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Alexa is a traffic monitoring system that collects data about which sites users visit.

It does this by getting users to install a toolbar into Internet Explorer. This toolbar sends data to Alexa about which site you are visiting allowing Alexa to track how many visitors a site receives. Alexa then sends back a ranking to the toolbar, allowing the user to see how popular the site is.

As only a minority of users have the plug it, the results are considered worthless by many. Alexa have to use an algorithm to calculate the actual traffic, multiplying the number of ping’s they receive by the number of users who don’t have the toolbar installed.

For example, if one in a hundred people have the toolbar installed, they multiply each ping by 100 to estimate traffic. (in reality it is a lot more complex than this, combining stat’s from different sources).

For this reason it is considered worthless by many within the industry, for all but the largest sites (whose statistics will be more stable, and consistent with Alexa’s algorithm), for smaller sites it is very erratic.

If you have the toolbar installed you often see sites with no Alexa ranking, this is not necessarily because they do not receive visitors, but because they do not have visitors with the toolbar. Conversely, some smaller sites (like this one) have an inflated Alexa ranking, by virtue of the fact that the person that spends most time on the site (me) has the toolbar installed.

Whilst many consider the toolbar worthless, there is no real alternative, and sites such as ReviewMe (who pay site owners to publish articles) use Alexa ranking as a metric.

I myself have used it to try and assess a sites traffic when considering placing advertising on it. The toolbar cannot confirm someones stats, but can help you identify a blatant liar!

A common misconception about Alexa is that only IE users add to the ranking, as the toolbar is not available for Firefox, or other browsers.

Fortunately, as firefox is an open source application, someone was able to write an Alexa Plug in for it. This plug in shows both Google and Alexa rank:

alexabar.png

Right clicking the @ symbol reveals a number of really useful SEO tools, such the ability to highlight a keyword, in the image below the word “the” has been highlighted:

text.png

Keyword density analysis:

keyword.png

Backlink’s to a page:

link.png

I use this in both Windows and Linux and it works very nicely!

So if your using Firefox and want to learn more about the site you are visiting, GO GET IT!.

If you don’t have or want the toolbar you can still get Alexa stats for a site, which are fun to look at if you have a blog or a website, well, its fun as long as the traffic goes up!

Down the left hand pane of the stats screen you will also find the Wayback machine, which has snapshots of how websites looked in the past. This can be a bit embarrassing, especially if you unwittingly bought a domain previously used by someone in Larry Flints line of work.

If your using IE, try downloading Firefox, its free, you can still keep IE on your system (in fact you will find it very difficult to remove it, a common complaint), decide for yourself which is better (or I can tell you… Firefox is better).

You can learn a lot more useful stuff about Alexa on HMTK.com

Related Posts

  • Running The Alexa Widget
  • Why I don’t believe Alexa Redirects Work
  • Now I know Alexa Re-Directs Dont Work
  • Google Page Rank Fluctuating
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    24 Comments

    Comment by HMTKSteve

    Thanks for the linkback!

    There is a minor problem with your post, right above the keyword density image. I’m only seeing half of the text above the image.

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    No, that is an image of the “Highlight Text” feature, I assume you are looking at the bit with the worth “the” highlighted in yellow.

    Regards not the link back, not a problem, your article adds to this one, or rather mine adds to yours, I wouldnt have written it if I hadnt read your post first :-)

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    [...] Boost your Alexa ranking from firefox – Jez calls me out on my earlier post about getting Alexa to like you. He shows us that there is a [...]

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    Comment by Master Nate

    I always did wonder if the SearchStatus plugin would increase the PR just like the one from Alexa.

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Yup it definately does, if you think about it the tool bar cannot get the rating back without pinging alexa, and if alexa get such a request they are going to count it.

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    Comment by Jon Lee

    Interesting! I’ve had the plug-in installed for a while but I never knew it counted towards Alexa ranking. You learn something new every day!

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Phew! glad you learned something from me too!!

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    Comment by IndoDX

    I was try to looking for this Alexa Toolbar that run on Firefox, and I was found this info in here.

    Thanks. I will install and check this out on my own PC… ^_*

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Do that, leve it running when working on your site and watch your rank rise :mrgreen:

     
     

    [...] For FireFox users there is a good Alexa Plug in which I reveiwed recently. [...]

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    Comment by Matt

    We have recently launched a great new Alexa rank boosting site. Simply register, add free credits to your URL, and sit back and relax. You’ll soon see your Alexa rank jump! Thousands of new hits daily! The network is already delivering over 1.5 million hits daily! Visit AlexaAutoSurf.com to register now!

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Yeah Ive seen this kind of scheme before, the problem is that this is very easy to do with a basic script and a couple of friends.

    The other problem I have is that your site has not Alexa rank, when your rank passes mine I may consider giving it a go….

    Comment by Matt

    The site is still extremely young, we launched it just a couple of weeks ago. Results have already been proven from some of our other sites.

    -Matt

     
     
     
    Comment by Ahmad

    The widget is awesome, not obtrusive, it just is there right where you need it…I also noticed that with the Widget a great place to boost your rank is social networking sites like alexadex, great place to have exposure you a bunch of webmasters who can see your site…and who use the toolbar or widget…

    Thanks,

    Ahmad
    http://www.ezluv.com

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    Comment by Ahmad

    Widget is damn convenient…Try alexadex if you want to boost your rank legally…A group of just toolbar users…

    Thanks,

    http://www.ezluv.com

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    Comment by Ahmad

    Try Alexadex…the secret in boosting alexa rank…FREE

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    [...] Improving Alexa Rank [...]

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    Comment by David Hopkins

    Bonjour. The Alexa toolbar was made available to FF users a while back: http://www.alexa.com/site/download/.

    There is also another site that give similar info called Compete.com, although it is biased towards US traffic. As with Alexa, the data is quite unreliable. I have a site that gets about 10 uniques a day and according to Compete.com the site gets over 1,000 uniques. Acording to them you are getting about 4,400 uniques a month. How close is that?

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Yeah that plugin adds compete also… so I am assuming that this plugin will boost compete ranking… but I have not tested that myself…

    Alexa is easily manipulated up to a point… easily get into top 50k with a bit of meddling…

     
    Comment by SiteLogic

    At the moment I am getting about 6000 uniques a month… suppose thats not a bad guess…

     
     
    Comment by David Hopkins

    Also, I am getting PR on your subpages again, but the homepage is N/A. Maybe it was due to those links on the bottom. Submitted a reinclusion request?

    P.S. The B man in back in town.

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Bart recons it was the number of supplemental pages I had… I had a translator plugin that genned a few thousand pages in other languages (which I have removed). Also my site is being scraped and there are lots of links to search results within the site… do a site search in google you will see what I mean…

    I blocked those pages on another site a while back and that site kept pr on main page… also traffic increased… but I was too lazy to do it on this site… my own fault really… but I did not think it would hit my PR….

    Doesnt really bother me as I dont sell links etc… as long as I get it back Im not that bothered… long as I dont lose SERPs…

    I will still use this site to get others indexed tho… it gets crawled by everything and allows me to get sites indexed quick… then I take links out…

    Comment by David Hopkins

    I think Bart could be right there. I have had expierice of Google not liking sites due to mass duplicate content.

    In regards to your site being scrapped. It can actually be a good thing if you add a link back to your site in the RSS feed – then you can grab a bit of link juice from the splogosphere. You could even put some spammy link text in the link. There is a plugin that doesn this for WP. Not sure of the name, Hamlet uses it and I read about it recently on Joost de Valk’s blog.

    Comment by SiteLogic

    Yeah I think that was the problem… I had a similar thing on another site.

    My traffic dropped, when I looked into changes on the site I saw there where lots of search pages were indexed… I got those dropped and my traffic increased… I should have done the same thing on this site at the time… but this site does not make money and I got lazy ;-)

    I know scraping can be good in that respect… I have heard the term “black hole SEO” used to describe this, not sure if there is a more appropriate description!

    I have not looked for my content elsewhere yet…

    Scraping the search results is a nice trick as they just pull snippets from lots of posts getting a “unique” result … a mash up… :twisted: these then get put onto “news” sites, or smam social bookmarking sites built with pligg.com … I really should build a few of those :twisted:

    So… spammy link text will have to be inserted at top of those search results… will have a look into it !

    What I dont know is why this causes my search results to get indexed… they must be linking back to original source…

     
     
     
     

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