Alexa toolbar – be careful

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October 16, 2007 // Internet Related, Search Engines, seo

For you that don’t already know and have spent the last few years in a nuclear fallout shelter, Alexa is a company that measures web traffic. They run www.alexa.com which is becoming more and more visible to web users.

I have always been taught and read many blogs that you should never judge a websites traffic performance based on the data collected by Alexa. Why? Well Alexa only registers traffic that has downloaded and used their very own toolbar. So in theory the data collected should only be a portion of your websites real traffic as the majority of “normal” web users have no need or really understand what it’s used for.

So as I performed my daily task of looking at websites information, looking for possible link opportunities I quickly noticed a trend in the data. It goes without saying that most web savvy people do use Alexa, if for anything an indication of possible traffic.


So what’s your point Matt?

Well my point is that if you are in the SE/SEM/SEO industry and you are specifically looking to target webmasters and like minded people then the Alexa data is spot on. You know if an seo website says they are performing well, then in fact they are listed at 2 million there are some white lies being told.

I still believe that Alexa is not a worthy tool of measuring non-internet related websites, simply because more people don’t have the toolbar installed than people that do. I did a small test to show these results. I looked at well known www.seomoz.org our website, www.seounique.com and a very popular gadget website in the UK www.firebox.com. In terms of traffic, reach and page views I would have said that Firebox would have been top, followed by Seomoz and last but by no means least my website.

The results clearly show Seomoz miles above the rest, and at the beginning of September Seounique was very close to beating Firebox. Now I’m not going to lie about my traffic, it’s regular and ranges from 5000 unique visits per month down to 1000 per month, it really depends how I promote the site in that particular month. However I can guarantee you that Firebox will almost certainly have three or four times more traffic than I have in a good month at their lowest point. Seomoz is so far ahead because the traffic that flows to their site will be almost all webmaster based.

What’s your final thought on this Matt?

Well my feelings on this subject have slightly changed. I still advise people not to look at Alexa data on non-seo/sem/se websites because it’s still not accurate by any means. However if you are looking to reach the webmasters out there then Alexa should be used and the data collected analyzed.

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3 Comments

  1. This is martin, webmaster of a hotel website http://www.fortunehotels.in which isn’t having good position in Alexa. I have downloaded alexa toolbar & placed alexa widgets on the website but no improvement there. Even I read on many sites that that alexa widget, redirections are myth. Is that true? I need your feedbacks.

  2. Hi Martin,

    I think you are missing the point here. By downloading the Alexa tool bar you are just allowing yourself to be tracked by Alexa, making you part of their “registered” traffic.

    My point on this blog piece was exactly what you’re asking here. You own a hotel website and yet find it hard to rank in Alexa – this is because your websites traffic are not aware of Alexa or even have the need for their tool bar.

    If you want to rank well in Alexa make sure your targeted traffic are all seo aware and savvy.

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