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Alexa: The Web Information Company
As I was writing my recent post about Hacker News, I wanted to get some stats about the website to put in my article–page views, site popularity, and the like. I had gathered this information on various websites in the past, but could not remember how to get this sort of information from a website I did not own, and especially a popular site like Hacker News. A quick Google search for “site stats” yileded the site I was looking for though: Alexa.com. Alexa.com is a “web information company” that, as its name suggests, provides information about popular websites to anyone looking. I was looking for stats on Hacker News (news.ycombinator.com), so all I needed to do was stick the domain in the search box and hit “Search”. Presented with the results, I chose ycombinator.com and was given global page rank of the site as well as the U.S. pagerank and total views to the site (an approximate value).
Besides finding information on specific sites like ycombinator.com, you can also get information on the most popular websites in the world. For example, Google.com is currently #1 (surprise surprise) with Facebook in second place and YouTube in third. Incidentially, I find it interesting that Google accounts for 5.7% of the total pageviews to any site in the world, with Facebook accounting for around 8% and YouTube accounting for around 3.1%. Alexa also provides information on trending topics as well. For example, the What’s Hot page shows “the most popular pages on the web right now”. Clicking on any of the links in the What’s Hot section brings up a page displaying a list of websites talking about that specific topic. The What’s Hot page does something else though, too: displays a list of hot products. The list of hot products resides beneath the list of hot topics and includes the hottest products from around the internet. Similar to the Hot Topics’ list, clicking on the product name will direct you to a page listing websites mentioning said product.
So that was a bit of a lengthy explanation of exactly what Alexa does. Here’s a summary:
Overall though, the information that can be collected about any website is by far Alexa’s strongest selling point, and also why it is a website I am continually going to reference as I write more and more on here.
As a final, unrelated note: this blog also has a page on Alexa. According to Alexa, at the time of this writing, my blog is ranked 1968282 in the world, and 668152 in the U.S.. Also, in the U.K. this website is ranked 205882.
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