Alexa And Its Alternatives

Alexa Alternatives PostI never really took Alexa very seriously because of how easily alexa ratings are skewed depending on the type of website you have.  It can be an indicator of what type of traffic you attract, but not necessarily an indicator that you attract a lot of traffic.

You may have a website that doesn't attract a user base that would typically have the Alexa toolbar installed. In theory, you could have a relatively decent traffic volume, but show an alexa rating around 3 million.  The lower your Alexa rating, the better your score (kinda like golf).  On one of my first eCommerce websites, I had a pretty decent Alexa rating which suggested to me that many of my shoppers had the alexa toolbar installed in their browsers.  I found that quite interesting.  With that said, my alexa rating on my AmazingCloaker site is a modest 466,617 as of the time of this writing. is about 11 months old.  My handbag webstore was less than 3 months old when it's alexa rating was around 96,500.  Hmmm.  

Richard Lee wrote an interesting blog post which details his findings with several other alexa alternatives.  The alexa alternative that I personally am most familiar with is Compete. As Richard points out, they claim to use an actual scientific formula.  With a combination of ISP logs, Toolbars, ASPs and Opt-in panels, they claim much more accurate results as opposed to Alexa which only uses data from the Alexa tool bar.

Alexa by comparison would give me skewed traffic results on my eCommerce site vs. my AmazingCloaker site.  If both averaged 1000 visitors a day, for example, and 600 of the eCommerce visitors had the Alexa toolbar, but only 200 visitors to my URL Cloaking website had the toolbar, then the Alexa rating would be vastly different even though the hits per day were the same.

Surprisingly enough, however, as your Alexa rating reaches the upper percentages (say 45,000 & below) your accuracy is also increased.  Because of the shear numbers of visitors, the ratio of tool-bared visitors will equal out to more accurate results regarding superior traffic over say a site with a 100k+ Alexa rating.  I believe that this "ratio factor" in high volume is what ultimately equals it out.  Alexa & Compete are the two that I pay most attention to.  I would agree that overall they offer the best indicators of how you are doing in the traffic scene.  I also have the Google page rank indicator installed on my Firefox browser which I like to monitor as well.  

I think that checking out alternatives in anything is normally a good thing, but for now I think that I will just stick with Alexa & Compete.     

12 thoughts on “Alexa And Its Alternatives”

  1. One of the benefits of a better Alexa ranking is if you use Adbrite to monitize your site. The better the ranking, the more you make.

    Yes it still can be gamed, but so can many other tools.


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  3. please advise if you or your family have ever lived in Everett, WA

    thank you

  4. Hi Diana,
    Never been to WA state before. Arizona is about as far west as I’ve ever lived.
    My father told me a story once that many years back (maybe a
    century ago?) the “Kiefer” clan had a dispute & half of them disassociated themselves with the others and changed the spelling in “Kiefer” from “ie” to “ei”, thus the spelling in my name.

    It’s still pronounced the same despite the reverse in characters. The other “ei” “Keifers” (I’m an “ei” Keifer) moved to somewhere in southern or southeastern Pennsylvania. I’ve never followed up on any other Keifers from PA, but I’ve always been mildly curious, because the “ei” spelling in Keifer is not very common.

    Someday I may trace my family tree & see if that story is really true or not. πŸ˜›
    If there’s any “Keifers” in PA (or probably anywhere), there’s a good chance that we’d be related. πŸ™‚

  5. I’ve never trusted Alexa because I just dont understand how it works.
    How does a 3rd party site / company track my hits ?
    Surely they can make guestimations based on what i rank for but can’t track my hits so where’s its getting its numbers from !

  6. Alexa is too inaccurate for it to be useful – Only stats worth usin in my opinion is the free google analytics. Comprehensive, free, and detailed, only downside is google has all your info !

  7. I guess it makes since when site has that many visitors the stats would have to get better. I know people sold things to make sites rank high on alexa but never tried one or wanted to.

    I wonder how much alexa really brings in as a percent of sales on any site on the internet.

  8. Hey Jack, I’m trolling through your old posts πŸ™‚ I like Alexa as a general guide to the popularity of a website among a certain group of visitors. As I understand it, the ranking is based on Alexa nerds visiting your site and yes, I’m an Alexa nerd.

    What is an Alexa nerd? One who has the Alexa toolbar installed and has agreed to have his/her internet movements tracked, traced and analysed by some US conglomerate other than Google, or does the big G own them too?

    To give this comment some credibility, my sister runs a site about outback Australia ( that sees a lot of search engine traffic from older netizens who are attracted to the offers and information published there.

    The Alexa rank doesn’t appear to have much correlation with the commercial success of the site (and she’s doing well with it), but rather, it gives an indication of the popularity of the site based on the subset of visitors who are also Alexa nerds and whose social life includes possible trips to the dusty interior of what was once a penal colony for the motherland – England πŸ™‚

    Anyway, I hope you’re doing well … Michael

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