In this modern age, it is important for businesses to establish online visibility, which is possible through having a website. This is going to help a business promote its products and services, defying geographical boundaries to reach a favorable share of the market. However, not all marketing strategies taking advantage of the internet will be marked with a high level of effectiveness.
It is important to pay attention to critical success factors, such as website traffic. If there is higher traffic, it means you are reaching more people. Low traffic, on the other hand, means your online tactics are not working successfully and corresponds to the need to have it improved.
Importance of Monitoring Website Traffic
Do you know?
Measuring success is everything in business.
Whether you are blogging for fun or for profit, monitoring website traffic is very important.
Giving attention to the traffic my blogs/websites receive helps me determine what to write and whether or not what I am writing is worth my time. If I was not paying attention to how my content was being accessed I would not know if it was being effective or not.
There are many free and premium tools that you can use to measure the success of content on your website. The most common is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is an excellent free tool that will give you great insight into the traffic your website is receiving. It gives you a breakdown of where your traffic came from, why it came there, how long it stayed, and how quickly it left to go somewhere else. Google Analytics provides a good overview of your website’s traffic.
Google Analytics is the my favourite tool to monitoring website traffic.
I’m not going to talk about Google Anaytics. Here, I’m going to talk about a premium tool which helps you to Monitoring Website Traffic of yours. It is called as “Alexa”.
Monitoring website traffic to determine blogs/websites performance can be easier nowadays, which can be accomplished with the use of revolutionary tools, such as what is being claimed by Alexa. However, with the abundance of both positive and negative reviews about Alexa, it becomes harder to decide whether it is worth giving it a shot or not. In the rest of this article, you will learn about how exactly it works and its pros and cons.
What it is and what it does?
Simply put, Alexa is a program that will allow you to determine the traffic on your website – the specific number of people who are visiting such at a given time. Traffic is going to be monitored by the Alexa Toolbar, which should be installed by the sure for their web activities to be tracked.
It’s not me saying. Alexa has written it by himself. Take a closer look here on the explanation:
Alexa could not exist without the participation of the Alexa Toolbar community. Each member of the community, in addition to getting a useful tool, gives back. By using the Firefox, Chrome and IE toolbars, every member contributes valuable information about the web, how it’s used, what’s important and what isn’t. Alexa returns this information to the community as Traffic Ranks, Related Links, and more.
Source: Alexa Toolbar
This is one of its major problems, which will be discussed further later. Some would estimate a total of 15 to 20 million download of the toolbar all over the globe, but a lot of them are no longer active. The management from Alexa also claims there are sites with external Alexa script installed in them to monitoring website traffic and activities of users. However, because it has been ranked as being suspicious by different anti-virus programs, more and more people are being doubtful on whether or not they will have it installed in their computers.
Why People Choose Alexa?
Among other things, most of the people using Alexa are asserting such to be beneficial as a competitive tool as it will provide you with the opportunity to monitor the performance of the website of your competitors. There is a comparison tool included to allow you to see the gap between your competitor and that of your own website.
More so, it is also helpful for marketers and advertisers as it will determine whether they can invest in advertising in your websites or not.
Apart from these things, however, there is not a lot to like about Alexa, and even experts would agree on such.
Why People are Not Using Alexa?
If you go online and read reviews about Alexa, you will surely find a bunch of users who are dissatisfied with such. In most cases, they are unhappy with the limited audience of Alexa because of the small number of people who install the toolbar in their computers. This is because of fears that such an extension will fetch data, which is actually going to happen once they install Alexa. Because of having limited audience, it fails to provide accurate information about website traffic.
More so, Alexa is also asserted by many to be unreliable because the basis of the ranking is merely visitor traffic, and it ignores back links and tags, amongst other factors related to search engine . The computation of the overall traffic is based only on top-level domains and does not include subpages or subdomains. Plus it can be very expensive, depending on the package you choose…
Is it worth it, I don’t think so.
What is Alexa Toolbar?
Alexa ranks sites based primarily on tracking a sample set of Internet traffic—users of its toolbar for the Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers.
Alexa Traffic Rank: See how popular a website is.
Related Links: Find sites that are similar to the site you are visiting.
Wayback: See how a site looked in the past.
Search Analytics: Find out which queries drive traffic to a site.
Here is a screenshot of analytics of Problogger.net from my browser toolbar.
Alexa Tries To Prove They Are Not Worthless
John chow says;
In Alexa’s latest blog entries, they try to prove their ranking is worth more than a clothing store at a nudist camp by comparing their traffic trends to Sitemeter stats.
Alexa ranking data is completely bogus.
If you wanted to “game” Alexa, it is actually quite easy (I will get to that).
But first, the most obvious way would be to get more website traffic to increase your Alexa rankings right?
Wrong. More traffic does not equate to higher traffic rankings in Alexa. In fact, in late 2014 I personally ran some tests and comparisons between two completely independent websites just for peace of mind and to validate all of my assumptions about Alexa over the years (that it was more of a gag site than anything).
I studied about two website to determine the accuracy of Alexa numbers. In my test,
Website A was getting 67,000+ unique visitors per day, and it’s Alexa rank is 12,975.
Website B was getting just over 12,000+ uniques per day and it’s Alexa rank is 2218.
In other words Website A was getting 6 times the traffic of Website B, but, website B have higher Alexa traffic rank than website A within their reporting!??
A few months ago, Syed Balkhi who is very much popular for his blog WPBeginner, carried out a study. He chose 3 popular sites to show how Alexa is a total bullshit. He analyzed their Alexa stats.
- WPBeginner.com (AR 1,6713)
- List25.com (AR 12,677)
- OptinMonster.com (AR 17,877)
Though all 3 sites are under 20k websites, the order is completely wrong.
List25 is the most popular among these three websites and gets way better traffic than WPBeginner, according to his Google Analytics report. But in the Alexa results, still WPBeginner has been ranked to the top. Contrary, List25 gets 6000% more traffic than OptinMonster but still ranked around List25.
The obvious, but ineffective way to get higher Alexa rankings would be to get more traffic to your website but this is simply not the case. The correct way to get higher Alexa rankings is to get more people to visit your website that have the Alexa toolbar installed.
I am not going to go into details, but based on my first point there are very few data triggers that Alexa has to work off of that are not publicly available. They have no access to ACTUAL website data (only the owner of a website has access to actual traffic stats).
The traffic data they use is based on their toolbar, so naturally the more people that visit your site that have the toolbar installed will improve your Alexa rank (hint, hint).
Should you give it a Try?
Now, the biggest question is whether you should give Alexa a try or not to monitoring website traffic. My advice is to avoid it as much as possible. Given the inaccuracies and unreliability of data, it is not going to be instrumental in any way to improve your rankings.
I hope this has added some clarity to the whole Alexasphere and if you do have anything in addition to add, any Alexa experiences or any questions about any of this content, drop me a note below and I will be more than happy to discuss.