Weird Alexa Rankings

Do you ever use Alexa to quickly judge a website’s traffic?  I do…all the time.

On Google Chrome tab I use an SEO extension that quickly grabs all sorts of info on a website, including Alexa traffic rankings:

In case you don’t know:
The lower the number, the higher your traffic (kind of like golf).

Google is the #1 most visited site in the world, so its Alexa rank is 1.  Got it?  Good…

NevBlog is currently ranked: 170,476 (at one point I was #75,000)!
and my business HouseOfRave is ranked: 492,856

The funny thing is, House Of Rave gets a lot more visits per day than NevBlog (it used to be the reverse a few years ago).

So here is a monthly Google Analytics snapshot of NevBlog traffic (keep in mind the number is usually higher as I don’t have Google Analytics installed on all my visitor pages):

Here is a monthly Google Analytics snapshot of House Of Rave:

You’ll notice that House of Rave gets something like TWICE the traffic NevBlog gets every day, yet NevBlog’s Alexa rank is nearly THREE times lower!  Whhaaa!?

Theoretically the Alexa rankings should be switched, but they’re not. It’s not hard to figure out why:

NevBlog draws a lot more people who might be web designers or tech people….this means they’ll be more likely to have the Alexa Toolbar installed (or some variation of it), which is how Alexa gets their rankings.  I’m also presuming the larger the site, the better stat accuracy you’ll get.  Compete.com seems to have a more accurate view:

They got the traffic wrong (although they can’t ever TRULY know without you telling them), but they got the comparison estimates pretty close.

For January 2010, Compete.com says:

  • NevBlog got 10,386 visits
  • House Of Rave got 15,202 visits

In reality, according to Google Analytics:

  • NevBlog got 14,259 visits
  • HouseOfRave 34,970 visits

    It seems the webmaster tool bar effect also applies to Compete.com…but their results seem far more accurate.

    I’m curious, do your website and Alexa/Compete rankings add up??

    Blog posted on: March 5, 2010

    5 comments on “Weird Alexa Rankings

    1. Joshua

      I use Quantcast as it seems to provide better information, but with your examples it actually wasn’t that close to reality. A lot of sites “quantify” their data which is helpful and Quantcast will tell you if that is the case. I’ve found Compete and Alexa to be too far off to be relevant.

      Reply
    2. Evans

      Well Neville, I always get funny results with Alexa. As for Complete.com I’ve never used them. Alexa once brought one of my website into top 100k but later dropped it into millionth position. And after a month the ranking came back to 150k. And according to my webhost the website’s traffic has been consistent. Weird eh!!

      Reply
      1. Neville

        I’ve never seen crazy changes THAT drastic….but I know Alexa has a heavy bias towards web-based sites…including SEO sites etc. where a large portion of the people check Alexa ranks.

        Reply

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