Jul 23 2008

RealRank vs. Alexa

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 9:37 pm

Last night a friend was asking me the difference between a site’s Alexa rank, and its Izea Realrank, if it has one.
I decided to create a quick post in the hope that it will help others.
First, lets go through the basics…
Alexa rank has been around a long time, and is supposed to give an indication of how popular (in terms of unique visitors, measuring one visit per day per IP) globally, compared to others.
How are these visitors recorded? Well if the page contains an image looking something like this…
… then each and every visitor is counted. If the image, or one similar to it is not present, then only visitors with either the Alexa toolbar, or a toolbar with the Alexa code in it, are counted. In either case each visitor is only counted once per day, to prevent unscrupulous webmasters from simply refreshing their own sites all day long. (That isn’t to say there aren’t other ways of gaming the system.)

So, onto Izea’s Realrank… This system is a little different, in that it doesn’t just include raw unique visitors per day. Within the equation for calculating a given sites rank, the pageviews and inbound links that are actually used to arrive at the site. The data is gathered by a snippet of code being inserted into the template for each page of a blog.

Because of the difference between the way the two ranks are calculated, it is entirely possible for two different sites ranks to go in opposite directions within a given time period. For example, below we have a graph representing ChrisMerriman.com’s RealRank, followed by a another graph showing laaneworld.com’s. The third graph is just one combining the two sets of data.

CM Realrank
Other Realrank
Both Realrank

Below we have the same site’s (in the same order – ChrisMerriman.com first, then laaneworld.com)Alexa rank over time. As you can see, the trends are not necessarily transferred from one rank to another…
CM Alexa
Other Alexa