Do PageRank and Alexa Rank Matter?

We humans love to keep score. PageRank and Alexa Rank are ways of keeping score when it comes to your web site.

As a freelance writer, I occasionally get questions from potential about how well my articles can expect to rank in terms of PageRank. I tell them that I’m really a writer, and that the content I provide is just that — content. I’m not an expert at SEO, and I’m not someone who goes in for trying to boost a web site’s PageRank.

However, I do understand why people care about things like PageRank and Alexa Rank. Humans like to keep score, and we also want to know what something is “worth.” PageRank and Alexa Rank, along with other metrics that are sure to be developed in the future, are ways of keeping score and assigning value.

Advertising Dollars and Ranking

Before people advertise on your web site, they want to know how much reach you have. While this information can be discovered by sharing information about subscribers, or unique visitors, or Twitter followers, it’s much easier for advertisers if it can be broken down into a simple number. PageRank and Alexa Rank provide you with something you can show others, providing an idea of where your site sits compared to others.

With PageRank, you are ranked from 1 to 10, depending on how much “authority” your site has, or how “important” Google thinks you are. PageRank has a lot to do with links to your web site, and the “quality” of those links. Many advertisers are willing to pay a little more for an ad placed on a site that has a PR 4 or 5. If you have an even higher PageRank, you might be able to charge even more.

Alexa Rank is a little different, in that your ranking depends on how many people are visiting your web site. However, only those who have the Alexa toolbar, or widgets on their sites, will register as visitors. (One blogger group, Yakezie, focuses a great deal on improving Alexa rank.)  With Alexa, the lower your score, the better. You can receive more money for ads placed on your site if you have a better Alexa Rank.

In either case, it’s possible to game the system to improve your ranking. However, that is the case with just about any system, especially ranking systems online. The fact remains, though, that these are some of the systems in use to determine what rates you can charge for advertising — as well as numbers that help you figure out where your blog might rank.

Bottom Line

While I don’t think that PageRank or Alexa Rank should be the final word in the “value” a web site provides, it’s worth it to consider the effect that these systems can have on your ability to charge for the ads you place on your site. Additionally, these systems can give you some idea of where you stand, and whether you are improving in terms of how the search engines and other web analytic companies view you.

Image source: Felipe Micaroni Lalli via Wikimedia Commons

18 thoughts on “Do PageRank and Alexa Rank Matter?”

  1. I believe these rankings are just a small portion of what a successful blog is. It is a game that we are forced to play and I confess that I’m a bit of a stats nerd.

    1. Miranda Marquit

      I’m with you. I’d rather have a community of friends, rather than obsess about rank. But, as you said, it’s something we are kind of forced into considering. Sort of like how I have to submit the posts I write to social media…

  2. Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity

    Like Brent said, this is only a small piece. My personal preference is not worry so much about stats like PR, Alexa, Subscribers, followers, but instead concentrate on building relationships, community, and engaging people. Let’s face it, regardless of what the metrics show, if you never have anyone engaging you in any form, whether it be on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, G+, in person there really isn’t much growth that is going to come from it. And this is coming from a Yakezie member: the numbers are nice, but the relationships are the foundation to me considering my blog a success. Besides, if no one really interacts, why would the advertisers pay for that space?

    1. Miranda Marquit

      Thanks for your thoughts, Eric! I agree that connections are more valuable than stats. I have a lot of online friends in Yakezie (I even write for some!), and most of them say they enjoy the relationships and interaction more than anything else. While we do need to pay attention to stats to some degree, I agree that the most important part of building a successful site or business is engagement.

  3. Bryan at Pinch that Penny!

    I definitely agree with Eric above. If there aren’t any relationships that are being built, and there aren’t any comments through Twitter or on your site, how much authority does your website really have?

    1. Miranda Marquit

      Great point, Bryan! I agree with you about “true” authority. However, advertisers, Google, and many others, like to see things reduced to an easy-to-understand number. Unfortunately, these rankings are the best we have right now.

  4. I never knew how Alexa calculated their numbers. Wow. So no casual user counts for how they do it. Interesting.

    1. Miranda Marquit

      I didn’t know, either, until I checked. But, yeah, it only counts visits from people that are signed up with it. I’ve not added the Alexa toolbar, though…

  5. It’s probably the same thing as keeping scores with your investments. We’re obsessed with how much return we have on a daily basis.

    I am very much guilty of this. It’s addictive – the number games.

    We should focus on the process of writing good articles and promoting those articles. We can just hope that visitors follow.



  6. Pets Keepers Guide

    You said the ranks ranged from 1 to 10. Why my new web site has a rank of 0?

    By the way, I do not quite understand “only those who have the Alexa toolbar, or widgets on their sites, will register as vistors” <—- You have a typo in there. 😛
    Do you mean I have to have the Alexa toolbar and widget on my own site to be able to start counting the visitors? Or do you mean the visitors have to have those installed on their browser in order to be counted as visitors by Alexa?

  7. there are many people living to increate page rank and earn money. Anyways thanks for sharing ur knowledge.

  8. Relationship Expert

    This is a very good article. Many times I will read articles completely dismissing the rankings. As you stated, the fact is advertisers do use this information. I agree it there is more to a good blog than that, but if you want advertisers you shouldn’t ignore these rankings.

  9. I just started my blog few weeks ago, still in google page rank of 0 and very high in alexa..

    I would like to improve the alexa page rank and then get some ad sense in my site.

  10. Valentine Powell

    I agree. I write copy as well. I am really more of an SEO specialist than a copywriter but I specialize in SEO copy. The PR counts a lot for me because I need it to assess the competition when selecting keywords for my clients. The Alexa rank really doesn’t count for much because I can lower my score by simply visiting my own site regularly. Link building and Social networking is what counts most in my opinion.

    For instance, I started a Spanish learning site several months ago. The site was new and had no rank. I simply started to communicate with people through twitter and generated business. I remember I made a funny comment to one follower on twitter and it set off a chain of re-tweets that gave me even more exposure.

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