After a great deal of effort, I have finally been able to improve Alexa ranking and get a score below 200,000! Chances are if you’re reading this post, then you already realize the relevance of obtaining a low Alexa ranking.
When I first started my blog, I had never even heard of Alexa nor knew anything about its rating system. But as I started networking with other bloggers and recognizing what statistics they felt were important, I realized that having a great Alexa ranking was one of the areas I needed to pay attention to.
Two and a half months ago was the first time I checked my Alexa ranking. It was somewhere north of 2,700,000. “This is going to be impossible” I thought. I felt discouraged.
But yet I stuck to it and achieved success! And there’s no way I could I have done it without the support those who helped me along the way. So in return, I wanted to create this tutorial for anyone who needs help accomplishing the same goal of getting their Alexa ranking as low as possible. If you are relatively new to blogging and are searching for a way to improve your own Alexa ranking, then please read on.
What Is Alexa?
Alexa is a company that collects and analyzes global web metrics. It gathers its data from the millions of people who use its software (mainly its browser toolbar) as well as other proprietary resources. Alexa is owned by Amazon.com.
Each day, Alexa indexes every website and assigns it a rank. The lower your Alexa ranking, the better (#1 is Google and #2 is Facebook). The higher your Alexa ranking (somewhere in the upper hundred thousands or millions), it is assumed that people don’t visit your site very often.
Although we explain the Alexa ranking in more detail below, it is important to remember that the rank number is all relative – your website doing better than someone else’s and vice versa. Think of it like driving your car on the expressway. Even though you may think you’re going fast, others may be going faster. Others may be going slower. Your rank will constantly move around not just based on your performance, but also based on how well other websites around you are doing.
Why Do I Want to Improve My Alexa Ranking for My Blog?
Do you hope to earn money with your blog? If so, then you need to pay attention to your Alexa ranking. Advertisers will make judgments about your website based on your Alexa ranking just like they do based on your Google PageRank and SEOmoz MozRANK.
Whether or not you agree with the way that Alexa calculates its rankings, the fact still remains that it does come under consideration. Therefore, if you seek to monetize your blog, you’re going to need to put some effort into reducing this rank to as low of an Alexa ranking as possible.
The goal of reaching an Alexa ranking below of 200,000 is simply a popular opinion held by many bloggers as being when advertisers finally start to take notice of you. I should also mention that there are other bloggers that see this goal as being somewhere below 150,000 or 100,000. As you can guess, the value of your blog is in the eye of the advertiser, and will vary from one to the other. In general, the better your Alexa ranking, the better advertising fees you should be able to negotiate.
How Is My Alexa Ranking Determined?
The following text has been taken straight from Alexa’s FAQ:
“The traffic rank is based on three months of aggregated historical traffic data from millions of Alexa Toolbar users and data obtained from other, diverse traffic data sources, and is a combined measure of page views and users (reach)”
Let’s dissect this seemingly innocent statement into its “Elements” to establish what actions we think would benefit our strategy:
1. The primary data comes from the Alexa Toolbar (i.e. users that have it installed on their web browser).
2. Data comes from other sources, but the description is very vague. Therefore, we can disregard this statement due to lack on substantial content.
3. The data is based on a three-month collection period.
4. Alexa ranking is based on the number of users (people who visited).
5. Alexa ranking is based on page views by the users.
Actions You Can Take to Improve Alexa Ranking:
Step 1 – Download the Alexa toolbar and claim your blog with Alexa.
Element 1 states that Alexa gathers its data from the toolbars that its users have installed on their web browsers.
Guess what? If you have a toolbar installed, then this also includes visits made by you. And who is going to visit your site more than you? So by downloading and installing the Alexa toolbar yourself, you’ll automatically receive ranking credit with each visit to your own site. When you install the toolbar, you can also take the opportunity to claim with Alexa (for free).
Got more than one computer? Install the toolbar in a few locations. Do your friends and family visit your site often? Encourage others who might also visit your site frequently to install it as well so that their visits will count towards your Alexa ranking. Remember, the toolbar is where Alexa gathers its primary data.
Step 2 – Install the Alexa Widget on your site. The theory here is that installing this widget on your blog will turn all traffic (not just Alexa toolbar users) into ranking data. This is the one tip where the jury is still out, but I would do it anyways. A great deal of bloggers insist that it helps (although a I did find a few small comments that claimed it did not). I unfortunately could not find any legitimate proof one way or the other on Alexa’s website. Like other blog widgets, data can be transmitted back and forth. Therefore, it seems logical that the Alexa widget could be collecting traffic data as some people suggest. Ultimately, I decided to install it on my site just for the shear potential of converting all page visits towards my rank. What would be the harm?
(Update 5/01/2012) Per communication with Alexa’s customer service, I have learned that adding the Alexa Widget to your blog or website does NOT affect or help your Alexa ranking. It simply just displays your stats to your visitors and nothing more.
Step 3 – Write some really good posts!
Recall that Elements 4 and 5 state that your Alexa ranking is based on the number of users and page views. No where in Alexa’s definition does it state that the singular act of posting alone will help you achieve a better rank. But the theory here is that by posting great content, you will give people something worth reading, they will stay for a while, and they will come back to your site; all of which will improve Alexa ranking.
Don’t burn yourself out on posting! Get into a rhythm of developing and publishing some quality content a few times per week. And if you think that posting everyday is the trick – think again. Through my own observation, I have visited some sites that publish once a week but still maintain an Alexa ranking below 200,000. It all depends on how you develop traffic patterns.
Remember also that data for your Alexa ranking is based on a three-month (12 week) period of traffic data. So even if you have one week where you have no posts but eleven outstanding other weeks, it is unlikely that your Alexa ranking will slip too badly.
The important thing is not to let your traffic get away! Hence a steady flow of good quality posts should naturally help build your readership.
Step 4 – Comment … A LOT!
Steps 1 and 2 are pretty easy. Step 3 is also pretty much a given if you plan on having a successful blog. Step 4 is where the work begins!
Expect to spend more time visiting other blogs than you spend working on your own! Why? Because commenting on other blogs accomplishes many things:
• You form relationships with other bloggers who will reciprocate visiting your blog.
• You attract would-be readers to your blog by leaving your name, Gravatar image, and links to your articles all over the web.
The easiest way to do this is to join a group or community of bloggers. This can be done formally or informally. Bloggers and readers from this support group visit each other’s website regularly and comment often. All this action leads to an improved Alexa ranking. (Note: This process should happen naturally. Don’t join “link exchange” groups or anything that promotes gaming the system. Google breaks up groups like this and may penalize you).
Another way is to make friends the old fashioned way by simply finding blogs similar to yours. Again, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of using this step to create bonds with others. It will pay off!
Whatever you do, DON’T SPAM the blogging world. Leaving comments like “Hi” or “Great job” are pretty lame and add no value to the discussion. Do you want people to get interested and visit your blog? Entice them with meaningful comments. State your opinion. Ask questions. Have healthy debates. Be funny. Find a way to stand out.
Please remember that the act of commenting alone doesn’t result in a better Alexa ranking. One mistake people make is thinking that commenting on more sites will lead to a better rank. Alexa’s own FAQ clears this up:
Step 5 – Continue to drive traffic to your site.
Recall again that Elements 4 and 5 are about driving traffic to your site and getting them to visit as many pages as possible. Similar to Step 3 with creating quality content and Step 4 with attracting attention using comments, you will want to also exhaust as many other strategies as possible to get people to visit your blog and add to your Alexa ranking. Here are a few simple ways you can encourage more organic traffic to come to your site:
• SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Optimize your site so that it gets found naturally when people search the Internet for whatever your blog is about. You do this by using a lot of keywords, having interesting post titles, using tags, adding descriptions, simplifying your permalinks, organizing your categories, registering with all the major search engines, etc. Yoast has by far one of the best free guides available on this topic!
• Social Media. Everyone knows about Facebook and Twitter. Using sites like this are an easy way to advertise your posts, share your links, and get people to come visit you.
• Blog Carnivals. Blog communities frequently post large collections of posts called carnivals. This is beneficial to readers because it becomes a one-stop shop to read dozens of “greatest hits” blog posts. This is also beneficial to publishers because it is an easy way to get noticed and attract some readers. To participate, simply search the Internet for carnivals on your subject and submit your best work each week.
• Give Some Link Love. Many bloggers selflessly post links on their blogs to posts that they read and loved. Not only is this a great way to build comradery, but you will often find that the gesture gets reciprocated.
• Do Guest Posts. Want to get readers at one site to notice you? Offer to write a guest post. No second rate posts – write something you would post on your own blog! Approach a site you have a good relationship with and offer to write a great post for free. Most bloggers, feeling overwhelmed and busy, will welcome the free assistance! Remember to be grateful and appreciative!
What Not to Do:
Don’t get discouraged! Remember that from Element 3 that your Alexa ranking is based on three months worth of data. When I first became aware of my score at 2.7 million, that meant that for the next three months I had some pretty awful data on “my personal Alexa record” (if you will) that I had to work my way out of. As I started to try these rank building strategies and make improvements, my Alexa ranking started to come down, but it took time.
You may also notice that some newer blogs will seem to have their rank drop faster than yours. My theory here is that Alexa has less data on a newer blog, and that therefore a newer blog which is already receiving attention will not have to deal with terrible past data to keep its rank from falling slower.
Like we mentioned before, the rank is relative. So perhaps you are doing everything right, but so is everyone else! That will make it harder to see your rank drop.
Also expect that as you get lower and lower, the competition will get more and more fierce. In the beginning, you may see your Alexa ranking drop each week by several 100,000 spots, then by a few 10,000 spots. Eventually you’ll slow down to just a few 1,000 spots. As your Alexa ranking will fall slower and slower, and you’ll really have to work hard to get that number down as low as possible.
In summary, install the toolbar
and widget, create some great content, and go make some friends! Beyond that, don’t get too caught up or obsessed!
Getting your score down may have some financial implications, but remember to make it fun! Get to know the people who are trying to accomplish the same goals as you and let it fall naturally. The process will become far more rewarding when it becomes less of a chore and more of something you can enjoy!
Readers: How were you able to improve Alexa ranking and get it to drop? What other tips or experiences can you share that would be beneficial to others?