Alexa Ranking: Is That A Reliable Traffic Measurement Tool?

As I’ve seen so far, alexa ranking is the nucleus of many thriving websites. Especially those which concentrate on making profits. Because the advertisers are more likely to use alexa as a traffic measurement tool. So boosting up traffic rank might make a jump up in the number of clients.

That’s the concept where both marketers and advertisers are oriented to. The webmasters keep them busy to lead a solid alexa position where the buyers set their goals. They feel it will be a win-win opportunity for them. But very soon they will come to realize that was totally wrong.

How? Let me keep you curious till the end of the post. Because there are some surprising notes waiting for you. So let me introduce you their traffic ranking system sequentially.

alexa traffic ranking

From the user’s point of view: What is Alexa?

As everyone think, Alexa is a global ranking system which records traffic data and sort them by the value. The website that hits higher traffic ranks higher and lower traffic ranks lower as usual. The algorithm works depending upon the last 3 months historical data collected from the public frequency of visits.

They use to combine the number of page views and the number of unique visitors to come up with a public rank number. They also put in some backup info to support their algorithm, for example: bounce rate, average page visit time, audience demography, geography and linked websites.

The ranking system audits websites in their global data panel and provide a public figure, that could also be called trust figure. They recommend, sites ranked under 100,000 are trustworthy and serve something valuable on the web. So the webmasters place their their targets to get among the 1 lac.

But the collision: What actually Alexa rank is?

The user’s point of view is reasonable. Because that knowledge has been spread through many websites. Even I agree with it except one. The whole process is loyal but for toolbar. They only use toolbar collected data into their algorithm.

It’s not me saying. Alexa has written it by himself. Take a closer look here on the explanation:

Alexa could not exist without the participation of the Alexa Toolbar community. Each member of the community, in addition to getting a useful tool, gives back. By using the Firefox, Chrome and IE toolbars, every member contributes valuable information about the web, how it’s used, what’s important and what isn’t. Alexa returns this information to the community as Traffic Ranks, Related Links, and more.

Source: Alexa Toolbar

They have clear explanation how actually it works. It’s all true, they put as many factors as possible in their algorithm to determine how a site should rank. But that is all depended upon the toolbar enabled visitors, not on them without.

Study #1: Alexa is bullshit

This study was originally made by Syed Balkhi who is very much popular for his blog WPBeginner. A few months ago, he chose to show how alexa is a total bullshit. He has 3 popular sites:

  1. (AR 1,684)
  2. (AR 14,384)
  3. (AR 16,371)

Though all 3 sites are under 20k websites, the order is completely wrong.

Among these three websites, List25 is the most popular and gets way better traffic than WPBeginner, according to his Google Analytics report. But still WPBeginner has been ranked to the top. Contrary, List25 gets 6000% more traffic than OptinMonster but still ranked around List25.

Do you know why? Because WPBeginner and OptinMonster users are more likely to use alexa toolbar because the niche is relative to the toolbar. But List25 is a kind of different, because the niche people do not use toolbar that much. That’s why their ranking system is estimated with the use of toolbar, not with the genuine number of global traffic.

[ You can check the original study here ]

Study #2: Alexa is a waste of time

This study was originally made by Marcus Sheridan, who is the author of The Sales Lion, a very talented marketer. He has 2 websites:

  1. (AR 46,862)
  2. (AR 214,222)

According to his post, TheSalesLion gets 350-500 visitors a day where RiverPoolsandSpas gets around 1500-2000 a day. But you can see TheSalesLion has ranked 46K where RiverPoolsandSpas has 214K. All because of the toolbar as most of TheSalesLion readers are using that. So this is another great example why it is a waste in some case.

[ You can check the original study here ]

But still Alexa is bounded with so many possibilities

The studies clearly stated that alexa is not a global traffic measurement tool. It’s just a system that collects data from their toolbar enabled users. But still I see many possibilities if you have a better alexa ranking. Some of them are the following:

The center of attraction

The advertisers are more likely to do competitive analysis in alexa. Their concept is very simple, better ranked website will drive better traffic to their businesses. So the advertisers mostly target all those websites which have solid alexa positions.

So improving your rank might be a great turn around. It will assure you a better number of clients. I personally think, giving a little time to improve it won’t be a waste at all.

Priority is higher in competitive analysis

In the past days, the top factors of a good site were page rank, moz domain authority and alexa ranking as well. First we used to check page rank, but unfortunately google has announced it as dead (will no longer be updated). Now we use moz domain authority which is a good alternative.

In fact, alexa is still counted after the domain authority. So having a good position is sure to impose a solid trust and credibility.

How to significantly improve Alexa traffic ranking

I’ve revealed the factors how it works. So you might have anticipated how it could be improved. Though let me help you with some effective methods:

Install Alexa toolbar

This is the key. It works through the toolbar. So simply install the toolbar from the official website. I’m sure you will start to experience a significant improvement.

Wondering how much difficult it would be? Yeah, it’s difficulty level is to one click :p. It’s nothing but a browser extension. And you will find out one click setup here on

Add Alexa widget

The widget will widely show off the ranking number which is actually good to increase credibility. It has an indirect value too. If your readers are not using alexa toolbar, the widget will attract them to give it a try. So that will impact your ranking later on.

The placement is really easy, no matter which platform you are using. There are two types of widgets, you can either show both ranking and links numbers or only the ranking number.

If you want to show both the ranking and the link numbers, copy and paste the following HTML to your widget area (change the read marked domains with yours):

<a href=""><script type="text/javascript" src=""></script></a>

Or if you want it to show just the ranking number, then here is the code:

<a href=""><script type="text/javascript" src=""></script></a>

Increase targeted traffic

Another thing you might consider, increase targeted traffic where most of the people use that toolbar. It would be better if you leverage social media.

If you have a niche related to competitive analysis, you will automatically get those targeted traffics. You just need to focus on promoting it with your utmost.

The conclusion!

If you have read the full post, you might pass over a bit confusion. Whether is is ideal to use alexa or not? I think, the confusion is permissible because of the system and its possibilities.

My suggestion is: Don’t use alexa to compare between sites. Because you know it will be inaccurate. Instead, use the alternatives. But take advantage of some strategies to improve alexa position for your own site. So a lot of old-school advertisers might get attracted to it. In this way you will have (1) no waste or fault results (2) better number of clients.

What do you think about alexa traffic ranking? We would appreciate your opinions!

Did you find this post helpful? Get our best business blogging tips via email (it's free)!


  1. Harleena Singh December 13, 2014
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee December 13, 2014
  2. Nathaniel Kidd December 13, 2014
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee December 13, 2014
  3. Awazie ikechi December 14, 2014
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee December 14, 2014
  4. Nikshep December 14, 2014
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee December 14, 2014
  5. Navneet Teotia December 14, 2014
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee December 15, 2014
  6. Ashutosh Jha December 17, 2014
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee December 18, 2014
  7. Arpit Roy December 17, 2014
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee December 18, 2014
  8. Tuhin Deshamukhya December 18, 2014
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee December 18, 2014
  9. Philip Verghese Ariel December 25, 2014
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee December 25, 2014
  10. Carol Amato January 2, 2015
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee January 2, 2015
  11. Theo J Ellis February 10, 2015
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee February 10, 2015
  12. Joseph April 7, 2015
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee April 7, 2015
  13. N.R.N.M Jayawardhana May 17, 2015
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee May 18, 2015
  14. Jason July 31, 2015
    • Abrar Mohi Shafee August 2, 2015
    • Jason August 2, 2015
    • Jason August 15, 2015
      • Abrar Mohi Shafee August 15, 2015
        • Jason October 19, 2015
  15. Mohit Raj September 20, 2015
  16. Brian October 13, 2015
  17. Shail January 15, 2016
  18. Tabea April 23, 2016
  19. liam August 6, 2016
    • Adam Connell October 15, 2016

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This