Firstly what is Alexa? Alexa determines how popular a website is and places it within it’s online ranking system. This is made up of websites from all over the world, ranging from websites as big as Google and Facebook to ones so small you’ve probably never heard of them. These ranking scores are highly respected within certain circles but many people believe this is a not an accurate way to measure a sites online presence.
The Alexa toolbar is available for free download. It enables users to measure their own traffic and check out competitors. This sounds like the most ideal and simple way to measure your websites traffic, however after looking a little deeper several problems are quickly unearthed. Alexa has been accused by many bloggers of being biased. Alexa even states websites associated with it such as amazon.com are overrepresented.
One thing they are keen not to mention is bias included in their toolbar, the website only represents people who have downloaded the toolbar. There might be millions of sites that have a lot of traffic but will not be ranked highly or even included on Alexa. Your website could be visited a thousand times a day but if none of these visitors have the toolbar it will count as zero visitors therefore no improvement on your Alexa rank.
The problems with who can benefit continue with serious limitations on who is actually able to download the toolbar. Only recently it was made available on Firefox, which is used, by 25% of people worldwide. The toolbar on Internet Explorer 7 is considered a malware (malicious software), which means it cannot be installed on windows vista. This said it does mean by being aware of this you can download the toolbar and get other to download the toolbar and possibly effect your Alexa rank.
So is Alexa Rankings really something that matters?
Although it has a lot of disadvantages it does have some positive attributes. The main one being the importance it has within certain groups of people, some advertisers will check your Alexa ranking before even looking at your website. In some cases the better your Alexa ranking is the better your chance of gaining cliental and advertising is.
In a time where web traffic is key to expanding any blog or company, keeping a tab on your Alexa ranking is worthwhile doing. Despite several problems it has an online reputation, which several advertisers and companies take seriously.