Will Google Analytics please kill Alexa? Thanks!
I’m probably the last person around to rail about how bad Alexa rankings are. They are really, really terrible. And it’s no wonder. Have you ever run IE with the Alexa toolbar installed? As a friend of mine put it, “I hope you like pain!”.
Which begs the question, who the heck actually has that thing installed in their browser? It makes me shudder to think where that data is coming from. But what’s the alternative? There isn’t one (free, “objective” web stats), and so Alexa data keeps getting quoted and used.
Fortunately for the web at large, I have the solution. Google should introduce “Google Site Rank” as part of their Google Analytics product. Many, many sites already use Google Analytics, so all Google has to do is provide an opt-in “list me in the site rank”, and then those sites start showing up. This would be especially great since Google performs server-side data collection instead of client sampling. Thus they could actually provide some reasonably reliable numbers.
Of course, server side collection is more open to gaming, but Google is pretty good at detecting click-fraud already, so I think they could just publish a little “click-fraud potential metric” that just showed what percentage of page views looked “suspicious”. This would quell most gaming because people wouldn’t want that number to get too high.
In the bargain, Google gets more people to use Analytics, drives more people to Adsense, and the rest of us can be rid of Alexa forever. Yay!