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Ease up on Alexa

Posted on 11.26.2006

Industry folks have been unnecessarily harsh on Alexa of late in my personal opinion. It's true, the metrics provider can be gamed but that's not anything that should surprise you - could you not do the same thing with Google Trends? Of course you could; just find some obscure keyword or key phrase and search a few thousand times using a Google Search API.or Google Coop and watch the traffic for that search term shoot through the roof.

Alexa (if you are not familiar with the free service) works in the following way; a user downloads a toolbar, visits websites and then Alexa tabulates the data. It's (if it's not gamed) a surprisingly helpful resource to help you assess the overall traffic of a website. While few if any should use the data as the sole means to gauge the success of a website, it does provide a glimpse in to what that site has been doing the past few months and years. Large spikes in traffic mean one of two things - that the site legitimately received a natural increase in traffic or that it's being gamed. You can tell the two apart by either asking the site directly why there was such an increase or doing some research on your own. If it's a blog, search Technorati for that post and see how many people link to it. If it's a standard site, do some news research and see what was happening with the company at the time.

So you want to game your Alexa numbers?
Install the Alexa toolbar, get a webpage refresher (one example, and another) for Internet Explorer and set it to reload your website at a random interval - say ten minutes or so. You'll be famous with Alexa in no time.

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