POP SEO Tip #32: Don’t Base Your Marketing on Alexa or Other Prediction Sites

Traffic prediction websites have been around for years now. Alexa is probably the most visible of them, but there are actually several out there. They’re routinely used in a wide range of endeavors, but notably for business owners, they’re often used to help formulate marketing plans. Don’t fall into this trap. Several recent studies have found that not only are these sites disappointingly inaccurate, but they’re largely a waste of your time and money. None of the sites measured, which included SEMRush, Twitter, Google AdWords, MOZ, SimilarWeb, Alexa, Compete.com and Quantcast, provided useful marketing insights. Some, however,  were more usable, and the studies showed how they should be used. SimilarWeb and Compete.com turned out to be the most useful. This wasn’t because their predictions were accurate, but because the correlation between their numbers and ongoing traffic trends were consistent. For instance, while Compete might have shown you had two or even three times the amount of traffic per month as your own analytics, the correlation between traffic spikes and drops would be accurate. These sites are also useful in comparing one site against another (again, due to correlation, not prediction accuracy). When everything is said and done, there is no site out there that can accurately predict your traffic. What should you do about marketing, then? This is where marketing savvy comes in handy -- useful content, clear offers and calls to action, reputation management, and excellent customer service -- combined with the ability to drill down into your own analytics and make informed connections and decision based on accurate information. Using Alexa and other similar sites seems to be largely a waste of time, and in a worst-case scenario, could see you throwing all your marketing money behind an ineffective campaign that won’t benefit your bottom line in the least.

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