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The Allure Of Alexa

3 March 2010 4 Comments

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:

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!

4 Comments »

  • Jacob@ERE said:

    I think the list of top commenters is a good proxy. For me, a quarter of the people there are other pf bloggers. For other blogs, it may be as high very close to 100%. For still others, particularly bigger ones, it will be lower. Of course this number is skewed by the likely fact that bloggers are more likely to comment than "civilians".

  • Lakita (PFJourney) said:

    I'm a PF Blogger and I read many other PF blogs and I realize a great percentage of my traffic is from other PF bloggers as well. That is one thing I like about our niche…we are very supportive of one another. However, I also realize there are a lot of lurkers and seekers and while they may not always comment it is still satisfying to know we are helping people. They are there! It is evident by Debt Free Adventure and Simple Dollar's ask the reader series which post several questions a week!

    Readers hitting our sites through search engines are usually seeking an answer to a question or problem…they usually find it and move on, while as bloggers we are seeking to build communities and network which is why I think we comment more on one another's blogs.

    It is also for that reason I'm not entirely sold on Alexa. Most of the readers I'd be reaching (except the bloggers) probably don't have an Alexa toolbar installed or pay attention to the rankings. I know it has its benefits and I've installed the toolbar and I'll probably pay more attention to it eventually, but as a new blogger its not my focus right now 🙂

  • Evan said:

    PF Blogger here…I would say almost all my comments are from other PF Bloggers except when I write about a topic that ranks high on Google. Then I get a ton of comments from non-bloggers. For instance google the worst "transunion settlement"

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