When I first took over this blog, I knew the basics of PageRank and the Alexa Traffic Ranking… but I wish I had known how important it is for a blogger to be using the Alexa Toolbar! So now I want to make sure that other newbies to the blogging world know why you should install this handy little SEO plug-in even if you don’t have a blog yet.
Alexa collects website traffic statistics for every website on the Internet and displays these stats on Alexa for all to see. At Alexa.com you can look up the stats of your own blog or type in the URL of any other blog/website online to see the Alexa traffic stats for that site. Keep in mind it’s not a true reading of website traffic because most of Alexa’s statistics are generated from Alexa Toolbar users. Basically, it’s a percentage reading of traffic based mostly of those who have installed the Alexa Toolbar plug-in on their browsers.
When you start a blog it will take some time for your website to appear on the Alexa Traffic radar. To help speed things up you need to install the Alexa Toolbar. By installing the Toolbar onto your web browser you’ll be helping your own Alexa Ranking and the ranking of the sites you visit. The more visitors you have using the Toolbar the better ranking you will get with Alexa.
Like Google, Alexa gives each website on the Internet a rank but since Alexa’s numbers are based on traffic percentages the numbers are larger and it ranks from high to low, with low meaning more traffic. The top traffic ranking is a #1 and Yahoo holds that spot right now. In the beginning, your number will be in the millions because there are millions of websites on the Internet that you are competing with. The more visitors your site gets from the Alexa Community (users with the Alexa Toolbar installed on their browsers) the lower your number will get. Having your number go down to 100,000 or even 200,000 is good, and less than that is even better. Here’s one way to look at it: If your blog has a number of 165,000 then you know there are 164,999 sites out there with a better rank than you.
Techies and/or bloggers will be more inclined to install the Alexa Toolbar or other SEO plug-ins that include the Alexa Toolbar, so some say that you’re only getting a reading of the percentage of techies or bloggers that visit your site. It stands to reason that if you have a technical blog and most of the users have the toolbar, you’ll have a good Alexa Ranking, but the system does allow for a small percentage of traffic outside of the Alexa Community. The average web user doesn’t install the Alexa Toolbar so if your blog is about a non-technical topic such as gardening or beauty products you might not have a good Alexa Ranking because most gardeners or women into beauty products would not care or even know about Alexa. It doesn’t mean you don’t have good traffic coming in, it could mean you don’t have many other bloggers or “techies” visiting your site. Even though a good Alexa Ranking will give you bragging rights, you don’t need good ranking to have a successful blog.
MomsCashBlog’s Alexa ranking went so far up (which is not good!) this summer that it was off the chart and was no longer displayed on Alexa! However, at the very same time my other stats told me that MCB had the most REAL traffic in it’s history and I made the most money during the same time period that I lost my Alexa ranking! Obviously, I lost some “techie” visitors over the summer, but I gained some non-techie visitors and I made some good sales. I don’t worry too much about my Alexa ranking because my goal is to make money… and ranking well on Alexa doesn’t necessarily mean you make more money. Still, a good Alexa number gives your blog more credibility so if you have a good rank, be glad! If you don’t have good Alexa, don’t sweat it… just keep blogging, strive for good content, install the toolbar, and the rest will fall into place. (My ranking finally came back up to 210,805.)
You can install the Alexa Toolbar and become a member of the Alexa Community from either the Internet Explorer browser or Foxfire and you don’t need to have a blog to do this. If you want to install it onto your Foxfire browser you have to go to the download page from your Foxfire browser. (The download is on the same page for Foxfire but it’s called “Sparky”.) Upon installing it you’ll have a small bar chart down in the lower right-hand corner of your browser which will change with each site you visit. Some SEO plug-ins have the Alexa Toolbar built in and displays each site’s Alexa ranking along with PageRank and other stats helpful to bloggers. Once you use the Toolbar and encourage your readers to install it, you will definitely see better ranking, so do it now!