Alexa dotcom provides a web information service on Internet traffic, specifically volume of traffic to a site during the preceding 3 month period.
Alexa ranks sites based on visits from users of its Alexa toolbar for certain browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox; there is currently no download available for Safari.
It is unknown as to what proportion of all Internet users actually have the toolbar installed, and of those with it installed - just how many are representative of the everyday Internet user. Though Alexa (a subsidiary of amazon.com) claims millions of downloads and "one of the largest web crawls," many feel the rankings are skewed the way of the traffic volume initiated such as advertisers, webmasters and website developers, and I tend to agree with them; let's face it, who else would be interested in how much traffic a site receives?
It was only when I authored this site that I became aware of Alexa through the variety of SEO & website optimisation newsletters I would receive. I decided to install the toolbar, and found that my three sites were all unranked. Of course, a week later they had a ranking (of about 16 - 20 million) - at least partly due to my own visits; once I had visited, Alexa knew of the existence of my sites and so the tracking commenced.
The rankings are decided on number of visits and a page view factor. Of two sites with an identical number of Alexa toolbar visitors, the one receiving more page views will be the higher ranked. Only unique page views count; a site of 10 pages can therefore have a maximum page view figure of 10, regardless of the number of multiple views of the same page.
The toolbar does track your movements across the Internet and is therefore regarded by most Spyware programmes as hazardous to your online security. When your Spyware software detects the Alexa files it will flag them and suggest they be deleted; one can add an "exception" to prevent this from happening - and stop those same files from continuously being reported as threats.
How to improve your Alexa ranking
Simple, get more people with the Alexa toolbar to visit your site. For starters, make your website your home page, as all your own visits will also be counted - I think to a maximum of 2 per day from the same IP.
Offer a link to the Toolbar download section of Alexa to enable more of your site users to install it (remember to warn them about the "spyware" aspect.)
Incidentally, any script from other sites running on your pages will count as an Alexa visit to that site; this has the interesting effect of placing my Ning community site (unadvertised, and used solely to store photos and music) within spitting distance rank-wise of this one, even though that site itself receives only about 5 direct visits a day (compared to the 300 - 500 visiting this site.)
Does your traffic rank matter?
Not nearly as much as your Page Rank from an advertising point of view, though it might matter if you were trying to sell your business and/ or dotcom. In that eventuality I suppose I would be more interested in log file records or Google Analytics statistics concerning all traffic rather than the Alexa rank derived from the toolbars of a self-selected few.
Still, I enjoy the Alexa ranking statistics and to find out which countries my viewers are visiting from. The figures are revised twice weekly (Wednesday & Saturday in my part of the world) and it's fun to receive some idea of where one stands in relation to the rest of the website world.
Not to be taken too seriously though.
Download the Alexa Toolbar for IE or Firefox :
offers even more traffic data than Alexa, I've included a screenshot.
In : Website Promotion
Tags: alexa "who is" "john cowburn" "traffic rank" "alexa toolbar" "alexa toolbar download" "website traffic"