Alexa Rankings – how accurate are they?
May 8, 2008
One of the Web’s most popular places to get an idea of a web site’s traffic is Alexa.com.
There is one major problem though: Alexa is not accurate at all.
Alexa gets a lot of it’s traffic data from its’ Alexa toolbar and other nebulous source they don’t identify. So that leads me to think that they still get most of their data from the toolbar.
Sounds OK, except for one glaring problem – who uses the Alexa toolbar?
I’m a big Web nerd, and I have yet to meet or hear of anyone who uses it. I’m actually thinking that with the release of all kinds of other toolbars (like Google’s and Stumbleapon’s) that whatever market share Alexa once had, is diminishing as people upgrade their browsers and computers.
So I am guessing that a lot of Alexa’s data is derived from older computers.
… From people who have not upgraded in years. But that’s just a guess.
How about some facts
I have some hard numbers that show that Alexa is not even close to accurate.
First example: killersites.com’s Alexa rank has fallen far from it’s heights of being in Alexa 12 000 ranking, even though since that time, our traffic is actually much, much higher.
Second example: killerphp.com, the Alexa ranking is now starting to register with a higher daily Alexa rankings (higher than killersites.com) even though it only get about 20% of killersites.com’s traffic!
… Uh, that’s weird.
Another weird thing:
Check out Alexa’s own measure of it’s own website:
… no traffic data at all!
Common, I’m sure someone goes to their site. So it begs the question … why not list your own traffic?
I think that for most (websites) except for the really big web sites out there (Google’s, Facebooks etc …) I would not consider Alexa as a relevant measure of a website’s traffic. Not even close.