Alexa rank

Alexa rank is a simple yet powerful metrics for domains. It is the traffic order of the domains as extrapolated from Alexa toolbar statistics. I.e. an Alexa rank of 10,000 means that this is the 10,000th most visited website on the planet. Thus, lower Alexa rank is better. However, this is just an estimation, not an accurate metrics.

Alexa toolbar is a browser extension that can be installed for most of the web browsers. During the installation of the toolbar, demographic data, like gender, age, education and household income are shared with Alexa. When using a browser with an installed Alexa toolbar, internet consumption data are shared with Alexa, e.g. the visited pages and time spent on different websites. Alexa than collects these data all around the world and order the websites mostly based on total time spent on a given website.

Thus, it can be considered like a Google Analytics that everyone has access to it, although unfortunately much less accurate. Website owners can sign up for certified data from $10 a month. In such a case they have to install a tracking code and their statistics will be not estimated anymore but measured correctly.

Certified Alexa metrics of a popular website

Certified Alexa metrics of a popular website

Alexa rank and statistics are very important to valuate a website and get more insight into its traffic quality and quantity. Alexa is owned by Amazon. There is an Alexa API available for developers to retrieve statistics in a programmatic way.

While it is very inaccurate and can be manipulated, here are some real visitor numbers and Alexa ranks to get an intention:

Alexa rankreal daily trafficindustrymain country
3000080000entertainmentUSA
2000002500fontsUSA
4000002500scienceUSA
400000400programmingUSA
50000050WordpressIndia
8000001000scienceUSA
900000300entertainmentUSA
2000000500classifiedsHungary

Available data

  • Current Alexa rank and historical Alexa ranks (for the top 100,000 domains)
  • Country ranks: Ranks are calculated to each country. Of course a good Alexa rank for USA is more valuable than for an undeveloped country.
  • User engagement: Bounce rate, time spent and pages visited on average. These are very inaccurate statistics according to my experience. Since most of the site owners has an Alexa toolbar and they spend more time on their own website, these statistics looks almost always better than the reality.
  • Percentage of search visits: Free organic traffic from search engines are the dream of every webmasters. A high percent of organic traffic makes a website more valuable.
  • Main keywords: A great spying tool, what searches drive traffic to the website. It is much less accurate than Semrush but not useless.
  • Upstream sites: Provides some information about the referral traffic of the site, since users often go back to the site where they came from. E.g. high percentage of facebook.com means that the website gets lots of traffic from social networks.
  • Inbound links: URLs that contain links to the analyzed domain. Not as comprehensive as e.g. Opensiteexplorer but still useful.
  • Audiance demographics: The same that are asked when someone installs the toolbar. Can be informative for top ranked websites.

Pitfalls

Alexa rank is easy to manipulate. Since traffic estimation is based on Alexa toolbar users, which is only a very small fraction of internet users, a small group of dedicated users with a toolbar can produce quite well (below 1 million) Alexa rank. E.g. a small company website, where the homepage is set to the company page by default and Alexa toolbar is installed on all computer will have very good Alexa rank. Additionally, since traffic estimations are country based, toolbar users from e.g. China can produce better global Alexa rank, because their traffic will be multiplied with a higher number because of the huge population of China.

Alexa toolbar is mostly intalled by webmasters, therefore websites in different topics have no equal chances for a good Alexa rank. E.g. topics like SEO, link directories, webmaster forums, hosting websites always have better Alexa rank than a woman magazine or an online game with the same traffic. The lower is the Alexa rank, the better is the estimation. However, even at very good (low) ranks, the topic of the website heavily influence the rank. As an approximation, a Tumblr-type website with daily 100,000 visitors can have worse Alexa rank as a link directory with 1000 daily visitors.

Most visited websites

Alexa rank is used to identify the most visited websites on the net. Based on country ranks in the United States, these are the most visited websites at the moment.

Alexa rank in USADomain name
1Google.com
2Facebook.com
3Amazon.com
4Youtube.com
5Yahoo.com
6Ebay.com
7Wikipedia.org
8Twitter.com
9Craigslist.org
10Reddit.com

Conclusion

Alexa rank is one of the most important tool to analyze the traffic of a web property. While it is highly inaccurate, especially at higher ranks, it provides valuable information on the volume and source of the traffic of every single website.

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