Thursday, 10 April 2014

What is Alexa and How It Works?

What is Alexa and How It Works?
If you are a webmaster or an Internet aware person, then you might have heard about Alexa. You migh have spent few hours on searching "What is alexa", "How Alexa Works", "How Alexa Measures Traffic" etc. Well, if you are a serious webmaster then you might be aware of this fact that Alexa rankings are also very important factor which an advertiser or a web analyst looks for. So, I'm writing this article to clear some common doubts of the webmasters.

What Is Alexa?

Alexa Internet Inc. is a subsidiary company of amazon.com, which is California based. It was founded in 1996 as an independent company by Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat, but later it was acquired by Amazon in 1999. Alexa provides traffic data, global rankings, top keyword details, age group of site visitors, backlink details, bounce rate, total spent time of a user on any website, etc for other websites. To judge a website, most of the advertisers and webmasters use alexa data.

How Alexa Works To Determine the Traffic of Any Site?

Good question. Actually there may be a big difference between the actual traffic data and alexa data of a website. Alexa offers a toolbar, addons and browser extension to the internet users which tracks the browsing data of the users and suggests them where to go next. Alexa's traffic ranks are based on the data provided by the users in Alexa's global toolbar panel over a rolling 3 months period.

It Seems to Be Confusing. Please Explain In Detail.

Well, let me explain it more clearly. Suppose you are a web user and you have installed Alexa toolbar in your browser. Now if you are surfing web through Alexa's toolbar, then you are providing your data of visited sites to alexa and other users like you who are using Alexa toolbar also provide their data to alexa's global toolbar panel. So, in this way the traffic rank of a website is measured. The more alexa toolbar users visit your site, the more your site's ranking will be.
A site's ranking is judged on the basis of the combined measure of unique visitors and page-views. Unique visitors are determined by the number of unique alexa users who visit a particular site on a particular day. Pageviews are the total number of alexa user requests for that site. However, if you are sending multiple requests for a same site on a same day from the same location, then your pageviews will be counted as 1. So, if your site has less number of unique visitors but high number of pageviews from non unique visitors, then your site's ranking will be poor. The sites with high number of unique visitors and pageviews are ranked on top positions. So, if any site has the highest number of unique visitors and pageviews, that will be ranked as #1.

Is there any proved trick to increase Alexa Rank?

The answer is, NO. Alexa ranks can't be improved using any trick because it totally depends on the data sent by alexa toolbar users for your site. However, you can take your site's ranking at a better position by following some simple rules which I mentioned here : Tips to improve Alexa Rank.

Does Alexa Provides Accurate Rankings of Any Website?

As I already told that Alexa depends on the data it collects from it's toolbar users, and it is not true that all internet users use Alexa toolbar. So, the ranking provided by Alexa are not accurate, however they are estimated. Alexa rankings can only be used as a rough analysis of traffic of any site.

Should I Subscribe To Alexa Pro Plan?

It depends on you, and personally, I say, NO. If you need a deep traffic analysis of your website, then you may go for Alexa Pro. After purchasing Alexa Pro plan, you will get Certified Metrics. It gives webmasters insights of web traffic with more accurate metrics. After subscribing to any Pro plan, you will have to add a tracking code in all your website pages and it may take about 2 months to rank your website under certified metrics. But the reason why I don't prefer getting pro plan is that the certified metrics ranks are much poor than the toolbar based rankings. So, to get top rankings under certified metrics, you need a massive traffic on a regular basis to maintain your rankings at high position.

If you want to know more about alexa, then you may do some researches and collect information from other resources available on the web.
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