How Accurate is Alexa? The Stats Don’t Lie

After gathering monthly stats on 40+ blogs and comparing their online ranking by various tools (Alexa, google reader, Quantcast, etc) to actual page views, I wanted to take a few posts to put the data out there on how accurately some of these online tools actually rank sites. Alexa is a site that is designed to rank websites based on traffic. An alexa rank of 1 would be the most visited site in the world (google, facebook is #2). A rank of 1 million would predict that website to be the 1 millionth most visited site on the web. So the higher your rank, the less traffic you would get. That is the theory.

One of the problems with alexa is we don’t often have the actual numbers to compare ourselves to in order to see how accurate alexa actually is. Well, now we do have some data. After requesting the data from 40+ blogs we have enough  data to run some Pearson correlations to see how well alexa ranks blogs. Alexa does claim to be less accurate on blogs with higher rankings so we have to take these numbers with a grain of salt. However, the average user of alexa does not have a top 100,000 blog, much less a top 50 blog. So are the numbers from alexa practical at all?

First, there is the correlation on the entire data set. There were 32 blogs that had alexa ranks (between 139,913-19,740,920). Alexa rank was correlated with those 32 blogs actual page views as submitted by each blogger. Remember, the lower your rank, the higher you would expect your page views to be. That means you are expecting this correlation to be negative and statistically significant (2-tailed significance less than .05). A correlation was run, a Pearson R (2-tailed) with SPSS. It showed there was not a significant correlation between actual page views on alexa rank. R = -.286 (2-tailed significance of .113). In other words, having a low alexa rank does not actually correlate with having a higher number of total page views in a given month. At least, that seems to be the case on blogs ranked in the Alexa range of this data set as defined above.

Is alexa actually more accurate the lower your rank? In order to test alexa’s own claim that it is more accurate on lower (more trafficked) ranked blogs the data set was split nearly in half with basically half the blogs falling below an alexa rank of 3m (18 blogs) and half above (14 blogs). As alexa predicted, the lower ranked blogs did have a higher correlation R = -.445 (2-tailed significance of .064). That is extremely close to being statistically significant and is in the expected negative direction. The higher scoring blogs did not do as well and actually had a positive correlation. That is not what you want, as a lower alexa rank should translated into more page views. R = .238 (2-tailed significant = .412). So alexa’s claim that it gets more accurate the lower the rank gets appears to be true.

Bottom line, alexa does improve as your blog gets more traffic but it is still far from perfect. None of these correlations were statistically significant. The closest was on blogs with more traffic. It would be interesting to gather data on blogs with alexa ranks under 100k and have 50-100 blogs in the data set to see what the results would show.


Top Church of Christ Blogs – November 2009 Edition

Time for the latest round up of blogs by members of the Church of Christ. If there are any you think should be on here run an alexa search to confirm, comment on the omission and I will update the list. The change column represents the change in rank since the last time this was updated in July (see this post).

There are several things that are surprising to me on this list:

  1. The first is that it shows alexa is not as accurate as it is cracked up to be. For instance, Bill Williams (#57) gets about 100 views a day, which is more than a couple of the ones ranked in the 30s that get roughly 20 views a day. Another one in this boat is Terry Rush who I am certain gets close to 100 views a day or more and is ranked #48.
  2. Another surprising thing is the ascendency of Mitchell Skelton (6), Tim Archer (7), and Matthew Morine (8). John Dobbs’ numbers are also coming back as he had recently changed URL’s when the last list was composed.
  3. Also there are several newcomers to the list who did quite well including Craig Ford (10) who has an excellent Christian personal finance blog and who is a friend of mine from Harding Grad.
  4. Last, it is impressive that the last list in July had 47 blogs ranking up to 20 million in Alexa. This list shows our blogs are starting to stack up better over all with 56 blogs ranked better than 8 million. For those who don’t know what Alexa is, it is a ranking system that tries to order blogs based on traffic. An alexa rank of 1 means that website is the site with the most traffic on the web. So the lower the better.

Check out a few of these links, you may find some excellent blogs you didn’t know were out there.

Untitled Document

Rank Blog Alexa Change
1 Edward Fudge 70k 0
2 Al Maxey 102k 0
3 Matt Dabbs 229k +2
4 Laura Coppinger 261k NA
5 Jay Guin 324k -2
6 Jim Martin 493k +3
7 Peter Horne 538k NA
8 Mitchell Skelton 656k +39
9 Tim Archer 680k +31
10 Matthew Morine 820k +36
11 Grace Conversation 864k -7
12 Craig Ford 926k NA
13 Mike Cope 983k -6
14 Cecil Hook 1.3m -8
15 John Mark Hicks 1.3m -7
16 Trey Morgan 1.7m -5
17 Patrick Mead 1.9m -3
18 Darin Hamm 1.9m NA
19 Keith Lancaster 2.0m NA
20 Wes Woodell 2.0m +22
21 Wade Hodges 2.1m -4
22 John Dobbs 2.4m +23
23 Toddblog 2.5m NA
24 Brian Nicklaus 2.6m NA
25 Tim Spivey 2.7m +16
26 Gil Yoder 2.8m +6
27 Larry James 2.9m -17
28 Bobby Valentine 3.0m -13
29 Alan Rouse 3.2m -12
30 Roger Butner 3.2m NA
31 Adam Faughn 3.3m NA
32 Philip Cunningham 3.5m NA
33 Jim McGuiggan 3.6m -4
34 Joshua Graves 3.6m NA
35 Phil Ware 3.7m -23
36 Milton Stanley 3.9m -20
37 Dallas Burdette 3.9m -19
38 Keith Brenton 4.1m -11
39 Ocular Fusion 4.3m -14
40 Royce Ogle 4.4m -7
41 Terry Laudette 4.4m -3
42 Nick Gill 4.5m -18
43 Jonathan Storment 4.5m 0
44 Frank Bellizzi 4.6m NA
45 Political Cartel 4.7m -14
46 Chris Gallagher 4.7m NA
47 Shane Coffman 4.8m NA
48 Kinney Mabry (preacherman) 5.0m -14
49 Wade Tannehill 5.0m NA
50 Terry Rush 5.2m -13
51 Jerry Starling 5.6m NA
52 Greg England 5.6m NA
53 Greg Kendall-Ball 6.0m NA
54 Danny Dodd 6.4m NA
55 Phil Sanders 6.6m -36
56 Todd Deaver 6.7m -26
57 Rex Butts 7.0m NA
58 Bill Williams 7.4m -30

Microsoft Bing Off to a Fast Start…Ranked One Spot Ahead of Google France

So Bing has had a glorious debut. All the hype, all the adds. How has it done? Alexa ranks it as the 19th most visited site on the web. Microsoft is attempting to take market share from Google so I find it highly ironic that Bing just barely beat out #20 ranked Google France, Google’s French language search engine. Bing didn’t even beat out Microsoft’s own existing sites: Windows Live, Microsoft Network (MSN), and Also coming in ahead of Bing is Google’s German language site, Google’s Indian site, and Yahoo’s Japanese site.

Ranked #21?! They weren’t even close to blogger. They came in at #8.

I guess in perspective Bing did pretty well for only being around a month and a half. We’ll see how it does in the long run. Are any of you thinking of switching to Bing from your current search engine of preference? If so, why?