Ash Nallawalla's blog

Alexa changes measurement methodology

Ash Nallawalla

17 April 2008

General

SEO conversations won’t be the same again. Everyone who knows about Alexa’s ranking system has an opinion about it. Most are not complimentary, because Alexa relied on traffic measurement based on people who had installed its toolbar, or others like me, who use a third-party tool such as the SearchStatus extension for Firefox, which sends usage data to Alexa. Toolbars tend to be installed by advanced computer users and the Alexa toolbar has a large North American following, so it might not show reliable traffic trends for a site with an Australian focus.

Alexa has just announced that it will now use a new measurement technique rather than rely entirely on the toolbar. Without giving anything away, it said, “We now aggregate data from multiple sources to give you a better indication of website popularity among the entire population of Internet users.

Until Alexa is ready to share details of those multiple sources, we can only speculate that some of it will come from major ISPs, either directly or through other services that already have such an arrangement and are permitted to share it with Alexa.

For the time being, you can only see six months’ worth of historic data. Alexa says that soon the older data will be available, with better normalisation of non-USA data.

Ash Nallawalla

Search strategist experienced in large, complex websites. Ash's Google+ profile

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