What is Alexa Rank and Its Value?

Have you noticed that we use Alexa ranking for result analysis in our platform?

Attention Insight Heatmap, optimal clarity score

Attention Insight Heatmap, optimal clarity score

But do you know what is Alexa rank and what value it has for you? How exactly do we use it?  What does it have to do with pre-launch analytics?

Let’s find out.

What is Alexa Rank?

Alexa rank is a global website popularity ranking created by Alexa Internet company, which is a subsidiary of Amazon.

Alexa uses web traffic data to make an ordered list of the most popular sites on the Internet. Alexa rank lets you know how popular your site is compared to all other sites.

The top 500 sites on the web

The top 500 sites on the web
Source: alexa.com

There are tens of millions of sites ranked by Alexa. The most popular site has #1 rank, and the least popular site is ranked somewhere around 30 million. Also, there are sites without assigned rank because of insufficient data.

The number of visitors to a site versus the rank

The number of visitors to a site versus the rank
Source: alexa.com

How Alexa rank is determined?

To calculate the ranking, Alexa gathers data from thousands of browser extensions, widgets and sites with installed Alexa script. They refer to all this collected data as their ‘global traffic panel’ and use it as a sample representing all internet users.

Alexa rank is determined using some proprietary methodology that combines average unique daily visits and pageviews per visitor over the past 3 months.

Alexa estimates the number of unique daily visitors from the number of users of their global panel who visited a site that day. Pageviews per visitor is the average number of Alexa’s global panel user URL requests for a website. If a user requests for the same URL multiple times on the same day, it counts as a single pageview.

So, the highest combination of traffic and visitor engagement ensures #1 rank.

Alexa does not rank subdomains separately from their domains. That said, they make exceptions for pages hosted on some popular sites like WordPress if they are able to automatically identify them as personal homepages or blogs.

Accuracy of Alexa rank

Alexa claims that they use data normalization to correct for biases in their data and also filter out non-human and spam traffic.

However, the accuracy of Alexa ranking is limited by the data available to them. As they state on their site:

“Sites with relatively low measured traffic will not be accurately ranked by Alexa. We do not receive enough data from our sources to make rankings beyond 100,000 statistically meaningful. “

In other words, if you take two sites that are ranked, for example, 1,000,000 and 3,000,000, the traffic difference between them is not large enough to draw reliable conclusions. 

Also, sites ranked beyond 100,000 are more likely to experience big fluctuations in their ranking position because of small estimated traffic differences between them.

Very small change in the number of visitors to a site on the long tail results in a large change in rank

Very small change in the number of visitors to a site on the long tail results in a large change in rank
Source: alexa.com

The reliability of a rank increases as it passes #100,000 and approaches to the #1 position. Differences in traffic are much greater between these sites which also makes it much more difficult to climb the ladder at this end of the ranking.

There’s a huge difference in traffic to a site ranked 10 versus a site ranked 200

There’s a huge difference in traffic to a site ranked 10 versus a site ranked 200
Source: alexa.com

For the more accurate rank, you can certify metrics of your site by installing Alexa’s script on it. This way, instead of estimating the metrics, Alexa will measure it directly.

What is the value of Alexa rank?

Here are some ways how Alexa rank can be useful for your business:

1. Comparing your website to the competition. You can check where you stand in your niche against your competitors. Find out how much traffic your competitors get, how your audiences overlap. Analyze their keyword strategies. All of this may give you some new ideas for improvement or a goal to pursue.

Website traffic analysis tool

Website traffic analysis tool
Source: alexa.com

2. Find SEO keyword opportunities. Along with the ranking, Alexa offers tools for SEO optimization. For example, an analysis of keywords that drive traffic to your competitors, but you’re not using them, suggested keywords to focus on more heavily, suitable keywords that are associated with purchases and so on. You can definitely increase your traffic from organic search by utilizing these tools.

Website traffic analysis tool

Website traffic analysis tool
Source: alexa.com

3. Determine the commercial potential of a website. Find and identify high-quality sites for your brand awareness campaigns. Checking the site’s Alexa rank is a quick way to filter sites by popularity and avoid the ones with low traffic and engagement. Estimate how much value your advertisements on that site can bring you back by investigating traffic statistics, engagement metrics and audience demographics.

4. Find opportunities for valuable partnerships with influencers. If you use influencer marketing in your business, then in the early stage of the search process, Alexa rank can be used to identify well-established influencers who can catch the attention of their audiences and maintain it.

5. Find blogs to publish your content. Increase your traffic by publishing your articles as a guest on other sites that your audience visit. Alexa shows you sites with similar topics and overlapping audiences. Use Alexa ranking to pick the most popular ones.

How does Attention Insight use Alexa rank in result analysis?

In the Attention Insight platform next to a heatmap in design analysis, we provide clarity score of your design estimated by our AI algorithms. It describes how clear your design is: whether it is overloaded with elements, conflicting colors or it is clean and clear. The higher the score, the more clean looking the design is.

Attention Insight Heatmap, moderate clarity score

Attention Insight Heatmap, moderate clarity score

Just below, there’s Alexa Sites Rank diagram that compares your design clarity with your industry standard. It shows where your design ranks regarding clarity compared with TOP 170 Alexa sites in a certain category.

It takes 170 best ranked Alexa sites in the same category as your design and groups them by clarity score in 10 groups. You can see what percentage of those sites have a clarity score of 100-90%, what percentage falls into 90-80% clarity score group and so on.

Moderate clarity score & optimal clarity score

Moderate clarity score & optimal clarity score

Most importantly, you see to which group your design belongs. Whether it has better clarity score than most best ranked Alexa sites or it trails somewhere on the tail-end of those 170 sites.

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