Get Your Web Site Rated #1 and Boost Traffic by a Million Vistors
I often read Scott Karp’s Publishing 2.0 blog. Although I don’t always agree with him, his posts are insightful and entertaining. When Scott pointed out last week that all blogs at Technorati were rated number one, I couldn’t help but think about the Alexas, MarketLeaps and TrafficEstimate.coms of the world and how utterly bogus these types of rankings are.
I also was shocked recently when I learned that e-media guru Eric Shanfelt was including these services in his upcoming “Online Metrics Demystified” guide. Eric, who is a consultant and trainer after spending the past five years in three different positions at Penton, spent a couple of days at NAPCO with our print publishers. He had some folks starry-eyed at the idea that they could actually see how their titles measure up against their online competition by using these services.
Granted, I haven’t read Eric’s report yet, but I only hope that he outs them for the frauds that they are. Case in point: One of our Web sites gets about 25 percent of the traffic of another, but has an Alexa ranking about 50,000 points higher! Alexa (owned by Amazon) determines a site’s rank by the number of people who have its ad-supported toolbar installed as part of their Web browser.
Similar services will often use the Alexa ranking combined with the number of in-bound links a site has to it to estimate traffic, although search engines will discredit sites with inbound links from unrelated sites. More recently, packet sniffers have been implemented to intercept traffic and extrapolate a monthly amount of Web site visitors. Regardless of how they collect their information, when you go to these sites some of them carry advertising messages for users to click on, ask you to register for more services, or try to upsell you. To me this sends a very mixed message.
Don’t take my word for it. No experienced ad buyer has ever asked about our sites’ Alexa rankings or TrafficEstimate.com rating. In fact, they just might discredit any publisher who uses these stats.
“We all know that interactive media is fragmented and lacks an industry-wide measurement standard. A site’s traffic ranking is irrelevant to targeted campaigns. One site may rank higher, but my question is ‘with whom?’” says Adriana Burcheri, an account executive with Trekk Cross-Media. “The best way to determine the performance of a site for your target market is to track and test actual results. Reputable online publishers understand the need to test and will happily work with you.”
Another marketing pro who asked to have his name withheld said:
“Alexa is totally worthless. First of all, the Alexa Toolbar has been distributed in a bunch of download packages that have long been rife with spyware, adware and mailware, thus causing sites with those distribution methods to be higher ranked. Second, type ‘increase Alexa rank’ into any search engine, and you’ll see tons of people selling ways to drive up Alexa Rankings. There is a great deal of work going into rigging those ranks.”
I’ve suggested to Eric that he start a business as the gate-keeper of publisher analytics, making sure that spider and robot traffic is removed and the publishers’ own IP traffic is weeded out. He could use Google Analytics, a log analyzer and toss in some user surveys and have something powerful that I would subscribe to and would encourage our advertisers to use as well. Plus, he knows this stuff way better than BPA or ABC.
So please, everyone, download the Alexa toolbar and log on to PubExec.com while I get a booster script added to get our Alexa ranking higher. Then maybe I can work the increase of the ranking into my comp plan somehow.