but I wanted to thank you for stopping by here and sharing your story. It’ odd that some marketers and other folks want to push Alexa like it’s the mecca of websites, but in reality it’s far from it.

Continued success to you and your blog Sonia and hope we chat again. :-)

Marcus

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Jens P. Berget May 27, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

I hope you had a great time at Blog World. I’m going to read your article on it after I’ve finished this one.

I started out focusing on Alexa, as it was almost the only system I found where I could compare myself to other people in the same business. I could look at other related blogs and have a goal in order to get a better ranking than them. I love the competition, and thought of it as a way for me to work more and harder.

But, as you’re saying, I soon discovered that it was several ways to play the system, by adding the Alexa toolbar and being in the right niche (and by having your regular readers install the toolbar as well). My first goal was to get below 100k, and when I reached that goal, I didn’t set another one. I discovered that traffic didn’t mean a thing. I wanted to build relations, and with Alexa, one visitor is just one visitor, no matter if it’s you or a bum. To me, it’s not like that at all. I have stopped caring about the numbers, and now it’s all about people. When I stopped caring about Alexa is the day when blogging started to be fun, actuall a lot of fun :)

Have a great weekend Marcus.

Jens

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at

Hey Jens, someone this comment fell through the cracks without a reply, so my apologies bud.

I love how you said, “The day I stopped worrying about Alexa is the day blogging started to be fun…” Wow, that’s some sage advice…and I hope others learn from your experience.

Thanks for all your support Jens.

Marcus

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mantebtenan.com May 28, 2011 at

Now, I know that ALEXA is TOTALLY Useless

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MaAnna May 30, 2011 at

Some of the clients I work with have such poor marketing and SEO that Alexa doesn’t even give them a ranking number, or it’s something like 9.8 million. I tell them that it’s just a guage not not extremely accurate. But, it sure is a good way to motivate them to do better SEO and marketing so they can at least get their site in the map.

Like others have mentioned here, I check it on my site now and then as a gage that I’m moving in the right direction, but keep my focus on building relationships and engagement.

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at

Hi MaAnna, and my apologies for not responding sooner. Blog World zapped all my time these past two weeks.

I agree that if gives clients something to look at. And as long as they’re adding content, it will go down naturally at first, which can be fun to see.

But thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment MaAnna. I hope you’ll be back again. :-)

Marcus

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Stan May 31, 2011 at

Despite having owned websites for years I still find my eyes drifting towards the Alexa rank toolbar. One of my sites drives around 1100 uniques a day and yet is above 800k on the Alexa ‘scale’.

It does not just take into account visits though but also pageviews. This is an important fact to remember.

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at

1100 uniques a day and an Alexa of 800k?? Just goes to show, that dang toolbar ain’t all that accurate!

Thanks for stopping by Stan, I really appreciate it. :-)

Marcus

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Amy {Blowout Party!} June 2, 2011 at

Excellent post! You’ve made me feel a lot better, thanks! I couldn’t understand why my Alexa rank dropped when my traffic has steadily gone up.

Love your style and I’m going to be following your blog!

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at

Hi Amy! I’m glad the post helped you a little bit and I do hope you keep following. We always need a few good ‘partiers’ in these parts ;-)

Marcus

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Karen Avery June 6, 2011 at

I used to care about AR but now I am convinced that I need to focus on the content, key words and regular blogging. Thanks for sharing your insight.

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at

Hi Karen, glad to see you focused has changed. But don’t forget maybe the most important element on top of blogging and content—- forming a strong network. I didn’t apply great networking principles until a year after my blog started, and boy do I now regret that.

Marcus

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Karen Avery June 6, 2011 at

Ok, I admit it, I am feeling frustrated there … I don’t think I understand HOW to build a strong network. Perhaps you have ideas how I can expand? Any help is appreciated. I have been blogging at http://info.boxcanyonouray.com for months and I have been consistent since November 2010. I just don’t seem to be able to get traction…

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Robert Kelly June 7, 2011 at

For some time, many have told me not to worry about Alexa ratings for my niche business and while I intellectually accepted that, emotionally Alexa ranking gnawed at me. Your article finally put it in perspective and I am now free from that concern. Thanks!

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Anonymous July 6, 2011 at

What if your boss is judging your performance based largely in part to the companies Alexa rating? Any suggestions?

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Marcus Sheridan July 7, 2011 at

Somehow you’re going to have to educate your boss. I’d also focus on the Alexa rankings of those in your niche and compare it to yours. Oh, and send him this article. ;-)

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Robin July 25, 2011 at

Marcus,

Thanks for writing about Alexa. I recently just started a personal blog use to wake up every morning to check my Alexa rating! I was writing posts each day and thought my fresh content was the reason I was doing so well. However, I did learn one thing from Alexa. I usually write my own content but recently purchased my first PLR and used a few of their articles and my Alexa ranking has not budged.

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Marcus Sheridan August 6, 2011 at

Hey Robin, sorry for my very late reply on this comment, but I hope your blog is still going well and that you’re continuing to pay attention to the things that matter most. Good luck!!

Marcus

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Jay July 25, 2011 at

The question is, what do you do when your boss is judging your work performance and ability for marketing based on your company’s Alexa rating?

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Marcus Sheridan August 6, 2011 at

How does your Alexa rating compare with your biggest competitors Jay? Are you tracking theirs as well? The only way Alexa shows anything is if you compare it to those in your industry/niche, and even still, it’s often times not accurate then. Sounds like your boss needs to be educated my friend. ;-)

Marcus

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Colette aka Workfmhomediva July 25, 2011 at

Well I was worried about my Alexa Ranking having just started up my blog, but after reading through your post, am starting to think not to sweat about it. You make some very valid comments about the ranking not making any sense, and as you were able t compare between your blog and your pool blog, you could see the comparisons as clear as day. To us poor souls who are only guided by what ‘guru’s say we should be achieving, we would continue to slave away at improving the rankings. But no more.
Thank you for such an insiteful post.
Colette aka Workfmhomediva

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Marcus Sheridan August 6, 2011 at

Colette, so sorry to be slow in getting back to you with this, but I’m thrilled for you in starting this blog, and I hope you continue to focus on those things that truly matter.

Have a great weekend!

Marcus

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Bail Rehill November 23, 2011 at

I know we should not place too much emphasis on rankings, but rankings are what bring traffic. I do know that we should focus on quality of our content. If we provide great and unique information that is useful fro people visiting our site, they will come back. The hard par is getting them to come in the first place. That is where ranking does help.

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Marcus Sheridan November 25, 2011 at

Hi Bail, and thanks for stopping by. To be honest, rankings do not bring traffic. Traffic brings rankings, on occasion, but almost never the other way around. No one on my swimming pool site knows anything about my Alexa, but yet it crushes in terms of traffic.

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Bruce December 9, 2011 at

Thanks for the great insight. It has certainly put a few things in context.

As a relatively new technical site about JavaScript, excel and so on, with an associated blog and forum, , I have seen very significant growth since I started it earlier this year, and now reach the dizzy heights of about 6000 visits a month with the growth continuing at a steady rate.

So I was surprised to see my alexa rank going from about 800k at the beginning, with hardly any vistors, to about 2.3m today. Duh.. I was even more surprised when I read on Alexa for a month or so that my site was wildly popular in Tampa , Florida . I searched through by google analytics to find out what this I guessed was a small community of retiree website developers in Fl were so interested in. Sure enough I had seen 1 visitor from Tampa. And he had bounced.
So just ignore Alexa .. It is just plain wrong. It’s like measuring your social media influence by counting the number of spam mails you get.
Bruce

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Marcus Sheridan December 9, 2011 at

Well said Bruce, love your passion man, and I’m completely with you.

Marcus

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Paul January 22, 2012 at

Your reasons do effectively summarise why Alexa ranks should be booted away by the webmaster communibty, but nevertheless Alexa ranks, along with Google PageRanks are still important, and matter greatly, in that they are used by services such as BuySellAds to evaluate your website’s popularity; they add credibility to your website; and they increase your website’s worth to buyers.

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Anna@GreenTalk March 3, 2012 at

I am so glad that I read your article. My traffic keeps going up and up and my Alexa rating keeps going the other way. I even complained to Alexa and they told me to put their the tool bar on my site. I nearly fell over when they said this. I asked why don’t they get real stats like Google does and rate the game the right way. I can report my real numbers if I want to pay for a pro account. How nice of them.

I think my visitors are not the type who would have the tool bar. So, I am being penalized for this. Everyone else I look at doesn’t nearly have the number of linked sites that I do.

I increased my views by 10 percent this month, and my month ratings say I had a -30%. What is up with that? I guess 30% of the people didn’t have the tool bar.

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Marcus Sheridan March 3, 2012 at

That’s exactly right Anna. Alexa just isn’t a strong indicator whatsoever. Besides, all that matters is your goals. If you reach those, everything else is literally irrelevant.

Continued success Anna!

Marcus

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Jeremy Cook March 8, 2012 at

Hey, I’ve been quite frustrated with my Alexa ranking lately, which is how I got here via search! I’ve increased my visits/month quite a bit, but I’ve generally been seeing my rank drop! I consistently get around 3500 pageviews per week or more, which I think translates out to somewhere around 2000 visits per week. I saw huge growth in my ranking to begin with (around 1.5 yrs ago), but it’s been pretty stagnant or going down since then even though my traffic has increased a ton!

Oh, and lions are good, but Tigers are better!

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Marcus Sheridan March 9, 2012 at

Hahahaha, yeah, tigers ain’t too bad Jeremy ;-)

Thanks for dropping by and I’m glad this article helped a little with your Alexa frustrations!

Marcus

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Bellaisa March 14, 2012 at

I found this article because I was trying to figure out why my alexa isn’t improving. I’ve literally almost decided to give up trying as it’s very frustrating since I’ve been putting in a lot of work lately and it’s higher than when I have NOT put in a lot of work. It makes it feel like too much work is a bad thing. But I will try to relax about it and just focus on other things.

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alex cervantes May 2, 2012 at

I found your article interesting and enlightening. Up until a few days ago I cared about our website’s rank on Alexa. We thought we were going up and up in ranking, then with traffic stable our ranking ‘world wide’ fell lower and lower. Mysteriously our good USA ranking just disappeared from Alexa’s records. I think you hit the nail on the head. Thanks.

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Marcus Sheridan May 4, 2012 at

Glad it helped Alex, and good luck worrying about the numbers that matter most bud!

Cheers,

Marcus

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Gregory July 24, 2012 at

My site two weeks ago was at 400K, one month ago it reached the 317,530 position; and two months ago it was again between 400,000-500,000.

However what is really suspicious (actually Alexa is a suspicious site) is that two months ago I had an average of 400 visitors per day, one month ago 500 and now over 700; moreover my adsense earnings are better than ever and this current month outperformed in all aspects the former ones, actually it was the best month in real number since I released my site. Nevertheless the folks from Alexa (aka their flawed script) decided to pull down my ranking to an astonishing 1.500,000 position!!!!! So, are they kidding me?

This is my example about how untruthful Alexa is.

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Marcus Sheridan July 27, 2012 at

Exactly Gregory. Much of the time, the numbers are a joke. Well said.

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Haraj July 28, 2012 at

Thanks for clearing up this information. I used to think that achieving a high AR means having a more popular website. I now know that I’m wrong.

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Marcus Sheridan July 29, 2012 at

And now you can focus on the stuff that really matter Haraj ;-)

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Guru September 20, 2012 at

Thanks for this info. It relieved me from lots of misconceptions.

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Kelly - Two Kids Cooking and More September 20, 2012 at

Thanks for this post. I’m still in the millions, but I was depressed after a friend who just started blogging months ago…rarely posts and has fewer sites linking in ranked considerably lower than me…she’s in a different niche, so that’s probably why. I was starting to think I just sucked. I haven’t paid much attention until recently, but I’m gonna try and forget about it and focus on providing the content my readers want.

Thanks again!

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Marcus Sheridan September 21, 2012 at

That’s exactly it Kelly—detach yourself completely from that silly tool. Turn it off. You’ll be happy youdid so.

Marcus

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Anirudh Bahadur | Blogging4Backlinks October 2, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,
In my attempt to figure out whether Alexa rank effects Search engine ranks or not, I did a test lately. On a fairly new domain of mine which I wasn’t using, I put two unique but spun articles targeting very long tail keywords with extremely low competition. It was on page 5 of Serps in two weeks without any link building as there was no competition at all for that keyword. Alexa did not rank this site of mine till then. I started building 5-10 backlinks a day using an automated software for the next two weeks. Results now were that my site was ranking at somewhere around 1 Million and improving further on Alexa as I build more backlinks where as my ranking on Google dropped from page 5 to somewhere around 37 and now it is nowhere till page 100.

The results are not very conclusive but surely we can say that Alexa and Google ranking algorithms are totally different and Alexa rank do not affect Google Serps at all!

Regards,
Anirudh Bahadur

P.S. Great post!

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Marivel Guzman October 6, 2012 at

You so right with your assertions. Alexa is just a tool bar. I m in the News blogging business and I have put so much effort in raising the readership, taking in consideration the profession of independent “News teller”, sharing the “Real” news from abroad and from home is not easy when you have the Giants of the business New York Times, Washington Post and Telegraph telling Lies/propaganda wrapped in a huge campaign with flashy pictures and all the enchilada of the Giant.
When I was writing 1 article a week, and not following the copy and paste as much of the News do, I mean seriously I was putting all my effort and no advertisement what so ever..so back then I was 300k globally and 130k US..which for a blogger was astonishing giving the millions of bloggers up there. Well now that I have more readers, I write at least 2 articles and share maybe 5 from others, I advertise in every Free platform that there is and guess what? my Alexa went high rocket :( the other way, now Alexa says I m 1,111,620 that is BS..I said….no way …So I got to the conclusion that Alexa is Ricked and get pay to show numbers to serve the diverse marketing companies that dedicate their services to Sell, advertisement, or clicks, or who knows what other internet trick they sell….
So Alexa discounted from my “check Alexa time”…

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Darragh February 24, 2013 at

My website http://www.adidriving.ie can sit about 13,000,000 then go to 7,000,000 for a week and then drop back to 13,000,000 within a day. Can this simply be Alexa inconsistencies or is it something worse?

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bizfuzzy.com February 24, 2013 at

Totally agree. AR looks like a good number to track of in the initial days. But as you mature you relaize community and bottomline, both rightly mentioned by you is important for survival of the blog

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Francis Obasogie May 5, 2013 at

Hi Marcus,

Thanks a lot for this eye-opening. I will definitely be doing a lot more testing and monitoring of my web stats and the Alexa ranking after reading this.

Going through some of the comments here, I’m wondering if it is the case that the Alexa ranking is trust-worthy up to a point, and then ceases to be so after that.

I started posting blogs on my new site under two weeks ago and I see that my ranking which started off at around just over 22m, has over the period, rapidly come to around the 3.5m mark within some days. I’m also wondering if the criteria or metrics used for ranking websites also depends on one level of syndication, etc.

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hpd May 7, 2013 at

Yeah very true..this is crazy..I have one of my client site which is under construction and the ranking is inside top 40k in one country .it had 2 UV in this month n 5 UV in last n none bfor…Alexa you are great lol

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hpd May 7, 2013 at

Yeah very true..this is crazy..I have one of my client site which is under construction and the ranking is inside top 40k in one country .it had 2 UV in this month n 5 UV in last month n none bfor…Alexa you are great lol

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Buy Cheap Alexa Traffic May 28, 2013 at

I not seriously work on Alexa. My website on page -2 on Google and site page rank is 1 but Alexa rank is not good.

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Manoj July 5, 2013 at

Thanks a lot for this information. I was working on a website and was quite not sure how important was the alexa ranking. This article gave me a lot of knowledge in this regard.

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Rob July 28, 2013 at

While depending on Alexa is silly, it IS something that “other” people look at to get info on a site. So it is a useful tool, and it is important to keep an eye on it so your advertisers don’t think that all of your traffic comes from India.

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Theresa July 31, 2013 at

So I know this is an old post, but I found it in Google when I was researching the Alexa rank. My traffic numbers are significantly increasing, but my Alexa ranking is also increasing instead of decreasing! Thanks for telling me not to stress. :) I shall try not to.

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Marcus Sheridan July 31, 2013 at

Glad to hear it Theresa. Keep doing great things. :-)

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Mokini September 4, 2013 at

Hi,
it is very interesting to read this cool article. What if one is interested to purchase a website? Would it still mean nothing going with alexa figures and facts? Just not sure.Thanks a lot.

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Lorenzo V. Rodriguez November 4, 2013 at

Excellent article sir I’ve always thought that and I think that is so.
Excuse my English.

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villem December 25, 2013 at

This is a really easy to settle “controversy”

The ONLY gauge of traffic which is reliable is proprietary; it’s on your web server logs and there are many traffic analysis tools which are available and provide REAL numbers to those who care.

Unless they can hack [they can't] into your servers and grab the log data they have no figgin idea how much and what type of traffic you get.

Think about it and ask yourself, who are you going to believe, Alexa or your server logs which also provide IP addy etc. on the visitors.

Next time some BOZO makes an ignorant statement re his or her assumptions re your traffic because of an Alexa rating, ask him if Alexa can provide IP addys.

All Alexa measures is the traffic which runs through Alexa’s algorithm. If your audience doesnt use alexa then Alexa means zip.

Lastly, should u install the Alexa crap on your webite?

Well let me ask u a question, do you permit people to watch what u do in your bedroom?

Probably not, so why should anyone let some group of dumbasses tap into your websites proprietary data?

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waste Clearance January 28, 2014 at

It’s hard to find well-informed people on this
subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!
Thanks

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