The Allure Of Alexa
Alexa is one of the most widely used “rankings” on the web today. The lower your Alexa ranking, the better since it indicates a higher-trafficked website. Take a look at a few rankings to better understand Alexa:
- Google.com – Alexa rank: 1
- Facebook.com – Alexa rank: 2
- ESPN.com – Alexa rank: 70
- DrudgeReport.com – Alexa rank: 471
- Wisebread.com – Alexa rank: 11,294
- 20smoney.com – Alexa rank: 126,992
Note: Rankings as of 3/3/10
There are many noted issues that people have with Alexa rankings. The biggest one is that it’s determined by web surfers who have the Alexa toolbar installed, therefore, the more techie crowd tends to boost “techie” websites more than other genres of websites. I actually can attest to this phenomenon with first hand experience. First, I recently wrote a guest post for a very popular blogging website and it resulted in a large influx in traffic to my blog. The result was a huge jump in my Alexa ranking, much more than the corresponding jump with similar traffic spikes that I’ve experienced in the past. Secondly, I was recently on a nice “how to blog” website which will typically have Alexa-installed-toolbar visitors and the Alexa ranking was very good, somewhere around 30,000. I then saw the traffic numbers and they were only about 30% higher than my traffic numbers. Lastly, I frequent some websites with 3x to 4x the amount of traffic that my blog has and I have a better Alexa ranking than them. So, obviously, the Alexa ranking is not to be 100% trusted.
With that said, Alexa definitely has a place in the overall ranking of the web. I pay attention to it, and hope that my ranking continues to improve. The wisebread top personal finance blog list is by default ranked by the respective Alexa ranking, therefore, I get results from such a list due to my Alexa ranking.
As such, there is a group of personal finance bloggers that are determined to boost their Alexa rankings. The wisebread list is a major motivating factor for the group. You can see the entire list of blogs here (20smoney.com is on the list). Interestingly, by having a group of 30 bloggers or so all have Alexa toolbars installed and having an agreement to help visit all the blogs on the list, you can actually make a difference in getting the blogs into the 200,000 level, maybe even a little better. Therefore, the initiative of the group will likely be effective… to a point. When it comes to elite Alexa levels, namely 50,000 and better, it will take much more than a group of bloggers who are trying to collectively improve the rankings of the group. Nevertheless, I like the initiative and I’m participating.
It will be very interesting to see what happens after the initiatve ends. When it comes to Alexa, when you move up, someone else is moving down. Therefore, you’re essentially competing with other websites. I imagine many bloggers if they move into fairly competitive territory (inside 125k), most bloggesr may fall out of the level of Alexa rankings.
Here are a few blogs that are participating in the Alexa initiative that I actually read:
- Early Retirement Extreme (Alexa: 191.869) – Interestingly, I know ERE’s traffic numbers are higher than mine, yet I have a much better Alexa ranking, another example of the flaws of Alexa.
- Bible Money Matters (Alexa: 56,592)
- Canadian Finance Blog (Alexa: 123,386)
- Eliminate the Muda (Alexa: 106,725)
- The Amateur Financier (Alexa: 400,681)
An interesting note about all of this that I’m only going to briefly mentioned here (and maybe write about in detail later) but I’m starting to think about the readers of most personal finance blogs. Specifically, I’m wondering what percentage of the overall traffic to most PF blogs is actually other PF bloggers. It would be interesting to analyze ways to determine this percentage. Do you have any thoughts? Are you a 20smoney.com reader and also a PF blogger? Let me know!