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Alexa great or meaningless?

     
10:34 pm on Dec 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've been curious as to why my site in Alexa rank continues to decline, meanwhile the traffic to the site continues to increase.

6 months ago we were ranked much higher than we are today and were getting 1/2 the traffic we see today. does anyone know why is this?

i find it rather odd that as the site continues to grow our rank with Alexa continues to drop.

most say Alexa rank is meaningless, but i'd still like to know what would cause this behavior.

11:15 pm on Dec 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I removed the alexa toolbar off my puter ages ago, to me, it is completely and uterly useless.
11:54 pm on Dec 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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i agree., my guess is the reason my rank is dropping even with increased traffic each day is that less people are visiting my site with the toolbar installed.

Alexa should be abolished because it gives a bad impression that your site might not seem popular solely based on the toolbar usage.

i would rather not be listed at all if Alexa is going to make my site seem "less popular" when in reality it's not - just less people using their crap toolbar.

7:59 pm on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Alexa is a waste of space
9:17 pm on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Best thing to happen to the analytic internet since the Goto keyword reporter.

> I've been curious as to why my site in Alexa rank continues to decline,

If it was about 5k to begin with - then the figure was fairly inaccurate...

But why is this post in sep?

11:48 pm on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think it's pretty worthless too.
8:44 am on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Alexa did change it's stats algo a few weeks ago. My site plunged also (and my traffic is climbing as well.)
8:49 am on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Meaningless unless your site is in the Top-300 (or maybe Top-500).
9:08 am on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Alexa rankings are a poll.

Most polls are accurate to +/- 3%. If you only poll a tiny percentage of the market then how can your results be anything close to accurate? Instead of +/- 3% it becomes +/- 50% or more.

The real answer is that Alexa doesn't have a sufficient poll size to report anything that is remotely accurate.

Right now my sites are largely up according to Alexa, LMAO.....they are really all down due to seasonal factors. Not only is it inaccurate it has no real comprehension of time.

Come the first week in Jan my sites will take a hit on Alexa, at exactly the same time they bounce back from the seasonal lows.

Simply put, it is a waste of time to most people!

12:29 pm on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I find Alexa is irrelevant but agree with pmkpmk though.
1:32 pm on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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While lots of people continue to find it a waste of time I continue to find Alexa information extremely useful and continue to use Alexa as one of my more important tools.

>> i would rather not be listed at all
Then ban the bot.

8:15 pm on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Its good for general competitive intelligence.

I find it good to find out who your real competition is.

ie, you would be woried if a competitor with an alexa ranking of 9000, was slashing prices. You would not be worried if that same competitor had an alexa ranking of 1,000,000

Its good for separating the competition from the want-to-be's

Now a site could block Alexa, say 6 days out of 7, to lower its Alexa score, as a form of counter-intelligence, but i doubt that it has come down to this yet.

8:30 pm on Dec 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Someone rightly pointed out earlier, the Nielsen television rating system only polls a few thousand families out of millions. Millions upon millions of advertising dollars are spent based on the results of that poll.

"It's not how big it is it's how you use it"

" Alexa rankings are a poll.

Most polls are accurate to +/- 3%. If you only poll a tiny percentage of the market then how can your results be anything close to accurate? Instead of +/- 3% it becomes +/- 50% or more. "

9:50 pm on Dec 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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...If you only poll a tiny percentage of the market...

In this case, that tiny percentage is largely Asian. I fail to see how this is relevant to anything other than that demographic. As a side note, out of curiosity, by installing the Alexa toolbar and hitting my own site, I was able to bring it from about 110,000 to 45,000 in a couple weeks time - hence my low opinion of this "poll's" accuracy.
2:57 pm on Dec 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Mostly meaningless especially if your site is one that is heavily used at major corporations or university locations that really limit toolbar installations. I view their results as mostly a consumer/in-the-home estimate of traffic.
3:42 pm on Dec 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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that tiny percentage is largely Asian

More like a specific area in Asia. The devil is sometimes in the detail. ;)

if your site is one that is heavily used at major corporations or university locations that really limit toolbar installations

Opportunity?

by installing the Alexa toolbar and hitting my own site, I was able to bring it from about 110,000 to 45,000

There's a lesson in there beyond, "Alexa Rank Can Be Manipulated" ;)
3:58 pm on Dec 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>Most polls are accurate to +/- 3%. If you only poll a tiny percentage of the market then how can your results be anything close to accurate? Instead of +/- 3% it becomes +/- 50% or more. "

I believe this is incorrect (and actually, the way you've expressed it is also incorrect). If you assume the population you've polled is a random sample, and the population fits the normal distribution - the ole bell curve - then you really only need to sample or poll about 1000 people to claim it's accurate to within 3% or so.

Where the stats quoted go astray is that in addition to the +/-, there should be another % as well. i.e. it should say the poll is accurate to within 3%, 95% of the time. the other 5% of the time you'd expect that the survey results are further out of line than a 3% margin.

In short, as long as you've actually selected a random cross section of the population (tough to do) and the other assumptions hold, then you can actually claim numbers like +/- 3% with a sample size of only about 1000. (that's also why you'll sometimes see "+/- 3%, 19 times out of 20" - or 95%of the time).

4:01 pm on Dec 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>There's a lesson in there beyond, "Alexa Rank Can Be Manipulated" ;)

I guess that begs the question, is there any commercial value to being ranked in Alexa?

I don't know, is there?

8:05 am on Dec 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>"If you assume the population you've polled is a random sample"

Alexa is not a random sample, it is webmasters and Geeks. A tiny percentage of the true population.

Will these people not be more partial to certain types of sites. Yes, WebMasterWorld.com should do great on Alexa, it is a Geek site. But, that is not a random sample.

At the end of the day Alexa can predict popularity among Geek sites, but, not among the general population, which is the bigger number.

Alexa is a small % player, whatever it says doesn't much matter as Yahoo and Goggle both replicate the functions with a much larger poll.

So the real question is why do we need Alexa at all? Why not just use the numbers from Google, Yahoo and to some extent MSN?

2:26 am on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've worked in sample design and percentages pretty much got it right.

There is a bias among those that install the Alexa toolbar (just like the Google toolbar), especially among Geeks. WebmasterWorld's actual rank will be overstated because of this bias. Two good examples might include myspace (currently 14) versus Wikipedia (around 35). Since Wikipedia has lots of Geeks writing articles, I suspect their actual traffic is overstated relative to myspace.

The other problem with Alexa is that it is subject to gaming because of the way the tool works. This gaming is often apparent by looking at a long term trend. I used to frequent a blackhat forum (I'm a convert now, even though the money was better back then) and that forum had a very high Alexa ranking even though it was relatively quiet there.

As a gross estimating tool, it is actually pretty interesting - you can pick a top 50,000 from a 1,000,000+ site.

So to answer your question - you've got more visitors without the toolbar installed than you did in the past (for whatever reason).

3:11 am on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think it is worthless because it can be easily manipulated.

It just makes you wonder...how many of those 30,000 or less sites manipulate their own total to make advertisers believe they are worth more. Sad really. If you are selling advertising it makes you ponder the idea of installing the toolbar to make yourself look better...like a woman does when she applies make-up ( can't hurt to look your best, even though it's not what you really look like :) Not that I would

3:53 am on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Whether Alexa is trash, easily manipulated, a waste of time or the greatest thing since sliced bread may not matter as much as what the person evaluating your website thinks.
5:09 am on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The short version: Take it with a grain of salt.

The long version:
I am changing my tune from saying it is completely worthless to saying it can be used as a general guideline and can be an indicator of certain things, so long it is used along with other tools and it is used with the knowledge that it can be influenced.

Were someone to use AR as a solitary guideline to determine a site's worth, I would say this person perhaps lacks certain knowledge or information and is possibly making an uninformed choice / decision.

Were someone to use AR along with several other tools provided by alexa and then several more tools provided by other parties, then it is likely Alexa can help in the determination of said value.

For example:
A site with an Alexa ranking of 10k means little in and of itself, very little.
A site with an AR of 10k, a listing in the Y! directory, a Gpr of 5, a load-time of 12 seconds @ 28.8kbps AND a linkpop of 5k+ is MORE likely to have something under the hood.

Ultimately nothing is guaranteed but as a rule, if ALL indications point towards the fact that a site is a little better than the rest, then it is likely the site IS more than just another...

6:54 am on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Only geeks use the Alexa toolbar? I think its the opposite IMHO:

1) Not many self respecting geeks I know would be caught dead with the alexa trashware installed on their PC's.

2) Alexa toolbar on works with Internet Exploiter 5.0 or greater and no self respecting geek would use THAT piece of trashware either ;-)

7:25 am on Dec 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Is anyone noticed that Alexa’s Ranking went berserk lately?
I’m talking last week alone.