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).
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.
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.
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.