A recent study by Alexa.com revealed that in the US alone, 12.6 million people visit Amazon.com each year. The report also found that 70% of internet users prefer to use the site for product searches, while over 55% say they've purchased a product from Amazon in the past year. In other words, these numbers represent a significant chunk of consumers who could be shopping at other retailers if it weren't for Amazon's extensive product offering and low prices.
A lot can be said about how much you should really care about Alexa traffic rank. It is a metric that gives an estimate of the total number of visits to a website, but it doesn't take into account the site's popularity on search engines. A site with a high rank may not have as many visitors as one that has a lower rank. What's more, the rank only tells you what the site is doing at that moment in time.
The Alexa Traffic Rank is a metric that is made available to the public for free. It reflects the global popularity of a site or page, based on data from Amazon's Audience. The rank is updated hourly and can be tracked over time. The system takes into account the number of visitors who access content on your site, as well as how long they stay there, with their behavior on other sites being used as an indication of their interest in yours.
Alexa is an Amazon-owned corporation that is well-known for providing a public traffic ranking service via its alexa.com website, which is also owned by Amazon. When it comes to website marketing tips, how to enhance your Alexa ranking is generally the most talked-about topic, since a top ranking is often connected with significant earnings. As a new webmaster, you must be aware of a few extremely crucial aspects of Alexa's service that must be understood. This post will explain what the data gathered by Alexa means, and then discuss whether you should be concerned about it.
Alexa gives three metrics: reach, page views, and overall rank. Reach is the number of people who have visited a website. The proportion of all online users that visited your site is referred to as your reach. According to Alexa, this is the “reach per million users” figure. In the case of Alexa, a reach of one indicates that on average, one out of every one million web browsers comes to your site. A website's page views are just the average number of pages that a visitor looks at while on the site in question.
Sites with a lot of material and users who are specifically looking for it tend to produce a higher number of page views. Alexa ranks websites based on a combination of their reach and page views counts, with the bigger both being more than one, and the lower the site's rank being greater than one; a smaller rank implies a more significant website in Alexa's eyes. Alexa provides these statistics for each day, one week, and three month averages, as well as the overall change over a three-month period, according to the company. So, how does Alexa go about gathering this information?
In order to compile statistics on the number of visits and page views for every website on the Internet, Alexa gathers data from each website every day. In reality, it does not include information on all the sites. To explain further, data collecting occurs via online users who have downloaded and installed the Alexa toolbar for their Internet Explorer browser. A site is visited and explored by one of these users, and information about the site is sent to Alexa's servers via the toolbar on their computer. What this implies for webmasters is that only those sites visited by users who have elected to install the toolbar will have data gathered for them. This means that only those sites visited by users who have decided to install the toolbar will have data collected for them.
Due to the fact that the toolbar is used by a very tiny percentage of all available Web surfers (less than one percent), the ranking is a statistical average and not always a real representation of the quality and quantity of readers on a particular site. In truth, the statistic is quite incorrect for sites with a tiny number of visitors, and Alexa acknowledges that this is true for sites that do not rank within the top 100,000 in terms of traffic volume.
Furthermore, the toolbar is only accessible for Internet Explorer, which makes the situation much more difficult. Of course, Internet Explorer (IE) is the browser used by the vast majority of Internet users, with statistics indicating that it is used by around 83 percent of them (onestat.com). The fact that your audience is more likely to be among the other 17 percent of surfers, i.e. those who prefer to use Firefox or Safari or another alternative browser, is not an issue. slashdot.org is a technology news website with a readership that is well-known for being strongly anti-Microsoft; the site's slogan is “No Microsoft, No Peace.” “Nerds will like this piece of news. Things that are important.”
A reasonable assumption is that the vast majority of its users would use a browser other than Internet Explorer, and in fact, it was recently reported that an estimated 65 percent of Slashdot's readers use a browser other than Internet Explorer. As of this writing (on July 12, 2006), Slashdot was ranked 176 out of a possible million surfers, with a reach of 5450 per million surfers. Slashdot is well-known for something known as the “Slashdot effect,” which occurs when an article on the main page links to a site, which gets an influx of visitors that overwhelms the site's servers, causing it to crash. As a result, I would anticipate that Slashdot's rank on Alexa is an underestimation of its genuine position.
If we look at it from the perspective of statistics, Alexa's rank cannot be considered an impartial statistical metric. Users of Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer, as well as those who are willing to install the Alexa toolbar and provide information about their browsing habits, make up the sample of individuals utilized by Alexa for data collection, rather than being drawn from a random sample. If your target audience is anything like Slashdot's, you shouldn't anticipate accurate results. If your target audience includes individuals who are pro-privacy and would never install a toolbar that phones home and makes their surfing habits known to a huge organization, you can expect the same response.
So, if you truly want to be accurate when it comes to the amount of people and page views on your website, you should utilize analytics software, such as Google Analytics, rather than Alexa. Although many marketers rely on Alexa's rating as a neutral third-party evaluation of a site's popularity, many advertisers also consult Alexa in order to decide how much advertising space is worth on a certain site. Because of this, many webmasters prominently display their Alexa ranking on their home page or other landing pages. If you happen to be at the top of Alexa's ranking, you should be able to reap the benefits of it; if you are not, you shouldn't be too concerned about it and shouldn't lose any sleep over it. Concentrate on providing new material to your website; this will allow you to draw more traffic to your site via the main search engines, while also keeping your visitors coming back.