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General Search Engine Marketing Issues Forum

Alexa rank manipulation
businesses offering to improve rank

 2:46 am on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I occasionally check out Alexa, although I think the numbers are sometimes skewed (seems it only records traffic based on who has their toolbar). So I stumble on to a site recently that promises to improve the alexa rating of any site, the number of visits your site gets are proportional to the amount of money you pay them.

They claim that they can easily get someone under the 100,000 mark, the idea being that the manipulated figures allow people to wow potential advertisers (obviously unethical). I have a general idea of what it is they are doing, and their site's own alexa rating was indeed pretty good. I'm guessing, though, that taking part in something like that and sending fake traffic is a sure way to get you booted from google and/or yahoo?

I'm not totally sure what it is they do, but I was wondering if search engines were hip to it.



 2:48 am on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

quick sidenote: is there a practical means of finding out how much traffic sites are getting other than Alexa?


 4:02 am on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Good lord... please don't even THINK of paying someone to get you to the under 100,000 mark.

A, it ain't worth nothin.

B, Do it yourself. Install the Alexa toolbar on your machine, make the site homepage your browser home page, and just open your browser or return to the home page about a dozen or so times during the day.

...the manipulated figures allow people to wow potential advertisers

Well, out of the loop advertisers maybe. Or you could more easily wow them by taking five minutes to educate them on why those rankings mean so little and have them forever grateful that they will never fall for the 'I have an Alexa ranking of 99,999' spiel again.

Of course... in the loop advertisers are already writing you off as soon as you mention the ranking.

Disclaimer: The very high rankings (say under 5,000) do mean something. Either they do have genuinely high traffic, or they have a community of web-savvy or webmaster type users - ala WebmasterWorld. But if they're offering you 100,000 as a goal? pffffttt!


 4:04 am on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

oh, in terms of potential penalties from Yahoo, Google et al?

I really don't think they care. I'd be horribly surprised if Alexa rankings featured in their algos at all :)


 7:35 am on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I used to have an alexa rank around 80k. Now it's around 140k - but I actually get more traffic.

What changed? I now block Korea (too many hackers / script kidddies, no customers) - for whatever reason a large portion of Alexa's user base is out of Korea.

May be useful in getting a rough idea of traffic to -larger- sites.


 3:29 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I disagree that a high Alexa ranking means nothing. Yes, you can manipulate the numbers, just as you can anything else. However, in my position, I get 10-15 calls per day from media companies stating that their site gets 50,000 visitors per day and advertising with them is a smart move. Going to their site and seeing that their Alexa ranking is 3.2 million, that tells me right there they are lying. Now, we all know that nearly all marketing people lie - I am just grateful to Alexa ... as I can find out much quicker that they are lying. :-)




 4:02 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

is there a practical means of finding out how much traffic sites are getting other than Alexa?

a little more accurate than alexa is metricsmarket.com


 7:33 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Does anybody have experience with metricsmarket.com?
(especially with the paid service?)




 7:57 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

You need to ask yourself what value is there in manipulating your alexa rating.

If you're in the business of impressing potential customers then having a good alexa rating could be a selling point for your services - that is if you are in the business of fooling people into believing you know how to generate traffic.

As a publisher I can care less about faking a good alexa rating. It's not going to drive additional traffic or increase my commissions.


 8:58 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I notice on the days I visit my site alot, my Alexa rank is much higher. I don't put too much faith in it, but the popup blocker on the toolbar sure works well!

I'm not so sure about metricsmarket.com. I checked my traffic there one day and it said I had 36,000 visiters over the last 30 days. The very next day I checked it, and it said I had over 72,000 visiters over the last 30 days. And no, I didn't have 36k visitors in a single day.

Any idea how they estimate traffic?


 9:05 am on May 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

There is a music-interest site I run where certain people are interviewed. These guys usually know who the credible magazines are, but with websites its a little more shaky. I suppose they could visit a site, look at its content, look at who else had been interviewed. In one case, though, I did have a publicist turn down an interview on the strength of the site having a relative poor Alexa rating. I think they wanted to determine if the site was getting enough traffic for it to be worth their time (in their opinion it wasn't)


 12:34 am on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

So if someone visits the webmasterworld forum with the Alexa toolbar on and clicks on various threads, does it affect the Alexa rating more so than just visiting the homepage and not reading any of the forums?


 12:56 am on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am pretty sure Alexa ranks by domain, that is why when you go to some crappy geocities or tripod homepage they all have great Alexa rankings. Fooled me the first time when looking at a geocities page, but not again. So in answer to your question. I think whenever someone visits a thread it adds a tally.

This might have changed as I have uninstalled that spyware a few months ago. Do a quick check and find a geocities homepage and you'll have your answer.



 9:37 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

In the same sense of finding out if someone is lying about their traffic through their Alexa rating, the tables could turn. A site can manipulate their ranking on Alexa and then claim they get X amount of visitors and to check Alexa.

Alexa to me is nothing more than a fun little tool to play around with. It's basically a sneaky way of plugging adware into your computer. It does absolutely nothing for me.


 8:01 pm on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Someone said reloading the page multiple times will help. I believe they only count one visit per page per IP address. Can anyone confirm?



 5:57 am on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have manipulated the Alexa rankings - I boosted one site using the homepage visit regularly method. Why - I found out that one of my competitors was stating "look at our rankings so much better than (mysite)" - and calling/mailing advertisers on my site. This stopped very soon afterwards.

Stats below the 50K point are meaningless. It is sooo easy to manipulate.

The alexa browser bar is spyware.

> However, in my position, I get 10-15 calls per day from media companies stating that their site gets 50,000 visitors per day and advertising with them is a smart move. Going to their site and seeing that their Alexa ranking is 3.2 million, that tells me right there they are lying

The only useful thing about it in the sub 50K point.

-- BUT --

Above 15K it does show who the big players are, this should be taken with a good deal of thought though. Each market has differing user bases and these are more or less likely to have Alexa installed, in the webmastering world then installations of the bar will be more common than in the fashion world.

This means WebmasterWorld has a higher position compared to leading fashion sites; but when comparing like with like the relative positions are useful.


 8:58 am on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Going to their site and seeing that their Alexa ranking is 3.2 million, that tells me right there they are lying

I would correct that to probably lying. It could be that they are getting 50K visitors who do NOT have the toolbar.

>> Above 15 K...
I would say above 10K...

The lower the number (i.e. the better the rank) the more likely that it's not fiddled by the owners. There are a lot of things
to watch out for. Geocities types, artificially bumped rank (compare traffic rank with "reach") etc. A domain that redirects to
a well ranked site will continue to carry that good rank even when it becomes a standalone page with zero visitors. We've had
one like that which is still holding the exact same rank as the page it used to redirect to two years ago.

Having a good Alexa rank does help as a little bargaining point when you are selling sites ;)

As does a good trafficranking.com rank, and PR.


 3:47 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Somebody suggested to me recently that if you place a link to your site on someone's geocities page, it bumps you up in search engines on the strength of geocities strong rank and traffic. Or maybe it was Angelfire.


 12:42 pm on May 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

No not true DXL.
If the geocities page has good pr and your link is on the page, it will help the same as a normal ranking webpage.



 5:47 am on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

my site also doesn't have that much visitors. but as per that site it display more than 36000 estimated visitors in last 30 days. even alexa also had give good ranking for my e-guru.org but we really dont have that much traffic on our website.

i think i am using my website from alexa thats why we are getting such a good ranking.

but i dont think we should belive on alexa ranking bcos there no logic behind alexa ranking as per my observations.

now i got the idea that how to bring high ranking on alexa.

use your website regularly in alexa tool bar and after some days you will find your website got a very nice ranking on alexa.

anybody can give any reliable ranking systems detail?


 3:45 am on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just to see what would happen, I asked someone who regularly visits a message board I moderate to install the Alexa toolbar and to keep it on when they visited the site.

In the space of about 3-4 weeks, the rank went from around 4,500,000 to about 260,000. And that was ONE person with the toolbar installed (a bit of a forum junkie, though). That being said, its clear that Alexa ratings don't mean a whole lot unless its someone in the top 15,000.


 4:41 am on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Me too.

I just installed the Alexa toolbar last week, and then look at our web site a couple of times per day.

Rank rose from over 1,000,000 to under 800,000 in a couple of days and will no doubt rise more. All the "indicators" such as "reach", "pageviews rank" all up by several hundred percent just from ONE toolbar. Meaningless drivel unless you're in the top few thousand I reckon.

One of our competitors wrote a ridiculous email to many local businesses, including us, about linking between us making us stronger etc..and proudly saying their site was the most visited in our niche, with an Alexa rank of..blah blah. I guess he has the toolbar installed on several computers. Well, I guess we'll catch up soon enough.


 12:57 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I too have used Alexa to refute certain claims. I never use it as Gospel, but when someone tells me that x site gets 100,000 unique visitors a day, and I see that they rank about 2 million on Alexa, have a 2 PR on Google, and have less than 10 links in, I love to call their bluff. I do allot of ad buying for my clients and they love it when I show them how bad someone is BSing them. It saves them allot of money.



 5:47 am on Jun 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Up to 640,000 now. I really wonder how far you can go just with one computer, one toolbar, just by loading your site a few times per day... I reckon within a month or so, it'll be much higher. Looking at the full info page on alexa, I see the 1 week average is 277,000, so it should climb that high. Why do I care? Just want to see how high it can go. Imagine if all computers in your office had the Alexa toolbar and had your web site as home page...Maybe that's how Google gets so high? (ha ha)


 1:41 am on Jun 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Oddly enough - I do the exact opposite: I make sure I stay OFF my own site and those of my direct competitors on browsers with the Alexa toolbar installed.

Why? Because I find the comparitive figures within my sector very useful - and I don't want to mess that up.

I also use Alexa to educate potential advertisers. (Many of whom are EXTREMELY non tech-savvy, and advertise on sites that nobody ever visits, then wonder why they don't get any results!

I've been monitoring my sites, and about 50 others in my sector monthly for 4 years now - and apart from a blip in 2001 when it hugely over-counted my site, it seems pretty accurate. (I believe they've changed their algo since 2001).

You can watch sites come and go in popularity over the months and years, and often see WHY as well - (adding new content, lots of advertising, etc).

Having seen the Hitwise data for my sector, there were some differences (you'd expect that, I was looking at Hitwise UK data), but not a lot of huge surprises - I already knew the relative sizes of most of the players from Alexa. Sure Hitwise data is more robust - but at the price, so it should be!

In other words, all the sites I KNOW the stats of ('cos I have access to the logs), are in the right order, roughly where you'd expect them to be given their traffic.

Sure it's not infallible - it COULD be manipulated (if you had nothing better to do - though I don't think anyone in my sector is bothering) - data outside the top 100,000 or so isn't too meaningful, and comparing figures across subject areas would be a bad idea.

But used carefully, and interpreted properly, I find Alexa data extremely useful.

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