Another Round of Changes for Alexa

copyblAlexa, Amazon’s web site traffic ranking tool, seems to have pushed through a pretty dramatic change to their ranking algorithm this week. While no announcement was made, many sites experienced several hundred to over 1000% gains. From what I can tell sites that rely heavily on traffic from social media sites enjoyed some of the biggest gains. This tended to be sites that are primarily blogs such as Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, and Copyblogger – all three of these sites had lagged in previous Alexa rankings and now seem to more accurately reflex the kind of traffic they do receive. Sites, such as the American Marketing Association, that feature a great deal of static content and don’t draw links in the same way more social sites do, don’t appear to have experienced the same kind of gains. (Graph shows significant Alexa ranking jump for Copyblogger starting in Jan 09)

In the past Alexa seemed to discount traffic from sites like digg, twitter and Stumble Upon. My guess is they have reversed that thinking. The changes appear to have gone into effect in January and are now rolling through the first 3 month reporting period that Alexa uses as it’s final number.

Many people, particularly SEO pros, don’t give much credence to Alexa rankings as a source of accurate traffic counts and must admit they are fundamentally flawed from the start. Compete.com for instance is considered more accurate from an SEO standpoint. However, Alexa results are generally more well-known and regarded as a significant measure of a site’s popularity and even shows up as a element used when ranking leading sites in combined tools such as the Ad Age Power 150 ranking of popular marketing and advertising sites, giving the Alexa ranking plenty of meaning for the sites in this index.

The changes also include a facelift to how the stats appear and have added bounce rate and time on site as metrics.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • The new Alexa is much better from a user perspective. It’s much easier for us to see our ranking shifts on a daily, weekly, and monthly scale.

  • I agree, Alexa’s site seems more streamlined now.

  • It seems to be more user friendly, but do you guys know how can it happen that I do not have a traffic rank for the previous day?

  • I’m glad to see (and experience) the changes. I also like the new look to the stats reporting – easier to read. I have often found Alexa to be somewhat of a mystery in terms of ranking algorithm – glad it’s evolving.

  • I have started to use it a little more now and find it quite fascinating. I think they are moving in the right direction and enjoyed hearing an overview of it.

  • Our experience growing to 5,700 visits/month:
    Alexa is good for a first traffic estimation, especially if there is not much traffic.

    However Compete is more accurate once the number of visitors surpasses the 4,500 visit/month.

    Quantcast misses completely our amount of traffic.

  • I completely discount Alexa’s ability to accurately try and calculate traffic. Having many websites some with half the traffic rank lower than other sites and these sites I am referring to now only have regular static backlinks. These types of links should be the easiest to track.

    for my search engine, Alexa does not account for the 12,000 javascript toolbars that are on peoples computers, the affliate program with thousands of generated links, or other javascript search boxes that are out there. My point being that Alexa’s traffic rankings at least what I see of them is flawed from the beginning. From time to time I will look at the rankings for other websites, and can be used as a generic guide but I don’t believe they are accurate. At least for several of my sites especially the engine, they are completely wrong. If I am wrong about the tracking of javascript please let me know, as far as my search engine I am positive they are not being tracked. My own stats and analytics is all that matters.

  • I completely discount Alexa's ability to accurately try and calculate traffic. Having many websites some with half the traffic rank lower than other sites and these sites I am referring to now only have regular static backlinks. These types of links should be the easiest to track.

    for my search engine, Alexa does not account for the 12,000 javascript toolbars that are on peoples computers, the affliate program with thousands of generated links, or other javascript search boxes that are out there. My point being that Alexa's traffic rankings at least what I see of them is flawed from the beginning. From time to time I will look at the rankings for other websites, and can be used as a generic guide but I don't believe they are accurate. At least for several of my sites especially the engine, they are completely wrong. If I am wrong about the tracking of javascript please let me know, as far as my search engine I am positive they are not being tracked. My own stats and analytics is all that matters.

  • I completely discount Alexa's ability to accurately try and calculate traffic. Having many websites some with half the traffic rank lower than other sites and these sites I am referring to now only have regular static backlinks. These types of links should be the easiest to track.

    for my search engine, Alexa does not account for the 12,000 javascript toolbars that are on peoples computers, the affliate program with thousands of generated links, or other javascript search boxes that are out there. My point being that Alexa's traffic rankings at least what I see of them is flawed from the beginning. From time to time I will look at the rankings for other websites, and can be used as a generic guide but I don't believe they are accurate. At least for several of my sites especially the engine, they are completely wrong. If I am wrong about the tracking of javascript please let me know, as far as my search engine I am positive they are not being tracked. My own stats and analytics is all that matters.