How I Got My Alexa Ranking Under 100,000

Today I thought I’d share the results of my recent quest to increase my Alexa ranking to under 100,000.

This is really wordy and detailed.  If you like to live vicariously then you’ll enjoy reading this.  If you just want to know how to get a better Alexa ranking, skip this post and come back tomorrow when I share what worked for me in a less verbose format.

Two things you should know

First, I’m not terribly obsessed with my Alexa ranking.

I didn’t even pay it too much attention other than an occasional glance (okay, almost daily at first, then I got annoyed and it became every few days, then once a week) until this experiment.

Second, my reason for deciding to see if I could boost it is childish.

Many bloggers work on their Alexa ranking so that they can sell advertising on their blog, since advertisers often look at Alexa rankings.  That’d be a reasonable motivation.  I don’t accept advertising on this blog, but I do enjoy a challenge and saw a mention somewhere that if your blog isn’t ranked below 100,000 at Alexa… well, the person didn’t think it was worth reading.

I think Alexa rankings are wildly unreliable for all but the top blogs (which Alexa admits themselves), and a poor way to determine a blog’s quality (try HubSpot‘s score instead if you really MUST score yourself and can’t tell from your traffic, comments, subscriptions and sales if your visitors find your blog worth reading).

It’s not bad to have a high Alexa rating.  It’s awesome if you do.  But like so many “measurements” I don’t think it’s the only way to figure out who’s worth reading.  Ask your friends.  Google the questions you’ve got and see who’s answering them.  Some of the smartest business people I know, even some who’ve made 7 figures in their businesses, have terrible Alexa rankings for their websites.  I’d be crazy to reject learning from them for that reason alone.  But on the other hand, sites that DO have great Alexa rankings probably are worth reading.

Personally I’ve learned there are many hidden treasures in blogs around the internet with low traffic, or low Alexa rankings, and a low Alexa ranking doesn’t meant terrible content or no traffic is hitting a site.  I know my traffic stats and I know they aren’t what Alexa thinks they are.  I also track my stats so I can see the ups and downs and it’s not very close to matching Alexa’s ratings of my rankings as it moves up and down.  But the post about not being worth reading irked me enough to get me to take action and see just how difficult it would be to get a better ranking.

And with all that out of the way, here’s the summary version.  On 3/15/2011 my Alexa rank was 185,271.  By 4/26/2011 I was under 100,000.   Now it’s bouncing around 60,000.  My traffic is only slightly higher than it was a couple of months ago, with the exception of two spikes in traffic from one post that got big attention on StumbleUpon and one that got super-shared on Facebook.  Two spikes of traffic, while totally awesome, couldn’t have made that much of a long-term difference in Alexa ranking… one didn’t even reflect in my traffic graph on their site, the day when the most traffic hit showed the same traffic as the rest of the days that week (and it was several times higher according to my own stats).

I’m top 100,000 now so I suppose I’m “worth” reading.  But seriously, nothing’s changed around here. Well, I may have a slightly bigger head.  But same traffic patterns, same content, same me sitting at my computer blogging.

Step by Step to Under 100,000 on Alexa

Here’s a fairly detailed account if you’re interested in getting your own Alexa ranking higher. This is a stream of consciousness sort of account, not polished or fancy, just what went through my head at the time and I wrote it down.

3/15/2011 – Alexa Rank 185,271

  • Googled ways to increase Alexa ranking, found that I am already on the right track according to most advice…
    • posting content regularly
    • guest posting on other blogs
    • building links to my site
  • Added Alexa widget to the sidebar (following advice in this post)
  • Installed Alexa toolbar
  • Claimed my site listing on Alexa.com’s website

3/16/2011 – Alexa Ranking 184,601

3/17/2011 – Alexa Ranking 184,360

  • Nothing specific, added a new blog post

3/18/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 184,267

  • Nothing specific, added a new blog post

3/19/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 186,670

3/20/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 186,356

3/21/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 185,546

3/25/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 186,something

3/26/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 183,842

  • Alexa changed my ranking a bit, but they don’t show that they’ve noticed any new links.
  • Noting that even with the Alexa javascript on my page their traffic graph doesn’t match mine (using Google Analytics, WordPress.com Stats, and awStats)

3/27/2011 – Alexa Ranking, 183,842

  • Changed my theme to use the Genesis Framework, mostly because I keep hacking Gazette and I know eventually it’ll need upgraded and be a mess so better to just switch to Genesis now and make upgrades easy on myself.
  • Reworked by blog front page and side bar as well as navigation.

3/28/2011 – Alexa Ranking 173,979

  • Wow.  Interesting jump of nearly 10,000.  My traffic is steady for the last two weeks.  I wonder if Alexa likes my new theme (kidding–I don’t think that really affected it, other than maybe it’s helping my SEO which is sending more traffic) or if they’ve found new links to my site?  Maybe adding the javascript that lets them track traffic is finally helping?

3/29/2011 – Alexa Ranking 170,386

  • Didn’t do anything except blog.
  • Noticed this (see purple arrow below) on the Alexa graph for my site — am I in the top 100,000 right now?  If so, this is very interesting since my traffic is up, but not dramatically, it’s been more of a slow, steady climb over the last year.  February was higher than January, and in their charts, February doesn’t show at all.

3/30/2011 – Alexa Ranking 168,684

  • Didn’t do anything except blog.
  • Decided to write a post asking for advice on Alexa because I’m feeling lost.

4/5/2011 – Alexa Ranking 161,463

  • Ultimate Blog Challenge has started.  This just means I’ll continue blogging daily, or near daily, and that for the next month I’ll be commenting on a heck of a lot more blogs.  I won’t bore you by adding a note here every day that I blogged.  Just assume I’m blogging at least once a day through the end of April.
  • On commenting, maybe the backlinks will help my ranking.  We’ll see.  I know I’ve got more than 37 links to me but Alexa hasn’t updated.  I read somewhere they update every 3 months.  No idea if that’s accurate.
  • I also notice my 1 month ranking is 118,055 and for the past 7 days it looks like I’ve stayed under 100,000.
  • I’m not checking my ranking as often because it was bouncing around so much I was getting a little cranky.  Up 1,000, down 1,500, up 1,200, down 800, you get the idea.

4/11/2011 – Alexa Ranking 144, 244

  • Several other blogs have linked to me over the past week or so.  None are showing in Alexa’s link count yet but eventually they’ll find them.
  • Posting every day still.
  • Traffic is up a bit, not a big jump, but steadily growing.
  • PostRank is measuring a nice improvement in engagement (tweets, comments, interaction).
  • The graph is showing me as in the top 100,000 for the past 2 weeks.  Looks like I’m at about 40,000 today.  My one month rank is at 88,899.

4/13/2011 – Alexa Ranking 134,901

  • Getting slightly bored and annoyed with tracking such a fluctuating rank.  It definitely doesn’t match any of my traffic graphs (wordpress.com stats, Google Analytics, or awStats).

4/24/2011 – Alexa Ranking 109 something

  • I got busy with the Ultimate Blog Challenge and forgot to track my rank.  It’s gone down by about 25,000 spots.  I’ve been commenting on a lot of other blogs and my traffic is up.

4/25/2011 – Alexa Ranking

  • Just noticed Alexa’s finally updated the linking sites and now shows 50 sites linking to me.  No major change in ranking.  It’s the same as yesterday.

4/26/2011 – Alexa Ranking 99,536

  • Success! 3 month ranking is now under 100,000.
  • I’m wondering if the update to links helped push my ranking down.  It dropped by 10,000 within a few hours of them showing the additional 13 links.  Yay!

4/30/2011 – Alexa Ranking 97,576

  • Completed the Ultimate Blog Challenge – 30 new posts in 30 days (almost daily) and commented on more blogs this month.

5/1/2011 – Alexa Ranking 94,617

  • Here’s where I’m at now.  One month ranking is down to 53,337.  I’d love to get my three month ranking under 50,000.

5/9/2011 – Alexa Ranking 86,325

  • Submitted a couple of guest posts to sites I write for.
  • Have been commenting on more blogs since the end of the Ultimate Blog Challenge (ironic, I know, but now I have more time).

5/10/2011 – Alexa Ranking 84,380

  • My ranking continues to drop lower even though traffic is down a bit because I haven’t been blogging daily.
  • Monthly ranking is up only slightly which does reflect less traffic.
  • I think long-term averages matter a lot and once you get into the top 100,000 it’s probably easier to stay there.  My traffic patterns still haven’t changed that much overall in the last 2 months.

6/28/2011 – Alexa Ranking 62,340

  • Over the past 6 weeks or so my ranking has bounced around a lot from 100,000 to 62,000.
  • I’ve blogged consistently — usually every 2-3 days.
  • I’ve continued getting articles and guest posts published.
  • I’ve continued commenting on other blogs and building links to my blog.
  • See my current ranking at http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/http://michelleshaeffer.com

I wanted to wait a bit after the end of this experiment just to make sure my ranking stayed in the top 100,000 before I posted the details.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the top things I think helped me drop my ranking and then the post after that I’ll share how to really measure your blog’s authority and success.

Your turn!

Have you ever gone on a quest like this for a slightly silly reason?  :)

Or, got any thoughts you want to share about Alexa or measuring blog success in general?

Photo Credit: monkey business

Comments

  1. Excellent article! I’ll try to do that and see if I can get my rank bellow 100K too! :D Thank you
    Andre recently posted… Penny Arcade 3 e 4My Profile

  2. Thanks for the wonderful, article, I am currently working on a few sites and wanted to see how can we boost our ranking, this article has been of great help.
    Camaal Mustafa Sikander recently posted… Maini Poko Pants!My Profile

  3. Hey Michelle, Alexa is one tool I must say is very unreliable but what the heck?! If you desire to attract advertisers, you must take it serious though. I must however mention that the day I realized that Alexa only counts visitors with the Alexa toolbar installed, I personally took it less serious!
    Akaahan Terungwa recently posted… THE SECRETS OF GREATNESS: WHY YOU MAY NOT SUCCEEDMy Profile

    • Hello Akaahan – Once upon a time, Alexa counted traffic only via their tool bar, but I believe that has long-since changed, and now their analytics rely on more than just Alexa tool bar users. They source their data from a “global traffic panel” as per their website.

      Having said that, I don’t worry about my own Alexa ranking really, and I have only slowly, organically improving, over my four years of blogging.

      I think fundamentally, a major tenant of this article – regular posting of fresh content – a key to success.

      Just my two cents. I’m no expert!
      Melody recently posted… Four Years Have Flown By.My Profile

  4. Awesome article Michelle. I have recently begun tracking these numbers myself. I have am definitely planning to implement what you outlined here. I do blog fairly consistently, but I am still not seeing what I think should be an appropriate amount of traffic for the amount of effort it takes to get everything scheduled out for month/quarter.

    Will share what happens!
    Lisa
    Lisa Rodriguez recently posted… 6 Ways to Make Your Marketing ViralMy Profile

  5. Awesome post with the complete case study, Love it.
    Akshay Makadiya recently posted… CTET 2013 Results and answer key available on http://www.ctet.nic.inMy Profile

  6. awesome information! I’m also on the lookout on Alexa ranking and site linking in. Thanks for the tips!
    Thor recently posted… Proud Overseas Filipino Investor – Rose Cuntapay TestimonialMy Profile

  7. This is a great post Michelle! I realize it is old but a lot of it still applies. I am adding your site to my list of resources. Looks like your staying in the low 50,000s now :) I don’t think it’s ever been proven how Alexa helps you, other than to get a good Alexa ranking means you have been doing the right work and are head in the right direction. Guest posting, commenting, content on a regular basis, getting link backs, etc.
    Brian Jackson recently posted… Adding Keywords to Raven Tools Ranking in BulkMy Profile

  8. Wow, well done and great information! I hadn’t quantified the importance of the Alexa rankings but as you pointed out, it’s much more than just monetary gains through advertising. Thanks for laying out the plan for the rest of us.
    Dan Meyers recently posted… How Much Did We Spend in Nepal?My Profile

  9. Nice post, doing well with alexa too, hope to get to under 100k in a month am currently in 100k.
    shasha recently posted… 3 Best WordPress Coupon Themes | Coupon Site 2013My Profile

  10. Very Nice & Detailed Tutorial. Thank You Very Much.

  11. Great article Michelle actually I just set-up my Alexa account and put the meta code in my website now looking to improve my Alexa Stats but what I like that you are right it does not mean if any website having not good stats then it does not mean you are offering low quality content or your website is not getting decent traffic. Good to learn some valuable tips about Alexa.
    Hussain recently posted… Content Marketing through Google PlusMy Profile

  12. I like that you did this just as a challenge for yourself. I’m working my Alexa ranking down, but am currently around 300k. I’m aiming to get into the top 100k by Christmas and will start implementing some of your tips. Thanks.
    moneystepper recently posted… Saving money and dieting – becoming wealthy and healthy!My Profile

  13. Alexa ranking does not particularly impress me, though it would be nice to visualize that I am “playing the game”.
    I confess, I do look at my rank. I have a lot of work to do to improve. Thanks to you willingness to share how it can be done, I know I will get there. (I am still working on cleaning up typos and centering images.)
    Malika Bourne recently posted… No Non-cents Nanna Share 10 plus Uses for Mason JarsMy Profile

  14. I like quantcast better than alexa :|
    Shanoin recently posted… What Is Alexa And Why Ranking There Is ImportantMy Profile

  15. I loved all the information in this article. I will be implementing what I have learn here and hope to draw great traffic as well
    John recently posted… Nov 18, Nutritional Supplements Guide – Know Why You Need SupplementsMy Profile

  16. Thanks for this article. I’ve been wondering what I could possibly do to help me quickly get my blog rankings better on Alexa. I did notice something interesting. There is a site that I just created with Optimize Press that is killing it over my other two blog sites. I’m wondering if I should change the theme. But your article seems to suggest just to get busy blogging. Interesting stuff. Thanks.
    Toni Coleman Brown recently posted… Get Focused!My Profile

  17. Good information. Thanks!

  18. Awesome!!! This is really helpful. Thank you very much.

    Vishnu
    http://how2doit.in/
    Vishnu SM recently posted… How to use Two Different Profile Pictures in FacebookMy Profile

  19. Thanks for the awesome post on telling us how you had improved your Alexa ranking to less than 100,000.

    Your article and journey are priceless to us!
    I will follow some of your way to improve my Alexa ranking too :)
    kelvin recently posted… Are you prepared for driving in snow and icy weatherMy Profile

  20. Very nice insights. What is weird about Alexa is that I have been hovering at 250,000 between 238,000 and 270,00) but cannot understand why it goes up or down. Sometimes I have a lot of visitors to my blog when I post for a few days and it does not impact Alexa.Also, in my range it is hard to improve and it looks like I am drifting backwards even when I have a lot of traffic due to a new post.What are your thoughts on this?Have they changed their rules recently.
    Steven J Fromm recently posted… Comment on The Biggest (Tax) Loser: Misguided Gifts of Real Estate By Uninformed Do It Yourselfers, Realtors & Attorneys by QuoraMy Profile

  21. I noticed that in chasing your Alexa rank, you were doing all the right things to improve SEO and pageranking, as considered by the Search Engines. So even if the Alexa ranking is a vague indicator it shows webmasters and SEO who undertake the correct behaviour. Also if you entered the top 100k another site must have been pushed out. :)

  22. i will work on this also. I have already started many of these steps. Just under 1 million, so I have a ways to go… http://www.newschoolofmusic.com

  23. Great post and a nice journey you had a long way to get to where you are today..
    I guess i should start that too its important not only because the Alexa rank is higher but its an indication (if you are doing this correctly like you) that you are on a good path into building a better base for your blog and more traffic…
    Roy Moses recently posted… Greece Vacations for Infinite VarietyMy Profile

  24. Interesting post. Things do seem a bit random other than frequency of posting. I know people with ranks under 100,000 and they post maybe twice a month. They do have more longevity though. Guess that counts. Thanks for sharing.
    Jonathan Look recently posted… Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn YouMy Profile

  25. I really need to follow the things you’ve done, my ranking now is above 2M. I will let you know if there is any improvement on my site, http://www.theslambookproject.com. Thanks for this wonderful post.

  26. I found your article really helpful with facts and figures you have shown.Really appreciate your efforts.Thanks I want to increase alexa web ranking on my blog at http://www.thewebthinkers.com

  27. This is a great post Michelle! I realize it is old but a lot of it still applies. I am adding your site to my list of resources. Looks like your staying in the low 50,000s now :) I don’t think it’s ever been proven how Alexa helps you, other than to get a good Alexa ranking means you have been doing the right work and are head in the right direction. Guest posting, commenting, content on a regular basis, getting link backs, etc.
    Alena recently posted… When is Mothers day 2014 ?My Profile

  28. Nice tips.I really appreciate all your efforts and ideas to make your blog get under 100k. I am trying to improve my ranking right now, hope these tips will improve my alexa ranking

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