PageRank and AlexaRank: the secrets on internet ranking
When you arrive on the web development field, everyone around you talks about PageRank and AlexaRank and how important they are for your website's growth. But what are really those ranking, how do they work and most important are they really worth tracking?
When you have a website, you have several parameters to track. The most obvious one might be your traffic details: how many visits, visitors, pages are counted per day.
Also, you usually track information such as the bouncing rate (percentage of people leaving your website after visiting a single page), the time spent per page, the location and language of your visitors, the device / browser they use, the sites linking to yours, etc.
All those parameters are essential and you should track them. But there are two other components that everyone will tell you to track. The holy Grails of web development are called AlexaRank and PageRank.
The AlexaRank is an online ranking provided by the international website "Alexa".
Alexa tracks the top 10 million websites worldwide and gives them a ranking from 1 (the most popular website worldwide) to 10.000.000 (the last website of the ranking). It also gives a "local" ranking to your website for you to estimate the value of your page compared to your local competitor.
How it works
To rank the websites, Alexa uses the information provided by its Alexa toolbar. The concept is simple: if you have the Alexa toolbar installed on your browser, it will record data about all pages and websites you visit. This data is then used to estimate by extrapolation the traffic each website is getting per month. Based on this monthly traffic estimation, Alexa gives a specific rank to those recorded websites.
How often is it updated
Alexa is constantly updated but you might actually see your ranking change on a daily basis.
PageRank is a website's popularity indicator provided by Google.
As the firm keeps secret its methods of analysis, no one could tell for sure how important is the PageRank in the indexing of your website on Google. Nevertheless, if in the early days of the web the PageRank was obviously an essential part of a website's indexing, nowadays, especially since the last Panda update, PageRank became more of an indicator without much influence.
A website's PageRank goes from 0 to 10 (0 indicating that the website isn't popular on the web as 80% of the online pages and 10 being the highest possible level of popularity).
How it works
The PageRank of your page is calculated based on many factors. The most important of them might be your linking: how many websites actually link to your page. But the number of links isn't the only element: the quality of those links, their respective anchors, the PageRank of the page they are built on, the placement of the link, all those aspects count also. For example, using tools that build thousands of links on low quality websites that point to your page might harm your PageRank instead of strengthening it. (I detailed this example in an earlier article named "How to become rich within 24 hours with your page first on Google ? The secret marketing" that I invite you to read if you have interest in this topic)
Other factors are considered in the establishment of your PageRank such as the quality of your page, the content you provide, the traffic you drag, etc. How all those elements influence the final score is kept secret and Google isn't so keen to share its formula.
How often is it updated
If you are looking for quick improvements, you might be very disappointed with your PageRank's evolution! Google does not update individuals' PageRanks very often: it might actually take up to 6 months between two updates. Therefore, there is no need for you to track on a daily basis the evolution of your PageRank: your efforts in terms of linking or SEO might take several months before showing results.
AlexaRank is based on traffic while PageRank considers the site itself.
AlexaRank considers only one aspect to establish its ranking while PageRank considers a large panel of parameters.
AlexaRank is constantly updated while PageRank can take months to change.
AlexaRank must be as low as possible while PageRank should be the highest possible.
AlexaRank has informational value only while PageRank actually influences your online ranking (on Google).
The answer to this question is very subjective.
Personally, I consider that you SHOULD track those two parameters as they give you information about the evolution of your page over time. It is also a nice way to feel rewarded for your work.
However, AlexaRank and PageRank shouldn't be more than parameters like traffic, W3C analysis, etc. Those two elements cannot be used as a unique way to estimate the value of a website.
First of all, the AlexaRank isn't reliable at all. It can happen that you get a huge improvement in your AlexaRank with very little variation in your actual traffic. The reason is simple: as Alexa only tracks those using the Alexa toolbar (usually webmasters), an improvement in your AlexaRank only indicates that more "web professional" have been checking your page lately. That's all. It does not necessarily reflect the real traffic.
Concerning the PageRank, its range is pretty narrow: from 0 to 10. The improvement here is quite restricted and is difficult to obtain. Also, as the updating rate is extremely low, you couldn't really rely on it to evaluate the impact of your work. Finally, as Google keeps its formulation secret, it is impossible to actually KNOW whether you are doing the right thing or not.
I would advise keeping an eye on them but never to rely on them.
I hope this article brought you the necessary understanding about PageRank and AlexaRank you were looking for. To know more about efficient strategies for improving your webpage I invite you to read my article "Write SEO friendly content in 10 easy steps".
Julien Rio.Tags: PageRank AlexaRank web tracking web ranking SEO