First, there are a couple of camps on Alexa Rankings. Generally everyone agrees that Alexa Ranks are biased toward sites that attract a lot of webmaster types.
Some say that Alexa Rankings are just pure entertainment and that a high Alexa Rank only impresses people who don’t understand how misleading it can be. This article very effectively details why Alexa Rankings are useless for SEO and wildly inaccurate. Others point out that, while Alexa Rank is inherently flawed, sites like PayPerPost, Review Me, and others still use the Alexa Rank to calculate the value of blog/website advertising.
An alternative ranking service is Compete.com, but that is another post all together.
Theories on How to Improve Alexa Rank1. Install the Alexa Toolbar Yourself (Will help a little)
The theory here is pretty simple. You frequent your own site to post content, respond to comments, and grab links when you are link building and your visits count if you have the Alexa toolbar installed. I use Chrome so I installed Alexa Traffic Rank.
2. Encourage Visitors to Use the Alexa Toolbar (Will help)
If you, loyal reader, install the Alexa toolbar and come back often this site’s Alexa Rank will go up. You can get the Alexa Toolbar right here (hint hint) for IE, Firefox and Chrome. It will also help your own site fall in the Alexa rankings.
3. Buy an Alexa Site Audit (Only helps indirectly)
At $199 this is an indirect way to increase Alexa Rank. Indirect because a site audit will help you optimize your site for search engines which should give you more organic traffic which will help your Alexa Rank. Definitely a viable option for more commercial websites. Not worth the money for this site just yet. Here is a detailed review of Alexa Site Audit by on the excellent site SEOBook (click for the free 7 day SEO course).
4. Register on Alexa (Will not help)
Creating an Alexa account will not directly improve your rank, but it does let you access other Alexa tools that might.
4. Add an Alexa Review Us Banner Ad (Might help a little)
I installed the Alexa Banner Ad many months ago in the sidebar. It has netted the site only one kind review to date. More reviews would be deeply appreciated and happily reciprocated (send me a message with your site name). Some claim that having the banner add can benefit your Alexa rank – but this does not really make much sense and Alexa has been very clear it does not work. However, reviews are good and the banner ad looks nice, so it can’t hurt to display it.
A more direct version of the last point. It can’t hurt and may or may not help your ranking but likely not.
6. Add the Alexa Rank Widget (Will not help)
The theory is that the widget will collect information on all visitors , not just the ones who have the Alexa Toolbar installed. This sounds plausible but has been debunked by Alexa itself back in 2007 – yet many still claim this works.
7. Auto Surf with Upmyrank.com and Similar Programs (Dangerous, Stupid, Could Cause Serious Damage)
This site offers software you can run on your computer to increase your Alexa traffic rank. Basically you need to have the Alexa toolbar installed plus install software that will auto surf other member’s websites. In return for “visiting” three other websites you will get a visit from another member’s computer. The site give credits for referrals too.
I’m not going to install auto surf software on my computer. While likely safe, it feels too much like cheating on a test and more black hat than white hat. When the site has to write up how something is not illegal that suggests it is not completely ethical. Also the site makes this statement “We keep our rank below optimum simply because we are designed to raise our members Alexa rankings and with a high rank, Alexa might try to find a way to block our website…” Not interested in using anything that might annoy Alexa to the extent they could try to block my website. Also not interested in something Alexa calls a fraud.
Enfotainer.com makes the point that Alexa can track auto surf and cancel the effects of the effort, which seems reasonable to me. More importantly they point out that a bunch of bogus auto visits could get your Adsense canceled.
Alexa actually posted this on the Alexa Blog about UpYourRank and others like it:
“I can tell you with absolute certainty, that you may as well burn your money in a voodoo traffic pyre while chanting “Alexa” over and over. Maybe that will work. But these programs definitely don’t and you can look at their traffic rank as proof.”
8. Installing a Firefox Extension That Reloads Web Pages (Dangerous, Stupid, Could Cause Serious Damage)
Extension ReloadEvery will reload webpages to increase views. The problem is that multiple requests for the same page in a day only count once with Alexa. Worse, all those reloads to create fake views runs afoul of Adsense – not worth the risk. This forum thread discusses this and other strategies to game your Alexa Rating.
9. Install a Alexa Redirect Plugin for WordPress (Needs more investigation, likely does not work)
Several plugins for WordPress will alter your internal blog links to add the “Alexa redirect” prefix like this http://redirect.alexa.com/redirect? I’m not trying this because reportedly it will completely destroy the internal linking structure of the site and there is no solid proof that using such will increase Alexa’s traffic ranking”.
10. Use Alexa Redirects Offsite (Needs more investigation)
http://www.enfotainer.com reports positive results by leaving a redirected Alexa URL in blog comments, forum signatures, etc. with your site name as anchoring text. They suggest that instead of using http://www.enfotainer.com, all you need to do is redirect the webpage using http://redirect.alexa.com/redirect?www.enfotainer.com. If I understand this suggestion correctly, when someone clicks on the link they will be redirected through Alexa and the visit will count. I intend to try this out on a couple blogs that have proven to bring traffic from links in the comments. Any comments on how or why this should work are welcomed.
11. Get Your Site Set as the Homepage on a Network (May work, but problematic)
The idea is to install the Alexa toolbar on a bunch of computers in an office or school and set your page to the homepage. There are a few problems with this plan. First, does it make any sense to have your site as a homepage? Second, if the computers share an IP address this will only count as a visit a day. Third, it seems like a lot of work and might be costly if you have to bribe the IT guy. Now if these users do not mind having your website imposed on them every morning and they actually do stuff on your site that you want than the effort might make sense, but if it is just for Alexa Ranking benefits, not worth doing.
12. Write Articles that Attract Alexa Toolbar Users (Great idea)
Webmasters, internet marketers, and SEO interested people are more likely to have the Alexa Toolbar installed. Writing articles of interest to this crowd, that get visits, will increase your Alexa Rank.
Much of the content on Innovative Passive Income is already geared to the tech savvy crowd and people interested in becoming SEO and tech savvy (it is a teaching site after all) so this factor is already helping the site.
The flip side of this point illustrates why Alexa Rank is not a very good measure of true site popularity against all sites. A post about How to Earn Air Miles Rewards Fast is not going to attract Alexa Toolbar users like say, How to Start a Popular Online Internet Forum, which leads to the next idea…
13. Write a Post About How to Improve Alexa Rank (Great idea – but do your research first)
Many Alexa Toolbar users are likely interested in how to increase Alexa Rank , so writing an effective post about Alexa should attract more visitors to your site using the Alexa Toolbar. So, yes, I’m hoping to get some extra Rank from the traffic this post generates. It sure worked for DoshDosh, where you will find a post on Alexa Rankings that has been ripped off word for word thousands of times. By the way, reposting (aka stealing) one of several Alexa Rank improvement articles that has been posted (aka stolen) thousands of times before is not really going to help much. Try posting something original – and don’t steal this article which should only be found on http://mytopfreeware.blogspot.com
14. Hang Out in Webmaster Forums to Attract Webmaster Visitors (Will work)
Posting in forums that attract webmasters and including links to your site is a good idea anyway, with possible increased Alexa Rank a nice benefit. More traffic equals better Rank, but on balance webmaster traffic should give a better ranking boost.
If you hang out in the Google forums you can also build your Google Profile value and through people that follow your links, visit your site.
15. Advertise on Webmaster, Blogger and SEO Forums (Will work, but beware the cost)
This is the costly version of posting in webmaster forums. While a valid idea, I don’t use paid advertising to drive traffic to this site because it is not about selling high value items and most visits earn me absolutely nothing. Rather it is a learning/sharing site. If you find the information useful please check out the Resources page where some of the links are affilate links that reward me a little for helping you earn money online.
16. Buy PayPerClick Ads (Will work)
Effective advertising will bring more traffic which will help your rank. Ads that attract Alexa Toolbar users (SEO, Webmasters, Bloggers) will help your Alexa Rank. I’m not trying this just to increase the site’s Alexa Rank though.
17. Try to Get Digg’ed or Stumbled (Will work)
QuickOnlineTips.com suggests increasing your traffic rank by trying to get social traffic. In general increasing your traffic is critical to a site’s success and will naturally improve your Alexa traffic rank so nice idea, but not specific enough to be useful. I already try to increase traffic from a number of sources.
18. Comment on Blogs with Higher Rank (Will work)
Comments on higher ranked blogs should give you more traffic, plus build higher value links, improving your Alexa Rank accordingly. SEO Book has a free Firefox extension (you need to sign up for a free account) that shows you the rank of each site you visit (and a lot more useful data), helping to spot higher rank blogs when surfing.
19. Post in Asian Social Networking Sites (Might work)
The theory goes that some of the Asian social networking sites have high Alexa Rank, so a subset of the users must have Alexa toolbars. Therefore attracting traffic from the Asian sites would boost your Alexa Rank more so than say North American visitors. The counter argument is that Facebook is also highly rated at Alexa and it is because Facebook is really popular. I suspect that these other social sites are also just really popular and it has nothing to do with more Alexa Toolbar users.
Looking in the top Alexa Rankings for highly popular sites you are not using to drive traffic seems like a valid strategy, Asian or not.
20. Create a Webmaster Tools Section on Your Site (Will work, where appropriate)
DoshDosh came up with this idea and points to SEOBook tools as an example. It goes along the line of attracting more webmasters to your site who are likely to be using Alexa Toolbar. I don’t have SEO tools but I do have an extensive popular resource area that will help webmasters, bloggers and writers.
21. Create an Alexa Category on Your Site (Will work, not for everyone)
If you blog about Alexa news, strategies and techniques your site will become a place where people who are interested in Alexa (Alexa Toolbar users) will come.
22. Optimize Popular Posts (Will work indirectly)
Dosh Dosh suggests “Got a popular post that consistently receives traffic from the search engines? Include a widget/graph at the bottom of the post, link to your Alexa post or use Alexa redirection on your internal URLs.” Widgets and redirections are discussed elsewhere here but Dosh Dosh’s suggestion of creating links to your Alexa post fits with the idea of circulating your articles by building links to them at the bottom of your posts. While this idea will promote longer visits and more page views, it will not really create more visitors and therefore have little effect on your Alexa Ranking.
23. Hire Forum Posters (Questionable practice)
Basically you can hire others to hang out in forums and build links to your site. I would exercise caution with this strategy as you need to be very careful that the hired help are contributing to the forum, not spamming it. You can quickly destroy your site’s reputation if you engage in spam.
24. Pay Cybercafe Owners (Problematic)
If you could get your site set as the homepage on a bunch of computers that have the Alexa toolbar installed this would generate more Alexa hits for your site. If the cafe is using a single or only a few IP addresses the effect will be small though. Seems like a lot of work and cost for little benefit.
25. Allow Trackbacks and Create Trackbacks (Will work)
This post (and all posts on this blog) allow trackbacks. If you found this list helpful, link to it and get a trackback link in return. That trackback link should get you some Alexa savvy traffic and improve your Alexa Rank.
26. Don’t Use the Alexa Toolbar (Will not work)
This blogger suggests not using the Alexa Toolbar to surf any other site, thereby not helping the competition. Seriously, with millions of other Alexa Toolbar users out there and hundreds of millions of other sites, your surfing activity is like a bucket trying to empty the ocean. The idea also goes against the concept of bloggers helping each other out.
27. Understand the Long Tail
This article on the Alexa Blog details how very small changes in traffic (or measured traffic) for a lightly visited site or changes in other website’s traffic generally can move you around in the Alexa ranks by hundreds of thousands or even millions of places. As you rise into the top 100,000 sites you are no longer in the long tail and your rank will be more stable. Getting excited about moving millions of spots is silly when you understand how many sites have similar small traffic to your site.
And because the list keeps growing…
28. Use Alexage.com
Alexage.com claims to be able to be able to lower your Alexa rank to whatever level you like, it’s just a matter of how much you want to spend on a service subscription.