Alexa Changes Its Ranking System

Alexa did a revamp of its ranking system last night. The makeover saw the rankings of many blogs take a tumble. This blog went from the 5,000 range all the way down to 17,088. What did Alexa change to create this drastic drop for many bloggers?

Data from More Sources

In the past, the Alexa ranking was generated from users running the Alexa toolbar. If a user didn’t use the toolbar, his viewing of your site didn’t count in your ranking. Because of this, the ranking never reflected true Internet traffic. Anyone can easily get their site into the top 100K by running a dozen computers with the Alexa toolbar and refreshing their site over and over again.

Webmaster sites, like this one, always had an inflated Alexa ranking because most of their readership ran the Alexa toolbar. Tech sites like Digg and Slashdot always had a deflated Alexa ranking because most of its user base thinks the Alexa toolbar is spyware. At one point, my Alexa ranking was better than AnandTech, a tech site that gets over 55 million page views per month. The reason was most of my readers ran the Alexa toolbar while most of Anand’s reader didn’t.

Alexa is now getting their data from more than just their toolbar users. The new ranking takes data from a number of sources. Alexa won’t say what or who those sources are, but they do say the new ranking better reflect the true ranking of sites on the Internet.

We listened to your suggestions, and we believe that our new rankings system is much closer to what you asked for. We now aggregate data from multiple sources to give you a better indication of website popularity among the entire population of Internet users.

What Does This Mean To Your Blog?

Not a hell of a lot really. It would only matter to me if I was the only site effected. But since the new ranking was applied to everyone, the overall effect is still the same – Problogger.net still has a better ranking than me and I still have a better ranking than Shoemoney.

The only ranking number I keep track of is the RSS number. I see it broke 24K today and set a new record high of 24,148. That number means something. People can picture that and understand it much better than an Alexa ranking score.


77 thoughts on “Alexa Changes Its Ranking System”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Yeah, my brand new site went from 4.4 million Alexa rank to 5.6 million! I’m pissed 😀

    1. mr nice guy says:

      So this means alexa up to now has not really perfected a system of this kind. I’m sure the drop in the alexa ranking could also affect the monetization of other newer blogs as some affiliate companies are also dependent on alexa. Anyways you’re right JOhn the best one to keep track with is RSS subscribers nor alexa or PageRank

      1. Googlelady says:

        In my opinion, Reviewme and those programs should use their own ranking system + RSS only. Now thanks to alexa we can buy cheaper prices in TLA *Hint Hint*

        1. 😯 No one here buys or sells links 😯 do they? 😉 Mr. G. will find out…

          My Alexa rankings have been odd for a while, with climbing traffic and rankings that were worse than last year. Looks like I’ll have to update my Alexa article… Any suggestions? (check the link in my name!)

        2. Yeah but they are too lazy to make their own programmes 🙂

    2. Rats, I was in the top 100k at 68K and now I dropped by more than 100K places. But I guess it will be a much better indicator if they are looking at more data. They had to do something, Alexa was becoming irrelevant.

      1. Googlelady says:

        Yes that’s true and I think now, they are doing something similar to technorati counting on backlinks less than 6 months old.

      2. Syed Balkhi says:

        i was looking at your alexa ranking and it is improving alan..

    3. Homebizseo says:

      Just worry about tprofits and SERP from google.

    4. Its not that bad infact its better in a way because, at least you can really compare yourself to other websites and know how much harder to do really need to push yourself to gain their kindof of traffic.

  2. New Alexa ranking is a new form of beign attracted for something that isn’t usefull except for those companies like ReviewMe and others.

    RSS Feeds are better in all ways ehehehe.
    Good work John. 😀

  3. Ty Brown says:

    My ranking actually improved from just over a million to 800,000 +. I’m moving on up to the east side.

  4. Sha says:

    I always found it funny how some people act like Alexa is the Holy Grail. I don’t blame you for paying more attention to you RSS number because that speaks for itself. The one thing Alexa can’t mess with.

  5. mr nice guy says:

    Alexa ever since is not realiable

  6. Googlelady says:

    But the problem is that still advertisers care about alexa ranking…Anyways, just hope with this change alexa will be more accurate. I doubt that 🙄

    1. Sha says:

      A lot of the big name companies actually don’t care about Alexa, but how many hits your site gets.

      1. Googlelady says:

        Recently my blog is getting more unique visitors and hits than before but alexa ranking is dropping hope that this new update it will be at least an “approximation” of each site traffic.

  7. Paolo U says:

    I’m just thinking of doing my own review of this alexa ranking and you have beaten me to it.

  8. I’ve never understood the Alexa ranking. I agree that subscribers is a much better indicator of popularity.

  9. Terry Tay says:

    Google page rank goes up and then down. Alexa ranking goes up and then down. I know you like the 24,000 RSS readers John, but I’m sure you like your monthly income a lot more 😉
    ~Terry

    1. Homebizseo says:

      I agree the monthly money is a true indicator of success.

      1. The bottom line is important.

  10. Ashley says:

    I think if anything with their new metrics – which supposedly make it more accurate – advertisers will use it more. I still get advertisers asking about Alexa rankings.

  11. Nice almost 25k rss readers. Im hoping to break 100 soon lol. Although the good news is my alexa rank just brok mid 350k ish range . Anyway Just started vblogging too as it adds a little more depth to the blog. Hopefully JC breaks 25k soon will be quite the milestone.

    1. Homebizseo says:

      Everyone is hoping for increases. congrats on the traffic flow.

  12. Dr. Teeth says:

    Yeah, even i have seen some drop on major blogs, but mine went up a little. 😆

  13. Ashley says:

    I just did a search for a few of my sites and they seem about the same as they were. I never paid too much attention so I’m not sure of the exact numbers before they switched stuff.

    One thing I do notice is that the numbers look very similar – if not identical – to compete.com’s numbers for my sites. I wonder if Alexa is just piping into their numbers? I read sometime recently that compete was sold – maybe they’re connected now.

  14. bob says:

    to be fair, even that alexa rank seems high for this site. You publish your monthly traffic in your earnings reports and while it is good, its not amazing.. I think alexa , while still unaccurate, has become much more so with this update.

  15. John, you make a great point about the true importantance of the Alexa rating. As a metric I’m sure that there are bloggers out there who like to brag about how high there Alexa rating is, and then there are bloggers out there who just care about putting up good articles. Could you see a traditional magazine trying to tell its advertisers how many people read their rag based on some form of polling data? The advertisers won’t care because its a BS number. The number of people subscribing or buying the magazine each month! That’s a different story.

    Great Post! I keep learning more from you every day.

  16. John, you make a great point about the true importantance of the Alexa rating. As a metric I’m sure that there are bloggers out there who like to brag about how high their Alexa rating is, and then there are bloggers out there who just care about putting up good articles. Could you see a traditional magazine trying to tell its advertisers how many people read their rag based on some form of polling data? The advertisers won’t care because its a BS number. The number of people subscribing or buying the magazine each month! That’s a different story.

    Great Post! I keep learning more from you every day.

  17. Siddharth says:

    Afterall but they did, I was never satisfied by there way to estimate traffic by the toolbar. But sudden change in the system has shown it effect on the webmasters. Traffic ranks are gone down. Like if you are on 1500, the new system can leave you on around 4500 to 7600 ranks.

    Here goes the hard work to keep that stats wasted. 😯

  18. Larry Lim says:

    The number of RSS feed subscribers is not an accurate indication of a website’s popularity either. One could subscribe to a RSS feed but not read it, or reading it only occasionally.

    1. I’m sure rss numbers are a better indicator than the old Alexa ranking was.

      1. Sha says:

        Exactly. I always hated the way they use the toolbar to suggest this.

        1. Syed Balkhi says:

          O yeah that was a pain so only webmaster traffic counts !! as most webmasters have the alexa toolbar …

      2. :mrgreen: Exactly but the new system is more predictable to the traffic a particular site was getting especially as the old system claimed on certain days YouTube got more traffic then Google.

  19. Chetan says:

    The new changes look good, although most of the sites i visit, have seen a downgrade in ranking but the new rankings would be fair 🙂

    John, as you are not caring about google pagerank, similarly you should ignore alexa too. RSS is a boost for you and try to go with that.

    1. Syed Balkhi says:

      dont worry chetan, with time your sites will increase in alexa as well because you are providing quality content 🙂

      1. david cheong says:

        I 2 totally agree with Syed. Chetan i am sure you will get good result when the updates come. As for john, with or with the alexa, his site will boost up. 🙂

  20. Chetan says:

    And btw alexa guys are still not open with every fact of the changes, and not revealed what and how the new rankings are given to the webpages. Lets see what that external sources are.

    1. Syed Balkhi says:

      yeah I am waiting to hear the exact changes as well ..

      1. Robert says:

        I’m sure we won’t hear everything. It’s better (and to their advantage) to be secretive about it.

  21. Jimson Lee says:

    Sorry, but the RSS count is as accurate as Alexa.

    You can add your AWeber subscribers to Feedburner, so you can get 2 counts for the price of one.

    If you can somehow get onto the BlogRovR syndication, that automatically adds ~99,000 to the RSS count as well.

    Look at TechCrunch (who is on BlogRovR) has 801K subscribers! All the subscribers on BlogRovR has over 100K!

    1. So…that doesnt mean it gives you 99k subscribers it just means that all the people using BlogRovR have over that amount 😛

  22. I am looking forward to see the better ranking on my blog. I was so addicted to the social networking site such as StumbleUpOn.

    I can easily manipulate Alexa Ranking with StumbleUpOn traffic within days. Now I am seeing more valuable number. I often compare my site with my competitor’s to see how their business grow.

    Now I can find a better information bout that.

  23. Joseph says:

    My site actually went from 382,000 down to 323,591. I’m actually happy about the change.

    1. It means your traffic was higher then alexa claimed 🙂 mie dropped significantly on most of my sites although i’ve spoke to someone who went into the top 5k because of the changes and he is getting less traffic then me 👿

  24. Joseph says:

    John I know you’re really mad at alexa right now even though you say the subscribers are everything. After being in the top 6,000 sites going down to 17,088 must be excruciating.

    1. I am wondering if he cares about this as much as he cares about his google ranking in search for certain terms…

      1. Joseph says:

        This could be the beginning of the end for Johnchow.com.

  25. Homebizseo says:

    Who cares about alexa rankings…look at your bank account boss.

    1. Infogle says:

      but bank account will fill only when users come… and when users come alexa ranking increases… that’s why all care about alexa

      i hope you are not aiming on some other ideas to fill you bank account :mrgreen:

  26. david cheong says:

    Well, i think some really say its good for a new changes but some do mentioned c’mon, is the new rank for real? I think Alexa’s team might did a pretty good job on doing a fair result for all website over the world.

  27. Chetan says:

    Ha ha people still angry on alexa?
    I once experimented things on it and saw that a health website of mine was 800k in alexa although it had 600 uv per day and a webmaster site with 150 uv per day had 200k. So hopefully its good that they are becoming better.

    1. david cheong says:

      Great to hear that your site have nice rank. Is the health website new for around 5 months? Just checking out something. 🙂

  28. Infogle says:

    john have you checked you today rating its drop down to 29,836 a steep fall

  29. Paolo U says:

    I wonder how reliable is this new ranking system.

  30. Syed Balkhi says:

    my alexa ranking improved for the most part when they updated … but it is lower than john chow.

    1. david cheong says:

      hmm..john chow ranking are much much better than mine, the alexa is about 150x…Syed, envy on both you guys. 😯

  31. James says:

    I think it actually will have some impact on many blogs.
    Alexia may have not been that great in accuracy before, but there are some companies that used it at least in part for choosing the paying of advertising or accepting affiliates. In the short term it will probably put the proverbial spanner in the works. Long term, it will even out once things settle.

  32. Robert says:

    Who cares about Alexa anyway. RSS subscribers count more and reflect better the true value of a blog.

  33. Clickaton says:

    The old ranking system was really bad, this is much better, still alexa ranking means not too much, traffic and rss is much more important.

    1. unnikuttan says:

      true the new system is better

  34. question says:

    I’m all for Alexa trying to improve their system. I hated that dang toolbar. I uninstalled it a long time ago.

    Someone brought up RSS and a few folks commented on it. I know that it’s good for trackbacks, making it more convenient for some readers – thus increasing readership, and similar. Does it help in rankings on Technorati and the like? Does it help in any other way when you place it on your own blog?

    Thanx 🙂

  35. logosamurai says:

    Indeed a big change!

  36. Chetan says:

    What do you all predict? Alexa pulling up stats from social bookmarking sites and search engines too?

    1. david cheong says:

      It could be SB, if same url came from, will all merge into 1. I guess so.. except for SE, it will depends on various type of search data being search which visit the site. Just my prediction

  37. The good news is that higly-trafficked sites from 3rd world countries like Nigeria whose Alexa ranked 40,000 now surpasses johnchow.com by leaping to 5,000 while JC slumped to 17K.

    that is where the ends comparison ends. 30K+ monthly blog income by JC is 10X more than those Nigerian sites’ monthly earnings.

    thanks for the review JC

  38. My rankings actually improved after the change. Not sure why, but my numbers now look even better.

  39. Mike says:

    I can’t complain, now im 2x better then before 😛 just traffic is same 😆 http://www.metrication.us/

  40. nancy says:

    So it was never a good indicator of how a website compares to another? I’ll take the advice about RSS feeds. Thanks. ::worries::

  41. Even my website’s ranking dropped, though by couple of thousands only.

    http://www.empxtrack.com

    Strangely, we are seeing a consistent increase in the number of unique visitors through Statcounter.com, the changes in Alexa ranking are slightly dis-aligned.

    Wondering, how to make our visitors install Alexa Tool bar!!!

    Gireesh

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