Written by Jessica Ann on November 4th, 2013
Does Alexa Rank Matter To Your Website?
You have a domain name, and want to build a meaningful web presence for your business. Then you learn of things like Alexa. And you wonder if it really matters. Well, asking if an Alexa rank matters to your website is like asking if wine reviewers matter to wine sellers. In both cases the answer is: they shouldn’t but they do.
Let’s look at the example of wine first: Wine reviews influence the wines that people purchase. But the quality of the reviews of the professional reviewers leaves a lot to be desired. For example, in a 2001 experiment conducted by Frédérick Brochet of the University of Bordeaux, 54 wine experts were given one glass of red and one glass of white wine to taste.
The experts gave colorful explanations of the two wines they were drinking, quoting flowers, inanimate objects and foodstuffs that no mere mortals have ever tasted when taking a sip of wine.
Every single one of the experts missed a crucial point though – the “red wine” and the “white wine” that they were drinking were actually the exact same wine. The red wine had just had a tasteless and odorless dye added to it.
So how useful can reviews really be if the “experts” can’t even taste when two wines are from the same bottle?
Alexa Can’t Distinguish Between Red And White Wines Either
Just like wine reviews, Alexa ranks are fundamentally flawed. This is not exactly a criticism of Alexa (even though it might sound like it). Alexa is one of the best metrics available. But there are issues so let’s dive in with more detail.
Alexa gets its information from people who have installed the Alexa toolbar.
This presents two problems:
1. It gives greater weight to technology websites because the Alexa toolbar is more likely to be installed in the browsers of tech-savvy people who are interested in topics like search and rankings. Alexa is not niche specific. So the rank of websites that have nothing to do with technology become less accurate.
2. It can be manipulated as website owners can install the Alexa toolbar in their own browsers. Plus they can get all of their friends to do the same.
So let’s say you sell bespoke cushions. Your website viewers would be less likely to have the Alexa toolbar installed than viewers of an SEO blog. But Alexa does not take that into account – your cushion website is ranked against the SEO blog and every other website on the planet.
But You Said It Was Important
Despite these problems, Alexa is important. There are three main reasons:
1. If you sell advertising space on your website, you’ll probably find that advertisers and networks check Alexa rankings.
2. It gives your website authority. The more figures you can quote, the better. But it’s also important to note that there are other ways to market your website with meaning.
3. After you’ve created digital real estate on your domain name, Alexa helps when you’re selling your website, as the Alexa rank is almost always considered.
Wine reviewers are not always reliable but they’re still important to wine sellers. Similarly, Alexa rankings aren’t always reliable. But they offer metrics for your website.
The same applies to other similar ranking services, like WebsiteGrader or Blog Grader. They give you an indication of how well your website is working and where it sits with your competitors. But it’s just an indication.
So what should you do? First, pour a glass of whatever wine you want. And second, register your website with Alexa. Oh, and third, install the Alexa toolbar.