Alexa Rank Update Problem and Workaround

Alexa RankMost of you must have noticed that your Alexa rank widgets and toolbar data are not getting updated for the past three weeks or so. Even the Alexa website’s traffic details query is showing data that was frozen three weeks ago. As it seems, Alexa is doing another upgrade to their ranking algorithm, just like they did in April 2008.

There is a work around available, if you are so keen on knowing your latest Alexa rank, at least until the toolbar and widgets start displaying new ranks. It takes a couple of minutes but worth the wait, if Alexa rank matters so much to you.

Get your latest Alexa Rank

The only updated rank data, that is available right now (using the new algorithm?) publicly, is their Top 1 million sites list. This is available for download as a Comma-Separated-Values (CSV) file in zipped format and can be found in the following location.
Alexa Top 1,000,000 Sites.

Once downloaded and unzipped, it can be opened in your favorite text editor or even Wordpad. It will not open in Microsoft Excel because Excel supports only 64K rows and this file contain 1 Million! Now search for your domain name in this file and get your latest rank that is updated on a daily basis. This works for only those who are ranked up to 1 million (Others need to wait)

Should a great Alexa rank be one of your goals?

A lot of bloggers have set their 2009 objectives and goals in the past two weeks and I read in many blogs that the Alexa rank is one of their prime objectives. Please note that, the Alexa rank may not be the right criterion to assess your traffic size & quality. For that matter even Compete or other alternatives are not good enough either.

If you want to impress your stake holders (sponsors, advertisers, readers, potential buyers etc) with some realistic traffic data, share your Google Analytics or similar tracker data that can provide better KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) such as bounce rate, new v/s returning visitors, page views per visit, demographic data, visitor entry/exit pattern etc. However, raw data analysis tools such as awstats, webalyzer etc are not of any use either.

How can Amazon improve Alexa?

If they really want to improve Alexa ranking algorithm and its acceptance, they should make a little more disclosures about the data received on the website being ranked. i.e. Sources for collecting data, the number of visits and page views, sampling done etc. If not, it will remain a fictitious measure over which you keep brooding over.

Over to you…

Comments

  1. Yeh, people who have a ‘decent’ rank generally talk about how unimportant it is. lol. But when I was in the millions, I definitely did all I could to lower my rank. :-)

    Shirley’s last blog post… WordPress Image Captions Using FCKEditor Plugin

  2. Nihar :

    I have used alexa site to check mostly other sites traffic. I have never concentrated on that. Is alexa ranking a good pointer? Does advertisers use this to guage the sites traffic?

    Nihar’s last blog post… How to get Windows 7 Beta Activation Keys

  3. @Shirley, haha that’s a general tendency right? Mostly people forget where they came from. On the other hand, sometimes those who never get good ranks claim that they don’t bother about it. I have read it a thousand times on forums – especially on the PR matter… Reminds me of the Aesope’s fox-grape story :)

    @Nihar, well if you are not exposing the GA stats to advertisers they go by Alexa or compete… Once they give you ads, they could then monitor click throughs etc. But Alexa still has ‘some’ amount of acceptance.

  4. I didn’t notice that it hadn’t updated :-) Maybe I thought my rank had stayed exactly the same. I agree with Shirley – when you have a good rank it’s not big deal but when you don’t have a good rank you do everything you can to reduce it.

    Great find with the csv file.

    Kim Woodbridge’s last blog post… Easy Comment: A Firefox Add-On for WordPress Blogs

  5. @Kim, good to know that your homepage rank is back to original after a little hide n seek… Wrong reply, mistook it for PR and thought about your PR issues in the recent past… 😆

    You are right Kim, people tend to stop thinking about ranks once they are up there

  6. yeah its a problem with the alexa toolbar. but for me i am not going into deep when it comes to alexa. for my all other sites rightnow i mainly concentrate on the content because content will surely bring visitors and that will automatically boost your rank in alexa or any other site. what say Ajith?

  7. @SkyXavier, you are right… Good content will fetch in traffic, subscribers and ranks… The idea of this post was to share the interim arrangement before the Alexa updated ranks start appearing.

  8. Reply from Alexa support team arrive yesterday…

    Dear Ajith,

    Thank you for your question.

    We strive to update the data on our traffic details pages frequently.
    Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, there may at times be a delay in the display of data. The data are still being tracked, but may not be displayed immediately. It has now been resolved, and we lament any inconvenience this may have caused you.

    We appreciate and thank you for your interest in Alexa.

    Best regards,
    Alexa Internet Customer Service

  9. tim :

    I have proof that alexa is reporting a lot but not the truth. Constantly raising GoogleAnalytics. Same thing for StatPress and even mint. Alexa drops down 40k today!

    Ok it might be that the whole web received more traffic in the last 2 months but i don’t believe in that, sorry. Why on earth doesn’t Google have a tool like this. They are in the know of almost everything!

  10. @tim, of course it’s no perfect solution. However, you understand how Alexa works. It considers (1) total pages viewed and (2) the reach or number of pages viewed per visit. and this is considered on the basis of a three months average.

    For example, Let us assume that site A has 10000 visits per month where as site B has 20000. If site A’s reach is say 2.5 and site B’s is 1, definitely site A has a better (i.e. lower) Alexa rank!

    And, Alexa is a service by Amazon not Google :) Probably if more an more people start using Google Toolbar or Google Analytics they will be able to come up with a traffic ranking system as well.

  11. Hello ,

    My site’s Alexa Rank has also frozen from the last 4-5 days…

  12. Hiwaar :

    My site rank within alexa remains the same; this is since its very start? our Google pr is rising, but alexa is not even shows backlinks/ any advice, please?

    • Alexa ranking is mainly based on two parameters:
      – Page hits
      – Reach (i.e. number of pages per visit)

      Unless you improve the second part (that is the reach) alexa rank won’t improve. As much as possible you should get the reader to visit one more page than the landing page at least

      • Alexa’s traffic rankings are based on the usage patterns of Alexa Toolbar users and data collected from other, diverse sources over a rolling 3 month period.
        A site’s ranking is based on a combined measure of reach and pageviews.
        Reach is determined by the number of unique Alexa users who visit a site on a given day.
        Pageviews are the total number of Alexa user URL requests for a site.
        However, multiple requests for the same URL on the same day by the same user are counted as a single pageview.

        Therefore, if someone wants to boost his alexa rank, he must increase his technology oriented visitors base (webmasters, technology geeks etc.), because these are the people who most probably have the alexa toolbar installed….

  13. Rank is frozen yet again, starting Friday of last week. It would be nice if they updated their blog to let people know what they are doing. But we were pleasantly surprised when we saw our rankings shoot up 200k when we got the Top 1 million sites spreadsheet! Awesome!

  14. Chris :

    There are individuals and companies that do make alexa ranking some sort of a reference point. Well, maybe their are considering it as an “estimate”. Anyway, nice discussion. I really got something. Thanks!

  15. Alexa ranking does not even count. If you want to get better Alexa rank, you can simply install the Toolbar and refresh your website as much as you can and you’ll see a major change in your Alexa rank. A better way to check on your Traffic Data/Size is using Google Analytics.

    Thanks

  16. i have over 9k pageview perday but my alexa ranking is too high … why they don’t update their system

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