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How Visible Are You?

Posted on February 5, 2003

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How Visible Are You?
By Dom Vonarburg

Traffic Statistics
As a webmaster or site owner, you are most likely tracking your site traffic daily or weekly either with a log analyzing software or through an online statistic service. If you are not doing this already, I strongly recommend that you start. Running a site without analyzing your traffic is like driving a car with your eyes closed. These analyses give you valuable information about your visitors, what they do on your site, which pages they visit the most, where they come from, how long they stay, etc.

But analyzing your own traffic is only a part of the picture. This only gives you information about YOUR site. Another important piece of the puzzle is how your website is performing in the big picture, in comparison with other websites.

Well known for its navigation toolbar, Alexa provides useful website information to web surfers. It also tracks the internet traffic through frequent sampling and ranks websites based on their traffic. Alexa has recently added some very interesting features to its existing Traffic Ranking tool. This article is a review of these new features.

Alexa Traffic Ranking
To find out how your site is ranking on the whole web, go to and enter your domain name. This will give you the Traffic Ranking of your site, as computed by Alexa. This ranking information is very useful. It gives you a good idea of the popularity or visibility of your site compared to other websites. You can use this information to find websites with similar traffic as yours and exchange links with them, for example.

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Traffic Details
Are you at the site? Now click on "See Traffic Details". This is the feature Alexa has recently added. The first thing you will notice is the "Daily Traffic Rank Trend" graph. This is a great feature; it shows the history of the traffic ranking of your site for the past six months (you can extend it to a year). You can see if your site is growing or fading in popularity. You can even compare your ranking with the ranking of another website, e.g. your competitors. Below the graph, Alexa gives you more detailed information about this traffic ranking: the Reach and the Page Views.

The Reach
The Reach is the portion of internet users who access your website. Alexa expresses this number in "per million". For example, Yahoo has a Reach of about 300,000 per million (or 30%), giving them the top position in the Reach Ranking. This means that on average, out of 100 random internet users, 30 of them visit Yahoo. As you can see, it's not the main page that they visit the most, but the email pages. You can see this in the section "Where do people go", above the Reach section.

Page Views
Page Views is the average number of unique pages viewed by unique users each day. Alexa gives your site a Page Views Ranking based on the total number of page views generated by your site. Here again, Yahoo has the top position.

The Traffic Ranking I first mentioned above is calculated as the geometric mean of the Reach and the Page Views, which is the square root of their product.

Link Popularity
The tool also gives you information about Link Popularity. This is the number of websites found on the internet that link to your site. Note that this number is currently not included in their ranking formula, but my guess is that they will at some point, along with other interesting traffic data like average time spent per user on the website, etc.

Alexa Traffic Ranking is a great tool. It provides very valuable information about websites. If you install the Alexa Toolbar in your browser, this information will be displayed for each site you visit.

Happy traffic analysis!

About the Author

Article by Dom Vonarburg
Founder of Add Me!


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