For those of you just joining, Alexa is an online service that measures the web traffic received by thousands of websites (actually, over 2 million from what I can tell).
The way Alexa does this is by "watching" the websites that are visited by users that have installed the Alexa toolbar. Based on this traffic data, Alexa ranks sites based on the volume of traffic they are getting. For example, the current Alexa Ranking for SmallBusinessHub.com is about 75,000 (which means that of the over 2 million sites being ranked, this site is in the top 75,000).
Many people (including me) have criticized Alexa because it's ranking is not particularly accurate. One big contributor to this inaccuracy is that the Alexa toolbar was only available on Internet Explorer. So, FireFox users (which are a large and important group) didn't get "counted" for the Alexa rankings. I'm one of those people that wasn't being counted.
I'm happy to announce that after months and months of being beaten over the head by the industry for not having FireFox support, the folks at Alexa have finally released Sparky, The Alexa Toolbar for FireFox. I think this is great news. First off, despite being widely recognized as inaccurate, lots of people still look at the Alexa rankings because the data is both free and easy to get to. That's why it's included in the calculation of website grades by our popular
Website Grader SEO reporting tool
. Now, the data we've been using anyways will likely be much more accurate (not perfect, but just more accurate).
And, for those that still think that Alexa is grossly inaccurate because it still only counts people that actually download one or the other toolbar -- I agree. But, there's really nothing better out there right now that is free and easy to integrate.
Originally published Jul 20, 2007 6:27:00 PM, updated October 20 2016