Alexa is a web analytics company offering global and country specific ranking of websites. It is owned by Amazon and is a reference point for most of webmasters to improve their site’s performance. Site owners can register for free and paid services to get detailed analytics of their site in different geographical regions. Alexa updates the ranking daily based on the collected traffic data of a site. In this article, we will explore more on Alexa web analytics services.
Data Collection by Alexa
Alexa collects information about websites in two ways:
- Similar to Google Analytics, website owners get the tracking code from Alex and install it on their site. Using this certify code, Alexa can track and get the site insights.
- Based on the data collected from browser extensions and plugins. For example, Alexa toolbar is one of the browser extensions when installed Alexa can easily track the traffic data. Alexa claims that it has over 25000 browser extensions for data collection.
Features of Alexa Web Analytics
Alexa provides many features some for free and many for only premium members.
- Site overview including the information on ranking, bounce rate, page views, time on site, keywords, etc.
- Certified metrics like performance, uptime, link details, etc.
- Benchmarking your site on the same industry and compare the details with competitor.
- Search engine optimization on optimizing title tags, duplicate content, redirects, etc.
- Toolbar to get details right from the browser.
- Alexa developer API allows the detailed traffic data available to developers.
Alexa offers different types of plans targeting various group of audience.
You can have a free trial for 7 days without paying to check whether you are satisfied with the data you receive. The free trial is restricted to one time per account basis.
Pro Vs Cons
Alexa is definitely a starting point for a site owner to know where exactly the site is ranked in global and specific countries. Though analytics tools like Google Analytics offer all kind of traffic information for free, Alexa over the period of time established a reference ranking system which can be referred by anyone without even the need of login account.
On the flip side, the rankings are easily questionable with the traffic measurement criteria not defined well or not known to the viewer. This provides wrong impression to the viewer that the site is having a good traffic but not the complete source (at least for free cases).
Webmasters normally do some tricks with the intention of improving Alexa rank, but unfortunately the ranking is system calculated one and may not have any impact on the followings:
- Having an account in Alexa’s site or and claiming the site will not have any impact on ranking.
- Installing Alexa toolbar, ranking widget or any other browser extensions will not have any impact on ranking.
- Alexa uses past 90 days visitors and pageviews to calculate the ranking hence impact of sudden spike in traffic for a day or two is negligible on ranking.
- Having a paid plan from Alexa will not have any impact on site’s ranking unless it helps the site’s ranking.
At any case the quality of the site can’t be measured with the help of Alexa traffic data. For example, one can use free traffic exchanges to increase the traffic thus improving the Alexa rank.
Using Traffic Data API
In order to use Alexa traffic data you need to sing up for Amazon web services and create a account. Following are the two types statistical data offered by Alexa:
- Alexa Web Information Service allows the developers to get the traffic data of a website.
- Alexa Top Sites allows to get the list of top sites by Alexa ranking.
Once Alexa was offering different type of widgets that you can embed on your website. Website owners use these widgets to showcase their ranking. However, Alexa widgets are no more available as the Amazon discontinued using of widget APIs.