It’s a simple fact that as humans we love to keep score on everything. Be it playing a round of golf, online games, football or any number of other things it comes to no surprise that score for ranking websites is right up there. When writing content for websites people often do their best to improve their pagerank and also their Alexa rank. But dot they really matter in terms of providing value to your site? To me the value of a site is how well information is presented and if I was able to get something of quality of or my reading or time spent on the site.
Lets first go over what Alexa is and how they get their rankings. This is pulled directly from the Alexa website…
“What is Traffic Rank?
The traffic rank is based on three months of aggregated historical traffic data from millions of Alexa Toolbar users and data obtained from other, diverse traffic data sources, and is a combined measure of page views and users (reach). As a first step, Alexa computes the reach and number of page views for all sites on the Web on a daily basis. The main Alexa traffic rank is based on a value derived from these two quantities averaged over time (so that the rank of a site reflects both the number of users who visit that site as well as the number of pages on the site viewed by those users). The three-month change is determined by comparing the site’s current rank with its rank from three months ago. For example, on July 1, the three-month change would show the difference between the rank based on traffic during the first quarter of the year and the rank based on traffic during the second quarter.”
As you can see only people using the Alexa tool bar are counted int their rankings. If someone visits your page and does not have the Alexa tool bar well that’s exposure for your site that’s not counted into your overall monthly ranking.
What Alexa does do however is paint a overall picture and gives you an idea of how much traffic and exposure a site is getting. This along with a PR (Page Rank) helps advertisers have a feel for how much exposure their ads will be getting. Normally the better the rankings the more you can charge for advertising on your site. However I would not recommend weighing to heavily on these types of rankings as their are programs and things webmasters can do to manipulate these rankings to a certain extent, however this is the case with just about any ranking system there is always some type of black hat method to skew the results in your favor.
Bottom line, to me I don’t feel a Pagerank or a Alexa ranking should be the final word in the “value” a website provides. It’s impossible for any services to tell any one person that this is the site for you with the ultimate answer you seek. However it does play its roll and along with other factors can help you determine where you stand and if changes you are making to your site are having some of an impact.