Alexa vs. reality

What is Alexa?

Alexa offers a Toolbar for the IE. If you install it, Alexa will monitor your surfing habits, thus counting the visitors a site gets from their toolbar users. After gathering the numbers, Alexa adds them, creates a ranking of all websites and pretends to know which websites get the most visitors.

But I use Firefox. Will Alexa count my visits?

Although Alexa only offers it’s toolbar for the IE, there is a way for you to get your visits counted. Install the SearchStatus add on.

What do people need these data for?

They don’t need it. But marketing people who don’t seem to know jack about the internet like numbers, even if they are inaccurate.

I’ll show you what I mean, when I say “inaccurate”. I’ll take Tobsy says as an example.

The last 3 months according to Alexa:

Alexa Users Graph

The Google Graph for the last 3 months:

Google Users Graph

Alexa tells me that most of my visitors are from Germany (39.0%), the US (33.0%), the UK (10.0%) and Australia (4.0%).

Google says that the same visitors are from the US (57.8%), Germany (10.6%), Canada (6.9%), the UK (6.1%).

These numbers might not seem important, but if you want to advertise with a company that requires a US majority, they can be critical. Alexa’s number for Germany has been way over 50%, by the way.

So, while I clearly don’t like the stats Alexa provides, I still think it is important, that you install the SearchStatus add on to raise them. At least if you want to monetize your blog. Even if you don’t believe the numbers - some advertisers do.

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11 Responses to “Alexa vs. reality”

  1. Although inaccurate, I still use it to give me a rough estimate of the traffic my website gets :)

    And it is very true that if you want to monetize you blog with marketing companies, you need a good Alexa ranking.

  2. Thanks, very informative. I have been using firefox since it started and only had one alternative theme (it was a woodgrain theme). I’ll check into this. Thanks for the great blog:)

  3. I am disabling Alexa rakings now on my SearchStatus toolbar. I didn’t realize Alexa was gathering information from it. I had heard that it didn’t before- only through the official toolbar.

  4. Isn’t it amazing the credence given to Alexa? You can game their number and still have a relatively low traffic site. However, when it comes to advertisers what do they seem to use when determining traffic? Alexa. Go figure.

  5. yes. It’s very easy to manipulate the Alexa Traffic Ranking. I have done so to increase my page ranking from 5.5M to 1.1M i few weeks.

    I have some tricks that you can find on my site and related posts.

    I don’t do Advertisement now, but who know I will do that later? :-)

    Great analysis. Good blog!

  6. Thank you :-)

  7. I still don’t get why companies use it (eg. text-link-ads etc) when it’s apparently so easy to manipulate etc?

  8. There’s many posts and conversations online about how dangerous it is to use Alexa as one end-all final number of a website’s popularity. But that always raises the question, what’s the alternative? For me, I use my own stat tracking, and only use Alexa to look at how popular *other* sites are. If you own your own domain, there are much better ways to track your own traffic than Alexa.

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