Jim Kitzmiller
            Systems Architect


Alexa Statistics - Don't Be Fooled

Alexa Statistics is one yardstick that many marketing people use to determine the popularity (traffic) of various websites.

The most popular site on the Internet has an Alexa ranking of 1, the second most popular has a ranking of 2, and so forth. There are millions of websites competing for attention and dollars on the Internet.

How it works:

Some people, typically people concerned with Internet marketing install an Alexa toolbar into their web browser. Whenever this person surfs to a website, the toolbar gives the person the relative Alexa ranking of the website.

The toolbar also tells Alexa that another person has visited the site. Also Alexa tracks the number of pages that the person visits on the site.

All these numbers are added together and compared to determine Alexa's view of the popularity of various websites.

Serious Alexa Flaws

As you might suspect, there are some serious flaws with this whole system.

For one thing, it's mostly marketing people and their customers who are using the Alexa toolbar. Lots of big spenders don't fall into those categories.

It's also very easy to put a site into Alexa's top two percent by simply building and checking web pages on a daily basis.

Here's an experiment I performed.

I picked a good website that was ranked somewhere in the millions. I visited the site daily for a week, viewing all the pages on the site.

After a week the site was in Alexa's top two percent for the week.

Then I stopped visiting the site for a week. The site's ranking dropped down into the millions.

Try it yourself if you don't believe me.

Sometimes you can use Alexa statistics to get a rough idea of a site's popularity. For example, if a site is in the top 50,000 sites per Alexa, the site has to have some significant traffic.

There are a few ways to determine the success of a website.

  1. How much money the website makes
  2. How many people subscribe to the site's newsletter
  3. How much traffic the website gets
  4. How the sites major keywords rank with the top search engines

Kitzmiller Marketing Systems can help you focus on the most important aspects of your marketing campaigns.