About Alexa and page rankings.


Rank means nothing, of course. The movement of other sites creates too much noise for it to have any real meaning. At least not without some form of restricting the ranking to same-interest sites.

Pageviews is a percentage, which makes no sense to me. A percentage of what?

Reach is a percentage of internet users that see that page. Now is that somehow adjusted to the fact that the internet keeps growing? Are there sites with a positive slope on that stat? With more users viewing more sites (and with tons of sites being in foreign languages) how should one interpret that?

Anyways, the short version is “I don’t understand those statistics at all, could someone explain them to me in simple terms?”

Err, there’s a help button next to each of the statistics. Their help page explains it all. And if you still choose not to trust Alexa (a lot of people don’t), that’s your choice.

I am not yet at the point where I need to trust them or not. I am trying to understand them. My main concern is about things presented as a percentage of an ever increasing total. Any site that is not growing as fast as the internet itself will look like a shrinking site. Am I understanding that correctly?

I don’t see why that’d be an issue. If a site has no value to new internet users, naturally it’d become less and less important over time. On the other hand, major sites like Google would presumably attract new internet users as they sign up, thus maintaining their share. Alexa’s historical data seems to reflect that; Google’s “reach” has hovered near the 30% mark over the past few months.

This is natural in any field: When you only have one or two books in print, say, both are going to be extremely important and known to everyone. As the number of titles increases, more and more books will just fall by the wayside and become noise and only a select few (like the Bible) will remain widely-known. But that doesn’t mean that comparing its reach versus The Guinness Book of World Records is useless.

True enough. Now is the growth of the US user base in line with the growth of the world user base? Otherwise an explosion of growth in say, China or Latin America could easily overrun a site’s growth but be on a user base that the site cannot or doesn’t want to reach.

No, (and I can’t provide a hard cite for this right now), but US internet growth, especially broadband, is pathetic compared to other industrialized nations.

Alexa does provide per-country traffic rankings, if that helps.