Every website owner wants to get good results in any analytics tools available.
While most if not all websites rely on Google Analytics to get real-time analysis of their site, there are other tools to consider too. Those tools can be used to get a glimpse of websites popularity on the web, as well as their rank compared to competitors.
One of which is Alexa, which boasts a single metric that provides a quick summary of a site's popularity, relative to all other websites on the web.
How it does this, is by analyzing traffic data panel consisting of millions of internet users around the world. Based on the data from this sample, Alexa's algorithm ‘corrects’ various potential biases and attempts to compensate for visitors who might not be in Alexa’s measurement panel, and normalizes the data based on the geographical location of visitors.
The result is an estimate number of visitors to all sites on the internet.
Alexa estimates the average daily visitors and pageviews to every site over the past 3 months. Website with the highest combination of visitors and pageviews over that time period, is number one on its list.
As for the strategies to rank better, Alexa gave several tactics:
- Produce engaging and original contents: Contents that are frequently added with the goal to value the audience, should have a better chance in ranking well in Alexa.
"Content that strays from this motivation fails to build loyal audiences. When readers find resources valuable and informative, they engage with future content and share among their networks (link building), introducing new visitors that potentially turn into customers. Quality content is also being rewarded by search engines like Google, which is taking steps to get better answers faster for the end user."
- Get more backlinks from related sites: Also known as inbound links, this strategy helps search engines define the niche of a site, and also increases trust and quality. Link juices from a reputable website for example, will give sites it links to, the credibility they need to rank higher up.
"This tactic must be supported by producing engaging, original content, because why lead targeted visitors to your site if they don’t want to stay?" continued Alexa. "You should use linking appropriately. Excessive linking can reduce the credibility or readability of your site and may be penalized by search engines."
Websites should also pay attention to internal links, as they are beneficial to guide visitors through a website.
- Find the appropriate keywords: If competitors are doing well, website owners may want to analyze their competitors' keywords, to then optimize their site for those keywords too. Webmasters and web owners may also want to buy PPC campaigns for those keywords.
"By doing a little keyword research you can understand what your audiences are searching for and how. In a way, keyword research is learning to speak your customers’ language in the context of their needs and desires."
- Understand competitors’ marketing strategy: Here, webmasters and web owners are required to analyze their competition, and see whether or not their strategy works on them.
"There are several reasons why analyzing your competition matters, but in a nutshell competitive analytics puts your own site analytics into context," explained Alexa. This should give insights about what metrics are important, and what strategies they can copy, and also allowing webmasters to identify and anticipate industry trends.
- Use SEO: A no brainer, as search engine optimization is an important strategy to improve rank. SEO is not just to improve the visibility of a site, as it also makes websites better for the audience.
"Without a good user experience you have little hope of keeping or converting your customers," continued Alexa.
Another way is by installing the Alexa Toolbar, which sends website activity to Alexa's server. This would save each website activity of visitors, which should improve rank if many visitors are using it. This toolbar counts every hit from visitor and can increase Alexa Rank quickly.
For a more accurate Alexa Rank, users can certify their site’s metrics on Alexa. Websites that are certified, can have their metrics directly measured by Alexa instead of just an estimation.
In Alexa Rank, Google sits a the peak of the "short tail".
What webmasters and web owners must know is that, the further a site is from the peak, like when sitting at the "long tail", moving up a rank involves getting a small number of traffic.
What this means, smaller or new websites should have their Alexa Rank fluctuates pretty much on each counter update.
On the other hand, websites that sit at the "short tail", would have to get tons of visitors to move up just a rank. This translates to sites with Alexa Rank below 100,000 to have more stable ranks.
"The important thing to notice is that because of the shape of the distribution, a very small change in the number of visitors to a site on the long tail results in a large change in rank," explained Alexa. "There’s a huge difference in traffic to a site ranked 10 versus a site ranked 200."
Sitting at the number one spot, is Google.com, which has no doubt a huge number of visitors. Google here, sits at the peak of the "short tail".
Alexa Internet, Inc. is an American web traffic analysis company based in San Francisco. It is a subsidiary of Amazon, after it was acquired in 1999 for approximately $250 million in Amazon stock..
It was co-founded back in April 1996 by Brewster Kahle. The company's name was chosen in homage to the Library of Alexandria of Ptolemaic Egypt.
As one of the oldest web analytics tool available on the web, Alexa gives an estimation of websites' popularity, and also the overall value of internet businesses. Many have used Alexa Rank to gauge a business's health, and also to know whether it's trending up or down.
Since lower is better, and vice versa, many business owners on the web agonize over their Alexa Rank and work tirelessly to improve it.
What must be highlighted is that, people just love sticking numbers to things, usually to compare and contrast them with others similar. And here, websites are no exception. Alexa Rank can be a good thing, because after all, the numbers are the metrics which give some judgement of webmasters' hard work.
This should also give some feedback, pleasing website owners as they know that their site is popular.
However, webmasters should not stick to Alexa, as they work their way to the top.
The reason for this is simple: Alexa's tool cannot gather data from everybody because it obviously doesn’t have the access to everybody’s browsing habits. The tool can only gather data from a subset of a few million users. What's more, the data can also be manipulated through certain means.
So again, Alexa is just a analytics tool which gives a rank based on its own calculation. What this means, data from Alexa can be way off from one site to another.
It doesn't mean that those sites with better Alexa Rank makes more revenue than those that are sitting lower. There are way too many calculations needed to come to that conclusion, and Alexa is not a tool for that.
Here, Alexa is better be used only for comparison purposes, and as a complementary tool to strengthen a site's SEO strategy. It shouldn’t be used as the primary tool for monitoring traffic since results can be relative and inaccurate.
This is especially true for sites with Alexa Rank higher than 100,000.