All you ever need to build traffic is in the various HQs of Solo Build It! (other traffic-related topics in DAY 9 of the AG, see those forums below, too). Gotta great idea or a question that's not covered elsewhere? For example, even solopreneurs can start their own affiliate programs to build traffic and income - need help with that? This is the right spot for you.

Moderators: Stephen from Monroeville, Wendy from Toronto

#1370219 by ken-admin
Tue May 02, 2017 2:23 pm
Hi to all,

We periodically update articles and the AG on a regular basis and the page on Alexa came up. Research (on Alexa) really peeved me - it's so biased against a great tool. It always has been, but few have taken note of what's changed, and none give more than a cursory mention of 1 of the 6 useful strategies for it.

Some tools do outlive their uselessness, of course. But almost all the new articles were clearly just rehashes of older articles which ultimately rehashed from pre-2008, when Alexa eliminated the 1-toolbar bias by going to 25,000 new sources. That just....

1) wastes readers' time
2) leaves them with the wrong idea, losing out on a great tool and its uses.

One tell-tale sign that most articles were rehashes? They kept talking about the bias introduced by it using only its own toolbar. Now...

Never mind that THAT itself is irrelevant since you can discount that bias by knowing about it. For example, you'd know that Net marketing blogs get a boost from the bias. And if you know that niche, you also know what is high traffic for that niche and what's low. So what's the problem?

A bigger point is that it's super-useful for getting a quick fit for a site in your own niche, for tracking where you place in it, traffic-wise, for who's gaining and who's falling back, etc. Why does bias not matter? Because if all the sites are in the same niche, the bias cancels itself out.

Now, I guess this horrible-state-of-the-info on Alexa wasn't really news to me because I've seen the occasional new Alexa article fly by on an RSS feed. I'd check it out, shake my head, and move on (the time we waste so you don't have to - sheesh! ;-) )...

But when you stop and do research to update, it hits you. You see how many "new" articles there are, almost all flat-out bad (although a couple of the more interesting ones are called out in the new blog posts).

It points out the problem of the blogosphere, especially in the Net marketing area. Bloggers feel a pressure to post. Frankly, except for the best in their fields (and even then, occasionally), there's very little original research, little digging out of new facts and synthesizing them into new takes/ideas/etc.

Alexa is the "poster boy victim" of that.

I decided to clean this up, once and for all. Well, the content grew and grew until it was too long for a single article. It includes material on SimilarWeb and SEMrush - when and how to use them in combination with Alexa. It's the complete coverage of this whole topic - and it's up-to-date/right.

I couldn't bear to look at it anymore, so asked Mike to edit it into several posts. After he read it all, he came out with a great line when we were voice-Skyping...

"I feel like the editor for Peter Jackson. I'm gonna turn this into the Lord of the Rings of Alexa."

It was a great line and he did an incredible edit on the work. He even called Alexa to make sure we were on the money. It's pretty darn intimidating when we're the only ones to come so strongly on the usefulness of Alexa (6 useful strategies). So he wanted to be sure we had everything right.

And that yielded gold..

He got some outstanding new (unpublished) information from Alexa, which made our conclusions even more valid. They didn't realize that their "100,000 disclaimer" has not changed since 2003, something that took some digging to figure out - bloggers jump all over that disclaimer without thinking about how it makes no sense, so should be questioned...

And that's the thing. Bloggers start an article on Alexa EXPECTING to be negative, just seeking to find a new way to say it. They miss some great uses, therefore, right under their nose. And with some digging, they'd find some truly useful info.

But don't get me going on that! ;-)


Anyway, before giving all the goodies away, check out the post and follow along at... ... myths.html

It's all-Alexa, all-week (5 posts in all) I must use it 10-20 times per day. I want to know, for example, if an article I'm reading (from someone I don't know) is coming from someone with no traffic or is a quickly rising star - just to know where s/he fits. If the person is a player, is it someone we should reach out to? - that sort of thing.

Anyway, it's all said much better in the post... ... myths.html

All the best,

P.S. Oh yes - we'll be doing another "Peter Jackson" on this and cutting it down to TNT HQ length (probably 3 articles, shorter) for SBI!. The blog post is the "full, extended Director's cut." :-)

P.P.S. Here's our FB post about the post... ... =3&theater
#1370708 by Cath, SiteSell Content Team
Tue May 09, 2017 11:35 am
Since your articles came out, Ken, I've been using Alexa+ to check out potential partners and I have to say, it's been quite illuminating.

I strongly recommend anyone thinking of doing any kind of partnership / joint venture work to use it as described in the "Alexa series". :)

#1370731 by Stephen from Monroeville
Tue May 09, 2017 5:07 pm
i really enjoyed these posts on alexa (i also didn't know there was a fuss about it .. but i don't read very heavily many blogs ) ... it's a tool i use daily just to compare competitors and get rough ideas of traffic ... but i'm wondering something , ... do sites using "amp" decrease there position on alexa (?)
#1379431 by ken-admin
Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:56 am
Hi Stephen,

I just spotted this now, sorry you didn't get a reply sooner.

In the old days of Alexa, sites which received visitors who were into Net marketing or other techie-type niches got a boost from Alexa because a higher percent used Alexa. After 2008, per our articles, they diversified their sources.

And most recently, in personal conversations, they told us that only 4% of traffic sampling comes from their Alexa toolbar and that there is virtually no sampling error.

NOTE: Every system that uses indirect systems to sample and calculate traffic is bound to have some small amount of bias due to the sampling methods. This can be minimized by choosing a good mix of techniques. SW probably does a better job than Alexa, although Alexa is much improved.

I find, though, that using the 2 gives me the best "fix" on how much traffic a site gets.

Combine that with SEMrush to get an idea of how much of total traffic is sent by search. The difference (Total minus SEMrush) = all other sources of traffic (meaning direct manual entry of URL into toolbar, clicking on bookmark, as well as links from other sites, social media referrals and other non-search sources of traffic).

I'm not sure if Alexa was being 100% accurate with us for one reason. If you check out our SBI! vs WA study, we noticed a consistent trend. An example will explain it best...

SBI! was 22X more likely (than WA) to place a site in the Alexa Top 1,000,000.
SBI! was 33X more likely to place a site in the SimilarWeb Top 1,000,000.
SBI! was 43X more likely to place a site in the SEMrush Top 1,000,000 (actually, the equivalent measure of SEMrush that amounted to the Top 1M, so we could keep apples-to-apples comparison).

The first two measure "total traffic." SEMrush measures search-referred traffic. So we know that a common myth ("it no longer works for search") about SBI! is totally bogus. I've read that countless times, usually by an affiliate trying to sell his/her own product. The truth, as demonstrated by The Study, is that SBI! not only delivers terrific traffic results overall, SEARCH is a particular area of strength.

I kind of feel like Alexa because they, too, are plagued by repetition of the same nonsense. One blogger says something inaccurate (for whatever reason). Blogger 2 wants to do an article on the same topic a few months later - s/he finds and reads Blogger 1 as part of the "research."

Rather than doing his/her own independent research, s/he just repeats the same wrong info. When we did this comprehensive research piece on traffic measuring tools (full of our own ORIGINAL research), we were surprised to see how much info, some of it uniquely specific, was repeated by blog articles AFTER the first one would report "Wrong Factoid 1." ;-)

But I digress.

The other thing we see above, that Alexa says we're 33X better vs. SW's claim of 43X better than WA, was repeated over and over (Alexa always being the lower count). Now, the 2 do measure traffic differently. They use pretty large sample sets. So you'd expect some small deviations. But if they were both the same overall, you'd expect Alexa to be higher for one, SW higher for another, etc.

Instead, Alexa is almost always lower. Why MIGHT that be?

Well, compared to Wealthy Affiiate, where over 1/3 of its sites are "make money" related, there are no SBI! sites whose niche is related to "make money." So if Alexa still has significant input from its toolbar (or other toolbars more likely to be used by "make money" visitors)

There are likely 1 or 2 SBI! "make money" sites that we don't know about, but basically, there are none. Our advice steers people away from this hard-to-win, depressing theme where you end up sending folks to products that, for the most part, don't work. A small number of pros who really don't care if they recommend garbage, own most of the search results. Some earn (um - scam) pretty good money doing this.

There are not many honorable people earning a high income in this niche. Even if you decided to start a site about "the scams of Net marketing," there are tons of them. And the irony is that many of those sites pretend to expose scams while actually being a scam. Like I said...

It's a depressing niche. I feel like taking a shower after I've spent some time researching that niche!

Bottom line? Sampling bias is much less than it used to be at Alexa. My only suspicion is that there may still be some over-estimate of sites which receive the type of visitor which is more likely to use an Alexa toolbar).

I hope that answers your question (and a few others, to boot! ;-) ).

All the best,
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