Alexa Knowledge

For most casual internet users, Alexa probably isn't an interesting site to visit. After all, it looks like any other search engine on the net. However, for website administrators, SEOs and those who are simply wanting to know more about website rankings, it has become more than indispensable.

Because of this, the site has also become very important for web sites who want to reach higher in the rankings. In fact, this is the main feature that has made Alexa very popular. However, the newbie might feel a bit confused about the stats the the site churns out. And so, here's a quick guide in understanding how the whole thing works.

Probably the first question that would come to your mind is how Alexa ranks the pages. According to its homepage, Alexa ranks pages by determining how many people go through the site each day. The data for this one is gathered from that Alexa toolbar that users install on their browsers.

This data is then displayed as a traffic graph when requested on the site. The graph presents a period of your site's operation, showing your monthly performance. Note that the graph is periodic on a weekly basis, this is because internet traffic tends to change during weekdays and return to higher levels during the weekends. This mainly due to external things, like weekdays being allotted to work by internet users. However, by looking at the graph on a monthly basis, you will be able to see that trends that determine whether your site has increased in rankings or not.

Alexa also displays related information about the web site being monitored. Below the traffic graph, there is a table displaying the percent of use according to country. There is also a comparison between the site's overall global ranking and it's ranking on the country of origin. Also, Alexa provides internal rankings of the site's individual pages, so you can determine the most frequented sections. Commonly used keywords for the site is also provided, along with percentage of users. Finally, you will also notice that it also gives a quick overview of the site's average loading time, which is useful in determining how the site will load.

One main problem with Alexa, however, is that it uses an add on toolbar for data collection. This means that the rankings will depended on the number of actual Alexa toolbar users. Thus, in some case, you will come up to a site with a high Alexa rank but is rater lower on other search engines. And since there are no currently available data on how many people have the Alexa toolbar installed, there is no way to determine the accuracy of the data it generates.

This has lead many internet observers to issue a caution against relying too much on Alexa for rankings. However, it is still quite useful as a gauge in determining your site's relative strength. And in order to have a better picture of your site's actual performance, it would be a good idea to use it alongside other ranking systems for better comparison.

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