Alexa.com is a subsidiary of Amazon.com and is a website which provides information on traffic levels for websites. The Alexa rank is measured according to the amount of users who’ve visited a website with the Alexa toolbar installed.
In this article, I’ll examine the importance of the Alexa Rank as it relates to site monetization while briefly discussing some of the weaknesses involved in using Alexa ranking as a reliable traffic measure for any website.
Lastly, I’ve also included an extensive list of twenty methods and strategies you can use to increase your Alexa Rank dramatically in the short and long run.
What is the Alexa Rank?
Put simply, the Alexa Rank is a ranking system which bases its ranking schema on the level of traffic each website receives from the number of people who visit a website with the Alexa toolbar installed.
See Alexa’s definition of the Alexa Traffic Rank:
The traffic rank is based on three months of aggregated historical traffic data from millions of Alexa Toolbar users and is a combined measure of page views and users (reach). As a first step, Alexa computes the reach and number of page views for all sites on the Web on a daily basis.
The main Alexa traffic rank is based on the geometric mean of these two quantities averaged over time (so that the rank of a site reflects both the number of users who visit that site as well as the number of pages on the site viewed by those users)
Why would you want to increase your Alexa rank?
Webmasters, advertisers and ad networks use your blog’s Alexa rank as a gauge to determine the worth of a link on your website. If you depend on link or site selling as a form of monetization you’ll definitely want to increase your Alexa rank, because it’ll increase your bargaining power when it comes to ad pricing.
ReviewMe, Text Link Ads and Sponsored Reviews are just three of the networks which base your ad selling strength on Alexa Ranks.
Problems with the Alexa Rank
Alexa ranking is heavily skewed towards websites which have a large webmaster/tech audience. This is because webmasters or web savvy audiences are much more likely to have the Alexa toolbar installed than websites whose visitors are unaware of Alexa.
As such, many have indicated that Alexa is a vastly inaccurate method of measuring a website’s reach, traffic and potential. I don’t disagree.
Alexa is a silly way to measure web traffic but unfortunately, in an imperfect world Alexa is still heavily used by webmasters and ad networks when measuring the value of advertising on your website.
I understand the defects of Alexa’s ranking system and I’m not going to go into more detail about it here. What’s primarily important to me is that the Alexa Rank has become a central element in site monetization strategies.
I’m not concerned with the utility and value of Alexa but it’s perceived importance in the eyes of potential advertisers.
blog.deraibali.com Alexa Rank
Since moving to my own domain (from Blogspot) in the middle of January 2007, Deraibali has moved from a rank of around 3 million to the current Alexa rank of 21, 709 within two months.
The growth has been consistent and I think most of it was due to the fact that the content on Deraibali is orientated towards webmasters. Another plausible reason is because overall daily traffic for Deraibali has been growing steadily day by day.
The increase in Alexa Rank was also partially due to the fact that I’m active in several webmaster forums, notably Digital Point which sends me some visitors every day. Getting stumbled and receiving thousands of visitors in a day has also undoubtedly helped to increase Deraibali Alexa Rank.
How do I get started with Alexa?
There are two easy ways to start using Alexa. If you are using Internet Explorer, visit this page and download the Alexa Toolbar. If you’re using Firefox, download the SearchStatus extension which displays the Alexa Rank, Google PageRank as well as other useful features.
I highly recommend that you use Firefox and SearchStatus instead of Alexa toolbar, which I find to be more bulky and less useful.
Can one actually game or manipulate the Alexa Ranking?
I believe that there are methods which will allow you to easily bring an Alexa ranking in the millions down to the 100,000 level. However, bringing it past the 10,000 or 1,000 mark is a considerably more difficult process, because of the stiff competition among websites.
Some have adamantly stated that there are no proven ways to game Alexa, while others have claimed that auto-surfs and scripts do work to some degree.
I’m not going to take any sides because I can’t guarantee that auto-surfs or other artificial methods will have similar effects for every blog.
The easiest way to know to know if any of the tips mentioned below really work is to actually try them for yourselves and monitor the results.
20 Ways to Increase your Alexa Rank
Here is a collection of methods you can use to boost your Alexa Rank. Most of these tips are derived from several fellow webmasters I know who claimed to have derived positive results through their experiments with the Alexa Rankings.
Some of the other tips were derived articles and sources, which I have duly referenced at the end of this post.
Do these tips work? According to some, yes they definitely do work. But do note that most of them require active effort of some sort and hence, they will work as long as long as you are consistently performing specific actions.
To increase your Alexa rank in the long run, I would highly recommended that one focus on developing quality content which attracts and maintains a large audience instead of purely focusing on artificially increasing your Alexa Rank.
Great link-worthy content will leads to an natural increase in site traffic and is an excellent way to passively increase your Alexa rank.
It is important to emphasize that you should devote most of your efforts in growing your site audience alongside integrated implementation of any of the following tips below.
- Install the Alexa toolbar or Firefox’s SearchStatus extension and set your blog as your homepage. This is the most basic step.
- Put up an Alexa rank widget on your website. I did this a few days ago and receive a fair amount of clicks every day. According to some, each click counts as a visit even if the toolbar is not used by the visitor.
- Encourage others to use the Alexa toolbar. This includes friends, fellow webmasters as well as site visitors/blog readers. Be sure to link to Alexa’s full explanation of their toolbar and tracking system so your readers know what installing the toolbar or extension entails.
- Work in an Office or own a company? Get the Alexa toolbar or SS Firefox extension installed on all computers and set your website as the homepage for all browsers. Perhaps it will be useful to note that this may work only when dynamic or different IPs are used.
- Get friends to review and rate your Alexa website profile. Not entirely sure of its impact on rankings but it might help in some way.
- Write or Blog about Alexa. Webmaster and bloggers love to hear about ways to increase their Alexa rank. They’ll link to you and send you targeted traffic (i.e. visitors with the toolbar already installed). This gradually has effects on your Alexa ranking.
- Flaunt your URL in webmaster forums. Webmasters usually have the toolbar installed. You’ll get webmasters to visit your website and offer useful feedback. It’s also a good way to give back to the community if you have useful articles to share with others.
- Write content that is related to webmasters. This can fall in the category of domaining and SEO, two fields in which most webmasters will have the Alexa toolbar installed. Promote your content on social networking websites and webmaster forums.
- Use Alexa redirects on your website URL. Try this: http://redirect.alexa.com/redirect?blog.deraibali.com . Replace deraibali.com with the URL for your website. Leave this redirected URL in blog comments as well as forum signatures. This redirect will count a unique IP address once a day so clicking it multiple times won’t help. There is no official proof that redirects positively benefit your Alexa Rank, so use with caution.
- Post in Asian social networking websites or forums. Some webmasters have suggested that East Asian web users are big Alexa toolbar fans, judging by the presence of several Asia-based websites in the Alexa Top 500. I suggest trying this only if you have the time or capacity to do so.
- Create a webmaster tools section on your website. This is a magnet for webmasters who will often revisit your website to gain access to the tools. Aaron Wall’s webpage on SEOTools is a very good example.
- Get Dugg or Stumbled. This usually brings massive numbers of visitors to your website and the sheer amount will have a positive impact on your Alexa Rank. Naturally, you’ll need to develop link worthy material.
- Use PayperClick Campaigns. Buying advertisements on search engines such as Google or Exact Seek will help bring in Traffic. Doubly useful when your ad is highly relevant to webmasters.
- Create an Alexa category on your blog and use it to include any articles or news about Alexa. This acts as an easily accessible resource for webmasters or casual search visitors while helping you rank in the search engines.
- Optimize your popular posts. Got a popular post that consistently receives traffic from the search engines? Include a widget/graph at the bottom of the post, link to your Alexa post or use Alexa redirection on your internal URLs.
- Buy banners and links for traffic from webmaster forums and websites. A prominent and well displayed ad will drive lots of webmaster traffic to your website, which can significantly boost your rank.
- Hire forum posters to pimp your website. Either buy signatures in webmaster forums or promote specific articles or material in your website on a regular basis. You can easily find posters for hire in Digital Point and other webmaster forums.
- Pay Cybercafe owners to install the Alexa toolbar and set your website as the homepage for all their computers. This might be difficult to arrange and isn’t really a viable solution for most. I’m keeping this one in because some have suggested that it does work.
- Use MySpace . This is a little shady so I don’t recommended it unless you’re really interested in artificially inflating your Alexa Rank. Use visually attractive pictures or banners and link them to your redirected Alexa URL. This will be most effective if your website has content that is actually relevant to the MySpace Crowd.
- Try Alexa auto-surfs. Do they work? Maybe for brand new sites. I think they are mostly suitable for new websites with a very poor Alexa rank. Note that there be problems when you try to use auto surfs alongside contextual ads like Adsense. They aren’t also long term solutions to improving your Alexa Rank so I suggest using with caution.
Resources on Alexa Rank
Several of the tips listed above were taken from Aaron Wall’s article on Alexa Ranking. This post by Aaron will also give you some insight on Alexa’s webmaster bias.
A lower Alexa number means a greater level of traffic, and the traffic drops off logarithmically. You can fake a good Alexa score using various techniques, but if it shows your rankings in the millions then your site likely has next to no traffic.
Alexa by itself does not mean that much, but it simply provides a rough snapshot of what is going on. It can be spammed, but if a site has a ranking in the millions then it likely has little traffic.
Peter Norvig writes about Alexa Toolbar and the Problem of Experiment Design. He examines some problems with Alexa as a traffic measuring tool:
But one bias they don’t really comment on is the selection bias: the data would be good if it truly represented a random sample of internet users, but in fact it only represents those who have installed the Alexa toolbar, and that sample is not random.
The samplees must be sophisticated enough to know how to install the toolbar, and they must have some reason to want it. It turns out that the toolbar tells you things about web sites, so it is useful to people in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) industry, so it overrepresents those people.
Google’s Matt Cutts compares his website against Ask.com and explains why his website enjoys such an impressive Alexa ranking:
One possible source of skewing in Alexa data is a bias toward webmaster-y sites. Alexa shows how popular web sites are, so itâ€™s natural that webmasters install the Alexa toolbar.
Some do it just so that their normal day-to-day visits around the web (including their own site) are added to Alexaâ€™s stats. The net effect is that webmaster-related sites are going to look more important to Alexa
Marketing Scoop has some tips on improving the Alexa Rank. (Thanks Beth!)
A very long thread on Digital Point which sees webmasters having a discussion on how Alexa Ranks can be gamed or manipulated through scripts and auto-surfs. Worth a read.
There you have it… twenty ways to boost your Alexa Rank and increase your site’s monetization potential.
What do you think of Alexa? Have you tried increasing your Alexa Rank by any of these methods?