MG Siegler, general partner at Google Ventures, once wrote “if you cite Compete or Alexa for anything besides making fun of them, you’re a moron.” In this article we’ll talk about whether the Alexa Toolbar is good for any besides comedic value, and whether or not you should pay any attention to your Alexa Ranking.
What is An Alexa Ranking?
According to Alexa:
Alexa’s traffic estimates and ranks are based on the browsing behavior of people in our global data panel which is a sample of all internet users.
But the company admits that “We do not receive enough data from our sources to make rankings beyond 100,000 statistically meaningful.” So, as Siegler suggests, your Alexa rank is, for the most part, a vanity metric. But, does that mean you should just ignore it? Maybe not.
Your Alexa ranking might be one of the few vanity metrics worth a second look. While Alexa may present inaccurate traffic measurements, it isn’t completely worthless. In fact, if content marketing is part of your marketing strategy, getting your Alexa ranking under a million can be very worthwhile (I’ll explain why in a second).
Alexa bases your Traffic Rank on “traffic data provided by users in Alexa’s global data panel over a rolling 3 month period.” Your Traffic Rank is updated daily and it’s based on a combination of unique visitors and page views, and they “employ data normalization to correct for biases that may occur in our data” (whatever that means).
Why You Should Improve YOUR Alexa Ranking
There are three reasons to focus on improving your Alexa ranking:
- If you’re trying to sell your website
- If you’re trying to sell ad space on your website
- If you want to use Help a Reporter Out to develop content for your website
People who buy websites or ad space on websites may consider your Alexa ranking when deciding how much they’re willing to pay, but the focus of this article is how you can improve your content marketing efforts with Help a Reporter Out.
How HARO Helps You
If you use content marketing to drive traffic to your company’s website, then you know how difficult it can be to consistently produce great content. Whether you are writing it yourself or hiring writers, the time and/or money adds up. That is where Help a Reporter Out (HARO) comes in. HARO matches reporters who need sources with experts who want to get their name out there.
As a content marketer, you can use HARO to interview experts and even request content of up to 300 words. So, instead of writing a 500 words of original content, you can beef up your posts with quotes from an expert.
Additionally, the new content frequently leads to backlinks and social sharing. The reason an expert signs up with HARO is because he or his employer wants publicity for his name or his company. If you quote him and his company in a well written article, he’ll likely share your content with his network.
Before you sign up, you need to read the rest of this article. We were talking about improving your Alexa ranking, remember?
Why You Need to Increase Your Alexa Ranking
HARO is a great resource. To stay that way, it has guidelines for reporters using their service. Here’s rule number one:
In order to use HARO as a journalist, your or your media outlet’s website must have an Alexa.com ranking of one million or less.
If HARO didn’t ensure the quality of the sites looking for experts, it wouldn’t be able to ensure the quality of the experts. HARO sources are very brand conscious (that’s why they’re on HARO in the first place) and they don’t want to dilute their brand by appearing on low quality websites.
Here’s what HARO has to say about it:
Our sources are busy and if they are going to take the time to pitch themselves or a client for a story, they want to know the publication is worth the effort.
For better or worse, HARO has decided to use Alexa rankings to determine who it will allow to use their service. It’s certainly not the most reliable indicator. As Alexa notes:
This means that, for example, the difference in traffic between a site ranked 1,000,000 and a site ranked 2,000,000 has low statistical significance. Sites ranked 100,000+ may be subject to large ranking swings due to the scarcity of data for those sites.
But for HARO’s purposes, it’s probably accurate enough. And it’s certainly easier to type a website into Alexa’s search engine instead of paying someone to go over every potential journalist’s analytics data.
Fortunately, improving your Alexa rank is a simple process. Here are a few things you can do to have your ranking under a million in no time.
How to Improve Your Alexa Ranking
Increasing your Alexa ranking is a simple process. And it can happen quickly! According to Alexa, “It is not unusual for such sites to decline to ‘No data’ Traffic Ranks, or to improve suddenly.”
Here are some tips:
- Regular updates. Provide quality content on a regular basis.
- Regular traffic. Hopefully this will happen naturally as a result of your regular updates.
- Install the Alexa Toolbar.* One factor in determining your Alexa ranking is the number of visits you receive from people who have the Alexa Toolbar installed (this is why Alexa rankings are so inaccurate).
* Don’t overestimate the importance of this one. The Alexa Toolbar is just one factor. Alexa says “The Alexa Toolbar is just one of many browser extensions that include Alexa data.”
Installing the Alexa Toolbar
Installing the Alexa toolbar is easy. Just do it. Install the toolbar so your visits to your own site get counted, and encourage family, friends, and coworkers to do the same.
According to Alexa, “Alexa’s traffic panel is based on millions of people using over 25,000 different browser extensions that appeal to a wide audience” and installing the toolbar won’t make a difference. But hey, it’s easy enough. Might as well do it just in case, right?
How to Create More Content on a Regular Basis
So yea, installing the Alexa Toolbar is easy. Providing regular updates that lead to regular traffic, on the other hand, can be more difficult. I recommend signing up for a service like ContentFly. They’ll assign you a writer for $250 a month. Then you can use a free tool like Neil Patel’s UberSuggest to come up with ideas for content (find high volume, low competition keywords), and send those topics over to your writer.
With ContentFly, you can build up the content you need to fill your inbound marketing funnel and improve your Alexa Ranking at the same time. Your writer will only work on one piece at a time, but I’ve found that you can get about 4,000 words written a month (more if you expedite some of the articles for a fee).
At a minimum, you should be shooting for posts of 300 words or more, so you should be able to get at least 10 posts a month. I’ve been using them for about six months as of this writing, and the quality seems better than your typical Upwork article. Plus, it’s nice to avoid having to find a new writer each time.
Once your Alexa ranking is under one million, it’s not worth bothering with it anymore (unless you’re trying to sell your site or ad space). Then you can focus completely on quality content production- which you can now generate much more efficiently with ContentFly AND the experts a HARO- and that will drive much more traffic to your website (whether Alexa realizes it or not).