Alexa is Bullshit – Please Stop Using it as a Traffic Comparison Tool

Alexa is Bullshit
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Alexa is Bullshit, and we need to stop using it as a traffic comparison tool.

I thought this was common knowledge, but even now I have seen speakers boasting about their site’s Alexa rank.

What’s worst is when consultants start telling business owners that their website needs to be in the top 100k alexa rank for it to be legitimate.

I was at an event when another speaker approached me to give compliments about WPBeginner’s Alexa rank which is 1317 at the time of writing this article. After the compliment, he started bragging about his own site which is in the top 50k.

Well before you make yourself look like a fool, let me tell you why Alexa is mostly bogus, and you should probably stop using it as a traffic comparison tool.

Alexa attempts to rank top websites in the world which if you look at their top 10, I probably wouldn’t even debate about. Sure Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc are the most visited sites on the planet.

However as you start going down the list, it doesn’t add up. Let me explain.

I run several websites that are in the top 50,000 alexa. However for the sake of this article, we will only analyze the following:

  • WPBeginner.com (Alexa rank 1317)
  • List25.com (Alexa rank 13,333)
  • OptinMonster.com (Alexa rank 13,175)

As you can see, all three of those are in the top 15,000 websites in the world according to Alexa. However the order they’re ranked in is completely wrong.

It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that the most popular website among the three is List25. I mean come on, just look at the YouTube channel as an indicator (roughly 1.3 million subscribers and 203 million video views).

The site itself gets a crap load of visitors compared to WPBeginner and OptinMonster. Because I have Google Analytics, I can see more accurate data for each site.

Alexa is showing that OptinMonster is more popular than List25. Seriously?

List25 gets 6000% more traffic than OptinMonster site.

List25 gets a significant amount more traffic than WPBeginner as well because of it’s mass appeal compared to WPBeginner which has a smaller target audience.

Even though Alexa states the numbers are estimated, you can clearly see that the estimates are way off the mark.

I will end this rant with a small request, please stop using Alexa as a traffic comparison tool and save your dignity.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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13 thoughts on “Alexa is Bullshit – Please Stop Using it as a Traffic Comparison Tool

  1. Yes, THIS! Thanks for writing this Syed. Even though I knew it was bogus, it’s nice to have a metric I can point to for validation.

  2. What tools do you suggest for comparing site popularity even if it is specific to certain vertical markets? When pitching a business or website for sale the buyer inevitably wants to know ”how do you compare to x”. X is usually not public about their GA numbers.

    • That’s a really hard task. I wish there was a magic tool, but it doesn’t exist. If the site has verified Quantcast data, then that’s pretty close. However if they don’t, then you have to make your best educated guess based on the social media engagement, following, etc.

  3. Syed Balkhi While Alexa is only based on the amount of traffic recorded from users that have the Alexa toolbar installed over a period of three months. I found it reasonable where the list is concerned . WPbeginner targets wordpress users and web designer etc, these people are more likely to install the tool bar rather than list25.com , where the audience is scattered . Same goes with OptinMonster.com

  4. Take a retrospective view on one of leading companies’ marketing efforts at “FMCG: The Future of Fast Moving Consumer Goods”.

    ‘A Mars a Day Helps You Work, Rest and Play’ – Mars’ 1959 successful campaign

    Check fmcgbook.com for more details.

  5. I still think Alexa is a good indicator how a site is doing generally but I do agree it is not completely accurate. I tried their free trial to check my site ranking and compare it, but was severely disappointed.

  6. Man, its like you pulled out my words. I would totally agree with the fact about Alexa’s accuracy and way to rank websites is buggy. I understand that it only counts visitors passed through its toolbar or widgets, one of the reasons webmasters add alexa widgets on their blogs. Lol , I do it aswell.

  7. Don’t worry, anyone who’s serious about researching site statistics nowadays is more than aware about Alexa’s reputation. Would love to hear what your views are on Compete and Quantcast’s traffic rankings in context to your websites.

    BTW, WpBeginner brought me here. Great work.

  8. Glad I found this article because I agree with you I get a ton of traffic and my rank was going to a certain point then going back to were it originally started I was like wtf is this crapola. why should I keep paying $50 a month for most inaccurate readings ever seen. I agree with you thanks Syed.