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.