Official Alexa Toolbar for Firefox Released – What You Should Know
July 23, 2007 by Gaman
In case you don’t know about this already, Alexa has released a toolbar for Firefox. What this means is that more Firefox users can now be counted towards a site’s overall Alexa ranking. This will effectively improves the accuracy of the Alexa ranking as more Firefox users decide to install the toolbar.
Previously, the official Alexa toolbar only exists for Internet Explorer.
Once installed, the toolbar sits quietly in your browser status bar at the bottom right showing a site traffic trend, reach meter and traffic rank. In addition, a new related links menu is added to your browser menu bar.
I feel the traffic trend information is too small to be useful. Unless I can see how a site traffic trend compares to others, I might as well visit Alexa to view and compare traffic trends.
While the official Alexa toolbar has just been released, the unofficial one has been around for quite sometime. A Firefox extension for Alexa called SearchStatus offers almost everything the official toolbar has and more.
The SearchStatus does affect Alexa ranking as stated in the download page. Its users form part of the panel of toolbar users that contribute towards Alexa statistics.
For every web page you visit while using SearchStatus (excluding secure domains and those you have configured as private), certain information, including your ip address, the url of the web page you visit, and general information about your browser and computer’s operating system will be transmitted from your computer to Alexa. Some of the url’s you visit, which are transmitted to Alexa, will contain information that is personally identifiable.
If you are concern about your privacy, Alexa claims that it doesn’t attempt to analyse web usage data to determine the identity of any user. Basically you just have to trust them not to misuse your browsing habit information.
Is Alexa Traffic Rank Important?
To the general Internet surfers, Alexa traffic rank means almost nothing really. But if you are trying to sell advertising on your website, it’s important to have a good Alexa ranking. This is because Alexa is used by many advertising companies when evaluating how much your blog’s worth. Having a good Alexa ranking puts you in a better position to demand (or enjoy) higher payouts.
In addition you could use Alexa information to confirm if someone is telling the truth about his site traffic level. For example if a site claims it gets 50,000 unique visitors a day, and it’s ranked about one million on Alexa, this guys is probably lying.
You can further verify this with the site’s Google PageRank and inbound links. Surely a site that gets that many visitors per day would have a higher PR and tons of inbound links.
Alexa traffic rank has its drawback in that it only counts visits from users who surf with their toolbar installed. Since those who install Alexa are usually the tech savvy type, a site caters towards webmasters typically enjoys a better Alexa ranking than a gardening website for example even though they both have the same number of daily visitors.