Six Reasons Why Your Alexa Rating Is Still Important
by Tinu Abayomi-Paul
1. Additional Exposure For Your Site.
At the end of 2003, Alexa.com's results were being closely linked into the
listings of its' parent company, Amazon.com. This currently means that
when someone reviews your site, it is linked to their amazon profile, which
can be accessed when people browsing for books look to see what reviewers
like them suggest. In the future, it could mean that amazon.com will
integrate your web site in other ways, such as showing a list of websites
related to popular topics such as marketing.
2. Alexa's relationship with Google.com
See if you can name one major partnership that Google.com or Amazon.com
has had where the other party came out worse off in the end.
Yahoo? I don't think so. Though their relationship has soured for reasons
that aren't common knowledge, and Google.com does not supply Yahoo with
search results any longer, it certainly didn't make Yahoo.com less popular a
destination online. If anything, more webmaster like you and me, who could
not afford the $200 fee for a commercial review to be listed, rush to Yahoo
to see if our Google listings really were coming up number one there, too.
Can't think of any other one, can you?
Let's discuss how this is relevant to you.
This little known advantage to having a good Alexa rating is fairly new. I was
doing some research on Google, at the end of last year, to see what was the
fastest, cheapest way to get my brand new site good ranking and fast
inclusion in Google's database. Using Alexa.com, I was able to discover one
of the biggest secrets online that showed me how to get a visit from the
Googlebot spider and included in their index in under a week. The
Googlebot spider now visits the home page of my site every day,
re=spidering my site when I make significant changes.
While I was at Alexa, I noticed that very quietly, without a lot of hoopla or
publicity, Alexa Internet began to include a Google search right in their
toolbar at the end of last year. Upon further investigation, I realized that
Alexa and Google were getting quite chummy. This relationship directly led
to the idea I had which uncovered a way to get Alexa and Google to help me
get free, unlimited traffic for any keyword related to my site's topic.
The idea was so simple, so cheap, and so profitable that I started to write a
book about it, which I finished this past January. Everything was great, I
was getting great traffic. Then I woke up one morning and checked my
email, and most of my online colleagues were ticked off about something
called the Florida update, which caused many small commercial websites to
have their listings drop in ranking or disappear altogether.
Of course, I went to check on my site.
Not only did my ranking not drop, I had additional listings and improved
exposure. One of the several factors that appeared to be the reason for my
improved rankings, not just in spite of, but because of the Florida update,
was my Alexa ranking. Further testing on other commercial sites of fellow
small business owners confirmed this.
This experience taught me to pay a lot more attention to my Alexa rating, as
well as to have a new appreciation for the ratings of all my sites.
Your Alexa rating is still relevant to you because it appears to be a factor in
your page rank at Google. Generally, anything that is important to Google is
important to me, because I wanted to learn how to make the site an
excellent source of traffic for me. And it worked.
Working to have a rise in my Alexa rating helped me in my quest for free
quality traffic as well- every increase in my Alexa rating has coincided with a
rise in both the number of keywords I rank for and the likelihood that my
site will appear on the first page of search results, first at Google, then with
other search engines.
You'd never know that I haven't ever submitted them my link.
3.Your competitor's awareness is increasing.
Those of us who have been online since the early 90's, before the graphical
interface we now call the World Wide Web, are well aware of the Alexa
toolbar, and there are many schools of thought as to its effectiveness as an
indicator of your site's traffic.
Whether you believe it's effective or useful, the fact remains that you can
use the Alexa toolbar and the resources at Alexa.com to give your site a
competitive advantage. Your competition knows this if they have any
marketing savvy at all.
While not as compelling as the fact that Google is now tied to Alexa, it's no
small issue that other webmasters are beginning to show interest in
Alexa.com again. Now that Alexa is being positioned to have a closer
integration with Amazon, has improved their toolbar to include a free pop-up
blocker and Google search results, as well as given webmasters incentive to
install the Alexa toolbar, many site owners either offer the toolbar or display
their Alexa ranking proudly on their sites.
So, no matter what your personal feelings about the Alexa toolbar are, it
may be a good idea to gain the advantages it offers, before your rivals do.
4. Client awareness is rising
Even if you're not a commercial website, and don't really compete with other
sites for anything other than traffic, you still have to deal with the fact that
your visitors are becoming more aware of the Alexa toolbar again.
Alexa allows you to customize a version of their toolbar and allow you to
offer it as a free download from your site. Not only can you profit from their
amazon.com purchases, but when regular visitors return to your site with
the toolbar installed, it can help maintain your ranking.
The way things are going, the situation of having clients checking your Alexa
reviews and ratings before they buy from you to one day be routine. Do you
want to be ahead of that possible trend, or wait, and push it when everyone
else finally catches on?
5. Alexa's Perceived Importance
The whole reason for this article is that in answer to the last article I wrote
about Alexa, I got a lot of feedback questioning whether Alexa Internet and
its toolbar were still important to webmasters. So far, at minimum, for the
last two reasons I stated, the Perception of Alexa being an important
webmaster tool is increasing.
So even if you don't think it is important, if your visitors feel it is, then it
may be time for you to at least pay attention to the recent changes.
6. Alexa's Actual Importance
As Alexa's perceived importance is growing, it's actual importance seems to
be moving at the same rate. Here's why.
It would be one thing if all the hoopla about Alexa took place and everyone
installed or re-installed the toolbar, and everyone found out that both the
site and the toolbar were useless. Remember when auto-surf exchanges first
became popular? Everyone jumped on the bandwagon for about a month,
then several articles came out about six weeks later, stating that they were
ineffectual because real humans weren't viewing the sites anymore.
Look around the Net for about an hour and see if you can find any new
negative press about Alexa from webmasters since November. All I've seen
are the same questions there were before- is my Alexa rating important, and
why? Are Alexa's traffic stats accurate?
And I still have the same answers. Your Alexa rating is important to you if
you have a commercial website because it is important to Google and to
your competition. And whether your site is commercial or not, it is becoming
important to your visitors, which is why your site exists- to cater to them,
you should make your site's relationship with Alexa.com a priority.
As to Alexa's statistical accuracy, I can't say for sure. It's a much debated
topic. But it's pretty much indisputable that getting into the top 100,000
sites is a significant achievement, though perhaps not as difficult as some
think. And having a top 50,000 site is not something that can really be
cheated or faked. So perhaps it is not perfectly exact as a comparison of
your site to another unrelated site.
But it is the closest thing to a universal, impartial 3rd party measure of traffic
we have. And more importantly, it can give your clients yet another reason
to trust you enough to buy from your site. Testimonials in the form of
reviews on their site, as well as fast access to your contact information from
outside your site can mean the difference between a browser and a buyer.
If you haven't had the chance to download the Alexa toolbar, you can get it
- or you can get the
Alexa Snapshot from www.alexa.com if you have Netscape or if you're not
on a PC. It's a free resource, and all you have to lose- or gain- is more free
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