You’ve heard people talking about the importance of their Alexa ranking.
Some use it to justify the cost of ad sales or to help sell their websites.
Others use it as a benchmark for which websites they want to get featured on.
Now, here’s the big question:
Is the Alexa ranking of your own website worth worrying about? Or would you be better focusing your efforts elsewhere?
In this post, you’ll learn how Alexa collects ranking data, why you shouldn’t worry about your ranking and an alternative tool you can use for insights on your competitors.
Let’s dive in!
The truth about the Alexa ranking
On the surface, Alexa’s traffic statistics tool is a global ranking system that records traffic data and then displays it in an organized list.
Audience demographics and other statistics are pulled in, along with bounce rate, page views per visitor and time on site. As well as a few other data points.
That all sounds great, but where does the data come from?
Alexa have a toolbar/browser extension that shows Alexa Traffic Rank, related links and a few other pieces of data.
It used to be that this toolbar was the only way Alexa collected data which lead to serious issues with accuracy. But it now uses a combination of 25,000 different browser extensions to collect data.
That’s a big improvement from how things used to be.
And while most people think of Alexa purely as a traffic ranking tool, it does a lot more.
They offer a fully-fledged SEO & competitive research toolset. I haven’t tried it personally but it appears to have some useful tools such as:
- Audience overlap tool
- Competitor keyword matrix
- Keyword difficulty tool
- SEO audit tool
- And more
Obsessed with your Alexa Traffic Rank? Read this
I see a lot of bloggers and website owners asking how to move their site up Alexa’s list.
But this is the wrong question.
Your site’s ranking – in Alexa’s tool and others – is determined by the amount of traffic you get.
It stands to reason that if you focus on increasing your website traffic, that your ranking will improve. Although it won’t improve on the same day your traffic jumps. Alexa uses the last 3 months of traffic to calculate rankings.
I’ve seen friends put so much time and attention into improving their ranking that they’ve stopped focusing on what matters – their business.
Please don’t fall into the same trap. Stay focused on growing your business.
Google Analytics vs Alexa
Should you use an analytics platform such as Google Analytics or Clicky? Or should you use Alexa.
Alexa estimates your stats. A proper analytics platform like Google Analytics is installed on your website so it doesn’t need to estimate – it has access to the data.
In general, if you have control over the website you should never need to use an estimation tool. The same goes for Ahrefs, Similarweb, SEMrush, etc.
Note: Alexa has a post on some popular myths about the platform, well worth a read.
The best Alexa alternatives
When it comes to estimating the traffic and stats of other websites, there are other platforms on the market.
One of my favorites right now is SEMrush (affil).
While their core all-in-one marketing toolset offers a lot of useful features – their competitive intelligence add-on serves as a powerful alternative to Alexa.
SEMrush use a combination of data sources to offer a more accurate solution.
Want to learn more? Click here and sign up for a free trial so you can take a look at the data yourself.
Yes a lot of the data is estimated, but it can still provide some helpful insights for websites you don’t own. Particularly when it comes to competitor research.
Then there’s the added benefit of a huge array of marketing tools:
- Backlink database
- On page SEO
- Keyword rank tracking
- Content audits
- Site audits
- Blogger outreach
- Link building suggestions
- … and plenty more…
Just remember: don’t make any business critical decisions based on estimated data.
The Alexa ranking of your own website isn’t worth fretting over. It’ll naturally improve as your traffic increases.
Now, because you are in control of your website, you should get a dedicated analytics tool setup. This means you have access to more complete data (that isn’t estimated).
Google Analytics is a great option and it’s completely free. Clicky is another option which has less of a learning curve.
If you want to get some insights on your competitors – Alexa and SimilarWeb can give you some useful insights. It makes sense to use them, especially because you won’t have access to their analytics.
Just remember that the data they provide is estimated in most cases. Sites can claim listings to get more accurate data, but each tool usually mentions which sites have estimated data.
And, whatever you do – don’t use tools that provide estimated data to inform big decisions.
For example, if you’re considering the purchase of a website you should definitely request access to their analytics.