Everyone wants high rankings on Google.
After all, it’s how most people determine whether a website is successful or not. But there’s a metric that people often ignore or don’t know much about:
Knowing (and understanding) your website’s Alexa rank can help you improve your site and get more traffic.
What Is Alexa Rank? Short Definition:
Alexa rank is a global ranking system that ranks millions of websites in order of popularity.
It’s calculated by looking at the estimated average daily unique visitors and number of pageviews for a given the site over the past 3 months.
The lower your Alexa rank, the more popular the website is.
In this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the Alexa rank, how it is calculated, how to improve it, the top-rated sites, and more.
But what does it mean for a website to have a high Alexa ranking?
Simply put, the lower the Alexa rank, the better (estimated) traffic is.
Let’s find out more.
What is Alexa Rank? (Extended)
Alexa rank is a global ranking system (and a subsidiary company of Amazon.com) that uses web traffic data to list the most popular websites.
It ranks literally millions of websites in order of popularity, with the lower your Alexa rank, the more popular your site is (according to Alexa at least). It also looks at how a website is doing relative to other sites, making it a useful benchmarking KPI or for competitive analysis.
How Does Alexa Rank Work?
Alexa rank is calculated by combining a site’s estimated traffic as well as visitor engagement over the previous three months. Traffic and engagement are estimated from data provided by its toolbar. This monitors a user browsing behavior which acts as a sample of all Internet users.
If you want to contribute data to the rank, to get started you just need to download and install the Alexa toolbar:
This will display the Alexa Rank of the visited website. It will also send traffic data to a central server, recording your IP address and the URL you are visiting.
How Is Alexa Rank Calculated?
So we’ve briefly touched on this but let’s look at it in a bit more detail.
According to Alexa’s official website, the rank is calculated using a combination of estimated average daily unique visitors to the site and the estimated number of page views on the site over the past 3 months.
Data for their ranking system is based on traffic provided by their “global data panel”. This data is gathered from internet users who use one of the browser extensions available for Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer etc.
The Alexa ranking algorithm audits a site and calculates the frequency of visits. If the same user visits a website more than once on the same day, it is counted as a single visit.
The parameters used for measuring a site’s individual ranking is based on two items:
- Unique daily visitors: the traffic/number of Alexa users visiting a site in a day.
- Average pageviews: number of times a particular page or URL is viewed by Alexa users.
From here, the site with the highest combination of unique visitors and page views is ranked Number 1.
(Pssst, if you are curious, the number 1 site begins with G and rhymes with oogle.)
The algorithm also looks for any potential biases and amends its rankings in order to compensate for the visitors who are not included in Alexa’s measurement panel.
It has also been said that Alexa sources third-party data to give a broader view of internet users.
Is Alexa Ranking Accurate?
Although Alexa rank can be a good way to compare one website’s performance against another’s, Alexa’s statistics are not necessarily the most accurate
In fact, people have compared Alexa vs Google Analytics, coming to the conclusion that Alexa is not as accurate. With some sites that receive much higher page views actually having a lower Alexa rank (GA: 153,177 & Alexa: 346,890 vs GA 3,852 & Alexa: 194,636). Remember, the lower the better.
This is probably because Google has a much wider coverage than Alexa, as not everyone will have the Alexa toolbar installed to track.
Because of this lower coverage, treat Alexa rank as an overview for comparison purposes and not an absolutely accurate overview of a website.
Can Alexa Rank Be Manipulated?
Of course, this is not recommended as it is horrible for UX. How many times have you been annoyed by one of those sites that makes you click through to multiple pages to read just one article?
It’s annoying. Don’t be that person.
However, the better and recommended way of improving it is to write good and regular content to get the right traffic to your site. You know, SEO 101.
Artificially boosting your Alexa rank is only a short term tactic. And like a lot of quick fixes, it won’t last in the long run.
How Do I See My Site’s Alexa Rank? (Hint: Use This Rank Checker)
Checking your website’s Alexa rank is pretty simple. Just head over to Alexa’s official rank checker, put the URL of the site you want to check and hit find:
From here, you can do another search or view the site’s stats:
If you want to check multiple ranks (up to 5 URLs at a time), you can use this bulk rank checker. Again, just drop in your URLs and search:
What Are the Pros vs Cons of Alexa Rank?
So we’ve looked at what it is, it’s accuracy and how to see it, but what are the pros and cons of Alexa rank? Let’s take a closer look:
Here are a few ways in which Alexa rank is helpful:
- If your site makes money through advertising, a high Alexa rank may allow you to charge more for advertising space.
- You can get a quick traffic estimate of your competitors’ websites which you can then compare against your own.
- Potential to attract higher quality guest writers wanting to contribute articles to higher ranked sites.
- Insights into the performance of your website, which could be useful for helping with your other SEO/marketing.
Here are a few ways in which Alexa rank is not helpful:
- Data is limited to only users who have the toolbar installed. So there will be lots of sites which get a low rank despite having high traffic.
- It can be easily manipulated (as we’ve mentioned), further making the rankings unreliable.
- Subdomains and subpages are not ranked separately, only the top-level domain. So there may be some inaccuracies here.
Overall, Alexa rankings have their pros and cons, but there is still enough incentive for you to keep track of it (and improve it).
So how do you improve it? I’m glad you asked.
How to Improve Your Alexa Rank (5 Quick Tips)
As already mentioned, you can improve your website’s Alexa rank without manipulating it. But what is the fastest way?
Here are some useful tips:
#1 Optimize Your Metadata
Just like SEO best practices, you want to add metadata (page titles + meta descriptions) to your site so that Alexa (and Google) knows what your site is about.
#2 Write Content People Want to Read
Attracting people to your website with high-quality content is great for numerous reasons: it improves SEO, it gets people to your site, and allows you to rank for revenue-driving keywords. It also increases your chances of people with the Alexa toolbar visiting, resulting in a higher rank.
After all 70% of internet users want to learn about products via content:
#3 Update Your Site Regularly
Keep your site updated with fresh content (that people want to read). Whether you are a blogger, developer, or small business owner, it’s important to improve engagement by producing useful content regularly.
#4 Share Your Content on Social Media
Writing content for your site is all well and good, but you also want to promote it on relevant social media channels. Ideally, you want to target the platforms where your target audience hangs out. With 3.2 billion daily social media users, you don’t want to miss out on getting those eyeballs on your site.
#5 Increase Web Traffic
Now, this is going to be potentially the hardest one. Increasing your traffic isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes consistent effort creating content (+ don’t forget about getting in featured snippets), maintaining a healthy website and getting high-quality backlinks to your site.
Oh, and just make sure your hosting can handle any increases in traffic.
What Are the 10 Most Popular Websites? (As Ranked by Alexa)
Before we cap off this article, if you are interested, Alexa keeps a list of the top sites on the web, along with data points like average daily time on site, average daily pageviews per visitor, average % traffic from search, and average total sites linking to site.
Here are the top 10 Alexa ranked sites:
It’s fair to say that Alexa rank can be a useful piece of data for website comparison. Just don’t base too much of your marketing work around it as it is not as accurate as something like Google Analytics.
Think of it as a complementary tool to strengthen your SEO strategy. Just remember:
The lower the Alexa rank, the better (estimated) traffic is.
1. Alexa rank is great to track the result of your marketing & SEO activities
2. It works as a meter to check time to time rank and site performance.
3. Bonus tip:- The alpha version allows checking the rank in every country wise & and traffic derived from different sources in % form.
thanks for stopping by. Sure, Alexa rank is another tool marketers and SEO should look at to gather more data and improve their strategies!
Maybe not the only one to rely on, but still it might give you some interesting data.
I typed my website into Alexa, but it showed no ranking. My URL is two years old and O content regularly. How old does a URL have to be to get ranked?
Hi Melissa, the rank is calculated by looking at the estimated average daily unique visitors of each website. If you don’t have any published content and you have an empty or parked domain your rank will never improve. You need to start publishing content and drive visitors to your website.
if you already double-checked on the correct spelling of your domain — it happens, trust me :) — then, it could be the case that your site hasn’t received any visit in the past 3 months from any of Alexa’s sources. As they explain in their support documentation:
We run a website supported by Laos Tourism Board.
Our ranking is currently 152,000 globally and 11 in Laos. We prepared all content for 3 years before making it live in September 2019.
Is there a way to find out who is in front of you in terms of ranking?
Does a high ranking equate to higher visibility on organic searches?
Hi Chong, the best way is to sign up for a keyword tracking service and start tracking them. You can see who is ranking for the same term, what pages are ranking in the top 10 and so on. We use and highly recommend Accuranker you can find out more here https://kinsta.com/blog/wordpress-seo/#45-track-keyword-rankings
Tom already shared with you some really good tips but I’ll jump in as well. Higher rankings result in greater visibility (increased organic traffic) most of the time. As Brian Dean’s research showed: “moving up 1 spot in the search results will increase CTR by 30.8%. However, this depends on where you’re moving from and to”.
We have plenty of resources here at Kinsta about SEO you can browse through. If you want to learn more about SEO, I suggest you start with these two:
It’s great to read this article it adds value to my knowledge.
Thanks very much for this. I’ve just recently come across Alexa rank and wanted an overview of it, so this has been a really useful read.
Thank you very much …
My Alexa ranking a couple of months ago was under 100.000, but lately, despite my traffic increases, my Alexa ranking is 140.000, and nothing seems to stop the free fall!
Also, other metrics are getting worse, but my traffic is double than before, with more than 5.000 users daily.
All these “traffic estimations and online SEO tools” are all misleading.
I just started SEO and am very confused about Alexa rank. I am very happy to read your blog because now my concept is clear. Thank you soo much for sharing such useful information.
ALEXA HAS SHUT DOWN:
“We retired Alexa.com on May 1, 2022
Twenty-five years ago, we founded Alexa Internet. After two decades of helping you find, reach, and convert your digital audience, we made the difficult decision to retire Alexa.com on May 1, 2022. Thank you for making us your go-to resource for content research, competitive analysis, keyword research, and so much more.
We have been proud to serve you as customers.
Thank you sincerely,
The Alexa.com Team”
“I use the Alexa.com Top Sites and/or the Alexa.com Web Information Service APIs. What will happen to the APIs?
The APIs will be retired on December 15, 2022. You can find more information here: We will be retiring the Alexa.com APIs on December 15, 2022.”