Why are there so many questions about the usefulness of Alexa Traffic Ratings?
Because the algorithm is so well-known amongst webmasters, for one. And because the “biggest of the big” indexing and traffic directing services (read: Google) don’t really use Alexa’s type of rankings.
If you’re writing code that’s web-facing, or if you’re doing SEO, or if you’re working for a pretty small mom-and-pop shop, the question of whether or not to spend time on Alexa is going to come up. For me, the answer is, “If the client can afford to cover labor that may or may not be worthwhile, go for it.”
I’m sorry that it’s not more definitive than that. Most coders out there know the algorithm ultimately boils down to simplicity itself. The one main step that comes instantly to mind is:
Install the Alexa toolbar and set your client’s site as the home page
You’re gonna want to do this on every computer at the firm. Perhaps bizarrely, Alexa rank is determined almost completely on the information collected from people using the toolbar.
The fact is, if you can afford it, Alexa is probably important. It still has buzz, and it’s unique.
And that’s most of what there is to say about that.