3 Ways to Explore Website Traffic

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Human preferences still remain the main factor to measure any website’s usefulness and popularity. Today we have a number of trusted third-party sources to explore and compare traffic of any site.

1. Alexa.com – the most popular way to measure website traffic from outside. Despite the fact, most people think it is inaccurate, the info provided by Alexa is widely used to make judgments about the site popularity. Alexa traffic is measured in percentage, i.e. “how many unique users visited the site compared to overall Internet users measured by Alexa.” A few most useful features include:

  • the option to compare traffic graphs of up to 5 domains;
  • change-range option (1 week, 1 month, 3 and 6 months).

Alexa traffic

According to them:

Alexa’s traffic rankings are based on the usage patterns of Alexa Toolbar users and data collected from other, diverse sources over a rolling 3 month period.

2. Compete.com also compares up to 5 websites. Apart from monthly traffic stats (“people counts”), the site provides some interesting stats to look into and compare:

  • people’s “attention” (the time spent on site compared to overall time spent in the Internet by US people);
  • average stay (average time spent on site by one person – in minutes);
  • number of pages per one visit;
  • velocity = the average change in daily attention.

Compete - traffic

A few months ago in an interview with Rand Fishkin, Jeremy Crane, the Director of Search & Online Media for Compete, described their data sources this way:

… we collect data on a monthly basis from more than 10 sources including ISP data, ASP data, Custom toolbars/desktop applications, and our own panel. The multiple sources of data allows us to adjust for source bias that can exist with a single source of data, however, it also brings some complications along with it. It’s quite difficult to integrate multiple data sources which is likely the reason no one else in the space has tried it.

3. Google Trends – their new “Websites” feature allows to compare traffic sources over different periods of time (e.g. past month, past year, in a given month/ yeah) on different territories (countries, states, cities). Besides, the tool will also show you “related” search queries and websites.

Google Trends “Websites”

According to Google:

Trends for Websites combines information from a variety of sources, such as aggregated Google search data, aggregated opt-in anonymous Google Analytics data, opt-in consumer panel data, and other third-party market research.

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty

Brand amd Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing,... Read Full Bio
Ann Smarty
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  • Michael Martinez

    Quantcast is another valuable traffic estimation tool. However, people should keep in mind that these services get data primarily from U.S. sources — hence, their estimates for sites that obtain a lot of traffic from outside the U.S. tend to be very wrong.

  • Jillian

    Another trusted place is quanstcast.com and is worth noting at least in the comments here.

  • Software Testing

    @ Ann,

    What is your idea about ComScore,


    Can we use this to explore websites and its traffic behavior?

  • Saad Kamal

    you missed – http://quantcast.com — which is pretty good too.

  • avi

    I find that google’s 3 week old product – “google trends for websites” is quite useful. When logged into your google account, and only when logged in, google will release estimated traffic stats for any given non-google owned web site .

    For example,


    Google trends is showing that SEJ gets approximately 7k-14k unique daily users.

    The tool does not provide data on sites that receive very little traffic.

  • John Spohr

    I think Ann has provided 3 very good tools. And while some don’t like Alexa because they think it is inaccurate, so what… it’s relative. The alleged inaccuracy applies to all sites it analyzes. I use Alexa and other tools as guides, not full blown web analytics.

    You have to keep things in perspective!


    John Spohr

  • Lowline Angus

    I agree. Ann has provided 3 very good tools. But, like a couple people mentioned above, quancast is another good tool too, IMHO.

  • Traffic Mystic Secrets Tutorials

    I would go with saad on quantcast.. I’ve tried both compete and quantcast and quantcast seem to provide more relevant results.. though this may because of the niche I promote in which is very specific.

  • antonio

    According to Alexa 10million pages are added to the web everyday. Without knowing what your website is doing and how to improve its ability to attract targetted audience you will never know if your product or service is the right product or service. Many of website site failures being in the design stage. It seems nobody really is paying attention to the details of what it takes to make TRUE SEO friendly pages. From choosing the domain name, choosing the right keywords and then having those keywords in description and title as well as the catagories and pages, would make a huge difference. Starting with a sitemap also helps to place you on search engins fairly quickly. And then be ready to proactively contineu to change and refine your contents. Every 3 months search keywords are changing so continue to fine-tune and retool your site. 77 percent of all users on the web read blogs. So maybe instead of static site, get a blog so you can easily keep updating the contents and search keywords. Ultimately a great site is one that generates enough traffic and conversion to be a viable source of income.
    Thanks for great writings.

  • Stefan

    I found “Compete” the most precise. Before I used “StatMyWeb”, but information seemed to have a time lag.