Alexa Rating Changes?

For the last few months I have noticed a fairly substantial decline in my Alexa rating despite an upturn in traffic after the Christmas holidays. The traffic hasn’t been as high as during the PageRank updates in October 2007, but certainly higher than the average for most of last year, even factoring in some downturn in Stumbleupon traffic.

Quantcast provide real data because I am Quantified with their code embedded in every page

We can compare that data with Alexa

Alexa Daily Reach

I have also had some incompatibility problems with a few users of Internet Explorer with some of the Javascript widgets, though the errors that seemed to be causing the problems have now been fixed.

However the problem doesn’t manifest just on this blog, it seems to be fairly universal on blogs in the same or similar niches, and as far as I am aware, none of these blogs have had a significant decline in real traffic.

Here are the stats for the following blogs:-

Problogger
Shoemoney
John Chow
DoshDosh
Daily Blog Tips

Alexa Reach

Alexa Rank

I took these screenshots a couple of weeks ago, though there doesn’t seem to be any significant change within the last 2 weeks..

The trend seems to be downward for all these sites, though as I have already started, I don’t believe any of them have a real decline in traffic.

So what could cause this?

I initially thought that it might be due to problems with the Search Status plugin for firefox, or the way Alexa support 3rd party Applications but the developers stated they hadn’t noticed any problems. It is true that occasionally I have problems with Alexa data displaying in Search Status, but currently I attribute this to a possible timeout of my poor internet connection (yeah it is still bad)
Does anyone else get a grey bar for Alexa a lot of the time?

It could also be some kind of manual adjustment, either for specific niches, or for data that comes from 3rd party applicaions which are predominantly used by webmasters. This would make a lot of sense because it is widely known that Alexa scores for various online marketing sites are much higher than their real traffic figures, and Firefox is generally popular among web developers.

Has anyone been monitoring similar data in other niches and noticed what may be a modification of the data? Examples of quantified sites would be very welcome to compare, especially if there are other sites in the same niche that are also quantified.

Oh and please, I am just going to flag as spam any comment questioning whether Alexa data has any value, and that might cause all previous comments to also be removed. Spam Karma has a great roll-back feature.

Did you notice that Alexa are again reporting reach using “millions” in the first Alexa screenshot?

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Comments

  1. says

    Alexa has always been iffy. I run a ecommerce site with 5 times the traffic of my blog. Alexa:700,000. And it has dropped in the last year, thought the traffic hasn’t.

    And it is a sliding scale. If the internet users increase, everyone’s percentage drops, all else remaining the same.

    Also, if the amount competing for top ranking increases, the further apart numbers get spread. It used to be easy to get about 100,000. With more sites to count, it gets harder.

    But who knows, just thinking in your comment box.

    • says

      Alexa of 700,000 is very low, you could probably cause that just by your own visits.

      I rarely visit my WPplugins site, it is in the 800K range currently, with 463 visits so far… this year.

      I know there is a certain competitive element to this, but I made sure I selected sites which obviously had significant growth over the last 6 months – I think all those sites had their subscribers at least double in that period, and in some cases maybe as much as quadruple?

  2. says

    I’ve noticed my Search Status plugin not showing a lot of info lately. Both with PR and Alexa.

    The Alexa ranking is only based on people that have the Alexa tool bar right? I wonder if there’s a way to find out if people have been un-installing it lately?

  3. says

    I’ve noticed something a bit similar as well. Before I took my vacation my blog was below 100,000. The traffic is still slightly down from then (December), but the Alexa ranking right now is much, much lower at 500,000.

  4. says

    Last time I checked (a few months ago), Alexa would not work on the Vista operating system. So even though my site traffic has grown, the Alexa ranking has gotten a little worse.

    I had idly wondered if Vista had anything to do with it.

    • says

      I should have included the link to search status in the post, but I have linked to it so many times in the last year I got lazy this time around.

      It does work with Firefox on Vista – maybe IE on Vista is a problem, I should really check

  5. says

    Might just be the season or the blogging niche in general, the rankings/reach for places like youtube, facebook, myspace etc have all gone up. As well as sports sites with new seasons coming up. Microsoft/tech sites have also gone up with the new vista patches etc as well.

    As for the under 100k rating thing. Its possible to get under 100k rating with as little as 50-100 visitors a day if majority of them use the alexa toolbar.

  6. says

    For one thing I can confirm that my traffic is on its peak, ever.

    It could be a try by Alexa to remove its known bias towards tech and web related websites though, couldn’t it?

  7. says

    Another reason might be the increase of websites in the developing world. Chinese websites are growing and due to the high population numbers they have to work with, they all have the potential for massive traffic.

  8. says

    had notice the same trend on alexa and had assumed that it was them attempting to decrease the skew of sites about web related topics somehow.

    Interestingly I’ve been watching Compete.com lately. The same sites you analyze there show almost the reverse graph of Alexa – although I know that until the last two months their problogger stats were about half what they should have been for some reason. In terms of traffic numbers and tracking they seem more accurate to me.

    http://siteanalytics.compete.com/problogger.net+shoemoney.com+doshdosh.com+johnchow.com+dailyblogtips.com/?metric=uv

    • says

      I will add it into the post.

      I wouldn’t necessarily class Compete as any more accurate than Alexa used to be, because last year it gained a significant boost when Comepete was added to the Search Status plugin.

      That makes it still nicely biased to the webmaster and blogging community

      Up until that time I had had major problems with their own Firefox plugin

      Also Compete is US data

  9. says

    Alexa is going down (or up in numbers) for me as well, and I have noticed that many blogs have the same trend so something is fishy about it.

  10. says

    Alexa try to make changes because their service is considered to easy to “cheat”. They had good reasons to do that, but I don’t know if they really can modify to many things to convinge people that this service improved..

  11. says

    I’ve noticed for a while that some of the search status functionality has been dissapearing. The Alexa stuff and the Dmoz directory functions seemed to vanish recently.
    I haven’t really looked at Alexa in ages. Ever since I got ahold of HitWise logins for clients I’ve been using that instead. I’d lost faith in the alexa figures for so long as all it took were a couple of guys with toolbars to skew the stats in their favour.

  12. says

    Whilst Google Analytics keeps telling me things are going better, Alexa dropped me from a 13K spot to a 20K spot in a matter of weeks.

    Perhps there’s a whole boatload of new sites that took the higher rankings on Alexa or perhaps its a seasonal thing :)

  13. dann404 says

    Alexa Rankings have changed to reach and page views. So for example you have visitors from all over the globe you will have high traffic numbers(low numbers).
    It has gone global and if you want to see your stats for a specific country, you have to make the extra effort on their website to see how you rank in your countries of interest.
    BTW Compete metrics are not counted from the Search Status Plugin, you must actually download the toolbar from Compete’s website.

  14. dann404 says

    BTW you’ve go so many tracking scripts it’s no wonder to me why there are disparities.

  15. says

    I have also noticed a sharp decline on many of my blogs and websites. One of them was in the top 100,000 just a couple months ago and now it’s up to somewhere around 300,000. As far as I can tell I haven’t actually had any decrease in traffic.

    This is the same with the rest of my sites. Many of them were in the top 200,000 or so and none of them are even close to that right now.

    Now that I think about it, I don’t think any of my sites or blogs have lowered in alexa lately. They have all dropped and I know for a fact that some of them have actually gained traffic.

  16. says

    My Alexa Rankings dropped suddenly while
    my traffic logs/stats proved nothing had
    changed. My monthly affiliate income has
    actually gone up – it’s the only stat I
    am concerned about and the only one that
    really matters.

    However, I sometimes wonder how big a
    factor “perception” plays in the whole
    Internet game… the Alexa Rankings and
    the Google PR number “perceived value”
    rather than their actual worth/importance
    could influence your outcome especially
    if you’re selling SEO services to naive
    buyers/webmasters.

    Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave…

  17. says

    Alexa is known to be inaccurate. It isn’t accurate enough since it measures only about 10% of your traffic. In addition, the traffic scale for Alexa is expressed as a percentage rather than in actual visitors. As a result, if the overall number of Internet users (or Alexa users) increase, your traffic will appear to decrease in Alexa even if you have the same amount of traffic as before.

  18. says

    I’m not sure how many entrecard members there are these days but they totaled 3000 a while back and these folks have been skewing alexa’s stats pretty hard. The system encourages up to 300 visits to each others sites a day – most using the alexa toolbar – and this has had the effect of placing 100’s of these blogs in the top 100 since December. These are sites that get no traffic at all other than traffic from each other.

    Most of us only get a percentage of toolbar users compared to our overall traffic – in my case 1 out of every 4 visitors roughly as most of my traffic is from the serp’s. The entrecard people are getting 100% (a guess but probably fairly close) toolbar users. I can’t help but think that a few thousand new blogs suddenly getting all 100-300 visitors a day using the toolbar would have an effect on the overall system.

    Just a thought.

  19. says

    I have noticed that alexa is breaking out blogger.com and comcast.net users to have their own alexa. Not sure how many power users these sites might have that would effect the top 10K of alexa sites, but this will surely effect higher numbers of alexa. These are the two that I noticed lately, I am sure there are more and I dont know when they started this, but it is surely part of the answer for why some of my alexa’s dropped.

  20. says

    Rob,

    My Blogger blogs have had their own Alexa rankings for over a year. I’m not sure about comcast.net though – a possibility.

  21. says

    I just noticed my Alexa went from 58,000 to 190,000 overnight. I had low traffic Monday and Tuesday, mostly due to the tax deadline I assume, but how can one blog drop that much in one day?

  22. says

    Their ranking system has changed. I had a slight spike 3 months ago but whatever they changed made me lose 78,000+ and they aren’t saying where they are getting their “sources” from. My traffic has for the most part, remained steady. It’s just another way to screw bloggers over.

  23. says

    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

Trackbacks

  1. […] One thing that has interested me since my little return to blogging is the fact that Nusuni Dot Com’s Alexa rating is still way down – despite the fact traffic is returning to more normal levels. I thought it was just because there were less Alexa toolbar users visiting – but then I saw a post on Andy Beard’s blog about the same thing happening. […]