Today I thought I’d share the results of my recent quest to increase my Alexa ranking to under 100,000.
This is really wordy and detailed. If you like to live vicariously then you’ll enjoy reading this. If you just want to know how to get a better Alexa ranking, skip this post and come back tomorrow when I share what worked for me in a less verbose format.
Two things you should know
First, I’m not terribly obsessed with my Alexa ranking.
I didn’t even pay it too much attention other than an occasional glance (okay, almost daily at first, then I got annoyed and it became every few days, then once a week) until this experiment.
Second, my reason for deciding to see if I could boost it is childish.
Many bloggers work on their Alexa ranking so that they can sell advertising on their blog, since advertisers often look at Alexa rankings. That’d be a reasonable motivation. I don’t accept advertising on this blog, but I do enjoy a challenge and saw a mention somewhere that if your blog isn’t ranked below 100,000 at Alexa… well, the person didn’t think it was worth reading.
I think Alexa rankings are wildly unreliable for all but the top blogs (which Alexa admits themselves), and a poor way to determine a blog’s quality (try HubSpot‘s score instead if you really MUST score yourself and can’t tell from your traffic, comments, subscriptions and sales if your visitors find your blog worth reading).
It’s not bad to have a high Alexa rating. It’s awesome if you do. But like so many “measurements” I don’t think it’s the only way to figure out who’s worth reading. Ask your friends. Google the questions you’ve got and see who’s answering them. Some of the smartest business people I know, even some who’ve made 7 figures in their businesses, have terrible Alexa rankings for their websites. I’d be crazy to reject learning from them for that reason alone. But on the other hand, sites that DO have great Alexa rankings probably are worth reading.
Personally I’ve learned there are many hidden treasures in blogs around the internet with low traffic, or low Alexa rankings, and a low Alexa ranking doesn’t meant terrible content or no traffic is hitting a site. I know my traffic stats and I know they aren’t what Alexa thinks they are. I also track my stats so I can see the ups and downs and it’s not very close to matching Alexa’s ratings of my rankings as it moves up and down. But the post about not being worth reading irked me enough to get me to take action and see just how difficult it would be to get a better ranking.
And with all that out of the way, here’s the summary version. On 3/15/2011 my Alexa rank was 185,271. By 4/26/2011 I was under 100,000. Now it’s bouncing around 60,000. My traffic is only slightly higher than it was a couple of months ago, with the exception of two spikes in traffic from one post that got big attention on StumbleUpon and one that got super-shared on Facebook. Two spikes of traffic, while totally awesome, couldn’t have made that much of a long-term difference in Alexa ranking… one didn’t even reflect in my traffic graph on their site, the day when the most traffic hit showed the same traffic as the rest of the days that week (and it was several times higher according to my own stats).
I’m top 100,000 now so I suppose I’m “worth” reading. But seriously, nothing’s changed around here. Well, I may have a slightly bigger head. But same traffic patterns, same content, same me sitting at my computer blogging.
Step by Step to Under 100,000 on Alexa
Here’s a fairly detailed account if you’re interested in getting your own Alexa ranking higher. This is a stream of consciousness sort of account, not polished or fancy, just what went through my head at the time and I wrote it down.
3/15/2011 – Alexa Rank 185,271
- Googled ways to increase Alexa ranking, found that I am already on the right track according to most advice…
- posting content regularly
- guest posting on other blogs
- building links to my site
- Added Alexa widget to the sidebar (following advice in this post)
- Installed Alexa toolbar
- Claimed my site listing on Alexa.com’s website
3/16/2011 – Alexa Ranking 184,601
- Asked fans from my Facebook to consider leaving a review on my Alexa page:
- Started looking for guest blogging opportunities to build additional incoming links
3/17/2011 – Alexa Ranking 184,360
- Nothing specific, added a new blog post
3/18/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 184,267
- Nothing specific, added a new blog post
3/19/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 186,670
- Realized not taking specific actions isn’t helping my quest.
- Researched places to submit guest posts that make the process easy, have good Alexa scores, and some that I’d just like to be published at:
- Also noted I should post more on http://www.solo-e.com where I’m an expert.
- And side note, I need to work on building more incoming links. Alexa currently finds 37 links to my site.
3/20/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 186,356
- Setup an account with SelfGrowth.com and submitted two articles
- Setup an account with seomoz.com
- Submitted an article to SocialBrandWagon.com
- Remembered that I have a Hubpages.com account, logged in and spruced up one of my hubs, plan to create another one or two soon http://hubpages.com/profile/MichelleShaeffer
3/21/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 185,546
- My first guest article is live at SocialBrandWagon.com
- Traffic is hitting my site from the EscapeYourRole.com promo I’m participating in
3/25/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 186,something
- SelfGrowth.com approved my two articles.
3/26/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 183,842
- Alexa changed my ranking a bit, but they don’t show that they’ve noticed any new links.
3/27/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 183,842
- Changed my theme to use the Genesis Framework, mostly because I keep hacking Gazette and I know eventually it’ll need upgraded and be a mess so better to just switch to Genesis now and make upgrades easy on myself.
- Reworked by blog front page and side bar as well as navigation.
3/28/2011 – Alexa Ranking 173,979
3/29/2011 – Alexa Ranking 170,386
- Didn’t do anything except blog.
- Noticed this (see purple arrow below) on the Alexa graph for my site — am I in the top 100,000 right now? If so, this is very interesting since my traffic is up, but not dramatically, it’s been more of a slow, steady climb over the last year. February was higher than January, and in their charts, February doesn’t show at all.
3/30/2011 – Alexa Ranking 168,684
- Didn’t do anything except blog.
- Decided to write a post asking for advice on Alexa because I’m feeling lost.
4/5/2011 – Alexa Ranking 161,463
- Ultimate Blog Challenge has started. This just means I’ll continue blogging daily, or near daily, and that for the next month I’ll be commenting on a heck of a lot more blogs. I won’t bore you by adding a note here every day that I blogged. Just assume I’m blogging at least once a day through the end of April.
- On commenting, maybe the backlinks will help my ranking. We’ll see. I know I’ve got more than 37 links to me but Alexa hasn’t updated. I read somewhere they update every 3 months. No idea if that’s accurate.
- I also notice my 1 month ranking is 118,055 and for the past 7 days it looks like I’ve stayed under 100,000.
- I’m not checking my ranking as often because it was bouncing around so much I was getting a little cranky. Up 1,000, down 1,500, up 1,200, down 800, you get the idea.
4/11/2011 – Alexa Ranking 144, 244
- Several other blogs have linked to me over the past week or so. None are showing in Alexa’s link count yet but eventually they’ll find them.
- Posting every day still.
- Traffic is up a bit, not a big jump, but steadily growing.
- PostRank is measuring a nice improvement in engagement (tweets, comments, interaction).
- The graph is showing me as in the top 100,000 for the past 2 weeks. Looks like I’m at about 40,000 today. My one month rank is at 88,899.
4/13/2011 – Alexa Ranking 134,901
- Getting slightly bored and annoyed with tracking such a fluctuating rank. It definitely doesn’t match any of my traffic graphs (wordpress.com stats, Google Analytics, or awStats).
4/24/2011 – Alexa Ranking 109 something
- I got busy with the Ultimate Blog Challenge and forgot to track my rank. It’s gone down by about 25,000 spots. I’ve been commenting on a lot of other blogs and my traffic is up.
4/25/2011 – Alexa Ranking
- Just noticed Alexa’s finally updated the linking sites and now shows 50 sites linking to me. No major change in ranking. It’s the same as yesterday.
4/26/2011 – Alexa Ranking 99,536
- Success! 3 month ranking is now under 100,000.
- I’m wondering if the update to links helped push my ranking down. It dropped by 10,000 within a few hours of them showing the additional 13 links. Yay!
4/30/2011 – Alexa Ranking 97,576
- Completed the Ultimate Blog Challenge – 30 new posts in 30 days (almost daily) and commented on more blogs this month.
5/1/2011 – Alexa Ranking 94,617
- Here’s where I’m at now. One month ranking is down to 53,337. I’d love to get my three month ranking under 50,000.
5/9/2011 – Alexa Ranking 86,325
- Submitted a couple of guest posts to sites I write for.
- Have been commenting on more blogs since the end of the Ultimate Blog Challenge (ironic, I know, but now I have more time).
5/10/2011 – Alexa Ranking 84,380
- My ranking continues to drop lower even though traffic is down a bit because I haven’t been blogging daily.
- Monthly ranking is up only slightly which does reflect less traffic.
- I think long-term averages matter a lot and once you get into the top 100,000 it’s probably easier to stay there. My traffic patterns still haven’t changed that much overall in the last 2 months.
6/28/2011 – Alexa Ranking 62,340
- Over the past 6 weeks or so my ranking has bounced around a lot from 100,000 to 62,000.
- I’ve blogged consistently — usually every 2-3 days.
- I’ve continued getting articles and guest posts published.
- I’ve continued commenting on other blogs and building links to my blog.
- See my current ranking at http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/http://www.michelleshaeffer.com
I wanted to wait a bit after the end of this experiment just to make sure my ranking stayed in the top 100,000 before I posted the details.
Tomorrow I’ll post about the top things I think helped me drop my ranking and then the post after that I’ll share how to really measure your blog’s authority and success.
Have you ever gone on a quest like this for a slightly silly reason? :)
Or, got any thoughts you want to share about Alexa or measuring blog success in general?
Photo Credit: monkey business