A Guide to Improving Your Alexa Rank
Many people ask us: How can I improve my Alexa Rank? We understand how important this metric is for you and your business. As a public metric, potential advertisers, investors, and partners will look up your Alexa Rank and use it as a way to evaluate the value of your business. For this reason, improvements in your rank can make a real dollars and cents impact on your bottom line.
For those of you who are new to Alexa or unfamiliar with the Alexa Rank – it is a single metric that provides a quick summary of a site’s performance (yours or your competitor’s) relative to all other sites on the web. If you aren’t focused on it, you may not be doing everything you can to maximize the value and visibility of your business. In all, the authority of your site on the web is translated as your Alexa Rank.
But before we dive into how you can improve your site’s Alexa Rank, we should take a step back. It’s important to understand the makeup of the Alexa Rank so you understand how you can make it better.
Let’s get started.
What is the Alexa Rank?
Your Alexa Rank is an estimate of how popular your site is relative to all other sites. The Alexa Rank answers the question: Compared to all other sites, how is my site doing? Note that since rank is a relative measure, your site’s rank is not only dependent on that site’s traffic, but also on changes to traffic on other sites.
How does Alexa get its data?
Alexa has a large traffic data panel consisting of millions of people all over the world. Based on the data from this sample, Alexa estimates the number of visitors to all sites on the Internet. It’s a complicated calculation that involves correcting for biases as well as identifying and discarding fake or spam traffic. Our data scientists are the best in the business and they make sure the data we present is free of noise and non-human data, so you can make the best decisions for your business.
How is the Alexa Rank calculated?
Every day, Alexa estimates the average daily visitors and pageviews to every site over the past 3 months. The site with the highest combination of visitors and pageviews over the past 3 months is ranked #1. The site with the least is ranked somewhere around 30 million. If no one in our measurement panel visited a site over the past 3 months there is no rank at all for that site.
How does the number of visitors to a site affect the Alexa Rank?
If you plot the number of visitors to a site versus the rank it looks something like this:
At the head of the graph is Google.com, which gets a huge number of visitors and is ranked #1. The sites at the “head” end of the plot, like Google.com, get a huge amount of traffic compared to the sites on the “long tail” at the other end. The important thing to notice is that because of the shape of the distribution, a very small change in the number of visitors to a site on the long tail results in a large change in rank.
However, the closer you get to the head of the graph, the more visitors it takes to move up a rank. There’s a huge difference in traffic to a site ranked 10 versus a site ranked 200.
Getting a more accurate Alexa rank
To get a more accurate Alexa Rank you can certify your site’s metrics on Alexa. Sites with certified metrics have their metrics directly measured by Alexa instead of being estimated based on information from our data panel. Certifying your site’s metrics provides a more accurate rank, but not necessarily a better rank! There are several other benefits of Certified Site Metrics, but a more accurate Alexa Rank is just one of them.
So, how do you get a better Alexa rank?
There are several tactics that will help improve your Alexa Rank:
Produce engaging, original content, updated frequently that provides real value to your audience. Content that strays from this motivation fails to build loyal audiences. When readers find resources valuable and informative, they engage with future content and share among their networks (link building), introducing new visitors that potentially turn into customers. Quality content is also being rewarded by search engines like Google, which is taking steps to get better answers faster for the end user.
Get more related sites to link to your website. Otherwise known as inbound links, this tactic helps search engines clearly define your niche and also increases the trust and quality of your site. In other words, authoritative inbound links (from sites that are performing well) give your own site credibility. This tactic must be supported by producing engaging, original content, because why lead targeted visitors to your site if they don’t want to stay?
Internal links, on the other hand, are links that lead from one page or post on your site to another. These are beneficial because they guide visitors through your website (i.e. website navigation), keeping them engaged with relevant and related content. They also contribute to site links, which are the sub-links that appear in a search engine below your main page link. But again, creating top-notch content goes hand in hand with any internal linking strategy so make sure the content you produce is relevant and of value to your visitors.
In all, both inbound and internal links help search engines understand the content of your site(s) and determine how valuable it is to visitors. But while an important part of your online strategy, you should use linking appropriately. Excessive linking can reduce the credibility or readability of your site and may be penalized by search engines.
Find keywords that are driving traffic to your competitors and optimize your site for them, or buy PPC campaigns for those keywords. By doing a little keyword research you can understand what your audiences are searching for and how. In a way, keyword research is learning to speak your customers’ language in the context of their needs and desires. Inbound Marketing Agents shared a great infographic on the 5 fingers of a keyword placement strategy that will help you pick the right areas on your site to place your target keywords.
Understand your competitors’ marketing strategy and learn what works. There are several reasons why analyzing your competition matters, but in a nutshell competitive analytics puts your own site analytics into context. Thus, giving you a clearer understanding of what metrics are important, what strategies are working (for you and your competitors), and allows you to identify and anticipate industry trends. All of these angles help inform your overall strategy and allow you to make more knowledgeable business decisions that will positively affect your position in the market.
Follow SEO best practices on your website. SEO is a very important strategy that deserves a significant amount of your time and attention. But SEO is not just about improving the promotion and visibility of your website. It’s also about making your site better for your customers who use it to interface with your brand. Without a good user experience you have little hope of keeping or converting your customers.
There are countless resources for learning about SEO, but Alexa offers a Marketing Stack that includes keyword research, competitive analysis, and web analytics tools as part of our Advanced plan. You’ll get specific instructions on how to improve search engine rankings, usability, page performance, back linking, and more.
See the Alexa website for more information