Manipulating Alexa Traffic Rankings

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Manipulating Alexa Traffic Rankings

With the launch of Alexadex “share trading” and more and more sites using Alexa rankings as a way to judge their popularity (mostly because it is the only alternative); especially for ad selling, I thought it would be nice to revisit the manipulation of Alexa, an Amazon.com company. Alexa rankings are based on the amount of times users with the Alexa toolbar installed on their computers visit a web site over a given amount of time.

Most publishers share an unspoken agreement that although Alexa stats are inaccurate, that Alexa is not that far off and its traffic ranking system does give publishers an idea of how they compare with others; the lower the number the better. If a site is ranked less that 100,000 – it’s considered somewhat well traveled, less that 50,000 – popular, less than 10,000 – above the upper echelon of popular sites, and less than 1,000 – the cream of the crop.

I was talking with a friend about Alexa this week and how so many advertising companies, like AdBrite, use Alexa rankings as a way to measure a site’s worth. Alexa is also apparently quite easy to manipulate.

Here’s a step by step trick from Sitepoint Forums member KLB:

1) install the Alexa toolbar into your browser.

2) Create a special webpage that contains a JavaScript array of webpage addresses from your site. Then create a JavaScript function that loops through the array and opens each address into a separate browser window (make sure they all use the same window). Between cycles through the function, cause the function to “sleep” using the “timer()” function for a random interval of time between say 5 and 45 seconds. Make sure that when the function reaches the end of the array of addresses it loops back to the beginning.

3) Periodically set the script to action in your browser with the Alexa toolbar installed and let it churn away overnight. To save bandwidth you can always disable the loading of images. If you want it to be really effective, have a few friends run the same script from their browsers with the Alexa toolbar installed.

That is all there is to it. I did this about a half dozen times to one of my sites over a period of one month and it jumped up to the 80,000 mark in Alexa. I’m sure if I ran it more often it would have done even better.

Or, you can buy your way to a top Alexa ranking via AlexaBooster, which uses some sort of traffic exchange desktop software to boost site views by browsers equipped with Alexa. For $300 a month AlexaBooster claims to secure a 10,000 or above ranking for its customers, for $5,000 a month, a ranking of 100 or above.

AlexaBooster sales copy :

Are you looking for top rankings on alexa.com? If so then you have come to the right place! Alexabooster has been boosting thousands of sites for over 3 years!

Using the alexabooster software can boost your ranking anywhere from 100K or better! Alexabooster is a simple 3 step software that runs hidden in your sytem tray.

And then there is AlexaSurf which differentiates itself with the forementioned Booster tool by not using exchange software but connecting publishers with publishers – humans with humans – for site visiting exchanges to boost traffic popularity numbers:

We have created a tool that does not use any third party software to try and manipulate stats. Our system simply allows you to take part in a traffic exchange system for ONLY users who are using the alexa toolbar. This system will increase your rankings and give you the advantage online.

Our system is the only Free alexa tool that will allow you to boost your rankings without risk of having your site banned. Please feel free to signup and test out or system.

I highly doubt that many publishers are spending $5,000 a month to boost Alexa stats, as true site traffic stats would give more weight to selling ads or trading links than Alexa numbers. But after reading these posts and services, I can’t help but think twice when viewing Alexa stats and feel that they should be taken with a grain of salt more than anything.

When measuring the popularity of a site, along with Alexa rankings one should also review incoming links, web citations (are people talking about the site), request stat & analytics info, and even look a bit into blog rankings in Technorati or Feedster along with Google PageRank. A well rounded approach to judging a site’s worth will give you a much more open idea of value than one set of numbers.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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