A few days ago, I’ve reached two milestones – entering past the top 100,000 rank in Alexa, and at the same time, the blog’s PR increased from N/A to 1. This blog was started around late of 2011, and it took me approx 100 days to breach the top 100k. Google PageRank and Alexa Rank are 2 ways that most people used to put a value to a website. It is a highly debatable topic, as many questioned the effectiveness of using these 2 metrics.
Contrary to some webmaster suggestions to ignore PR, I personally think that PR still matters and plays a part in ranking your keyword terms. A few reasons why it is disliked include:
- No exact idea on how Google calculates PR, and
- when PageRank is updated – typically is every 3-4 months
- having a high PR site, and yet being outranked by a low PR site for the same keyword phrase
It is argued that since a low PR site can outrank a high PR site in certain keywords, we shouldn’t place emphasis on PageRank. It is advised that we should focus on proper keyword research and optimization. To a certain extent this is true, and it is comforting to know that having a low PR doesn’t mean you will be stuck in the search results, position #112023, with no chance to enter top 10 of search results. But we have to bear in mind that having a PR is highly indicative on the authority of the website, and this gives some perks in determining the SERPs (Search Enginer Ranking Positions) of sites. Reference to April 2012 Google updates: outlined in point #7
As Matt Cutts explains in the video below, PR is Google’s opinion of how influential, important, or “how useful to the user”. PageRank is calculated by the number of links leading to your website, and the value of the backlinks too. Without doubt, there must be other factors involved in calculating PR, which Google doesn’t reveal to prevent people from trying to game the system. Ok, let’s hear from @mattcutts himself:
A higher rank on Alexa doesn’t mean the website is successful. A better way to judge the success of the website is to look at the amount of traffic it is getting, and the revenue that it generates. Between Alexa and Google PR, the latter is more important and relevant. How low or high you rank in Alexa has no impact on your search results positions. Alexa is hardly a reliable benchmark, here are my thoughts:
1. Limited Data
Alexa’s data is widely believed to come only from users who have installed the Alexa Toolbar. Which means if you have visitors without the toolbar in the browser, Alexa is not able to capture these visitors’ data. As a result of incomplete logging of visitors’ numbers, Alexa is deemed to be inaccurate. As such, the website information that we get from Alexa publicly is very limited, so is the accuracy. However we cannot rule out the possibility that Alexa buys data from companies to supplement data obtained (albeit outdated?) from their toolbar.
As with all analysis tools, only when there is adequate data, can an experiment or process be successfully measured.
2. Data is skewed because of demographics
Most of Alexa users work with the Internet alot, thus installing the toolbar is inevitable. Typical users:
- SEO and social media consultants – who use it to simplify and explain concepts to customers
- Website flippers who use Alexa rank as a benchmark to set and justify prices. It is useful when they do not want to show the exact stats of the website. Additionally, potential buyers can easily verify the rank by installing the toolbar themselves. Unfortunately a lot of newbies have been dumped into paying too much.
- Internet marketers and website owners
This blog revolves mainly around Internet marketing, blogging and technology. This can be one of the reason why www.imstash.com is able to grow so fast, moving from a position ranked over 6 million months ago to top 100k.
3. Better accuracy as we move up the ladder?
Alexa detailed imstash.com as a page that is relatively popular in Singapore, but Google Analytics (GA) shows an entirely different story. Traffic data from GA shows that majority (43%) of my visitors are from USA, and 9% from UK. Traffic from Singapore is only 3%
One point worth mentioning is that as my Global rank climbs up, my local rank drops. I suspect that as we climb higher on the Alexa’s ladder, it gets more accurate – likely because of more visitors, and the amount of data it can crunch is bigger, which in turn give rises to meaningful results (hopefully).
Several months is unlikely to paint an accurate picture. But for now, it serves as a bragging right lol. When imstash.com reaches 1 year old, I’m sure it’s going to be totally different.
4. Can the ranking be manipulated?
Assuming only 20-30% of the visitors have the toolbar, does it really make such an impact? Well, I’m in the process of finding out, and looking forward to the day when the blog breaks into the top 50k.When it does, I’ll compare the blog traffic again, and try to draw some daring conclusions from it.
For measuring traffic, I use Google Analytics, Awstats, and WordPress Jetpack. All of them are free to use. I know it sounds a bit crazy, but the reason why I use 3 is for checking irregularities, and confirming the number of visitors.
Google Analytics is free and a powerful tool to track, measure, do segmentation for your traffic, and more. I know of webmasters who avoid it because of Google conspiracies. True or false, no one can tell you. But with so much user and site information that G can get from us, we’ll can’t deny that possibility. If you are not doing any stuff against their TOS, I believe it is fine.
Aside from getting traffic, or segmenting your social media traffic (link to my post), you can use Google Analytics to create Funnels & Goals to track your conversion. With Goals, you can find out what is the percentage of visitors who sign-up your newsletter, or how many converted to customers. This article explains how to do it.
WordPress Jetpack plugin – other than tracking your WP blog traffic, the plugin offers a range of services that you can use. For those who are obsessed with how much traffic you get daily. You can download the WordPress app for Android, or iPhone.
To finetune and make your website Google-friendly, I recommend Google Webmaster Tools for starters.
The free online tool reveals information such as pages crawled and indexed by Google, search enquiries driving traffic to your site, and even the pages/URLs that referred the traffic. You can also download internal and external links to your site to view and analyze.
In recent times, more site owners are using Compete, Open Site Explorer, and Quantcast to find out in details about their website metrics, performance and value. Previously on this post I have shared ways to check your backlinks or get a free trial of Open Site Explorer to gain a deeper insight of your website. Using these tools, you can examine how your competitors are doing, and how you probably can get similar backlinks to push up your PageRank.
I hope that your site PageRank went up too :) What’s your say on Alexa and PageRank?
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