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Comparing Finance blogs. Is Alexa worthless?

I have heard not once that Alexa ratings are worthless. While I agree that Alexa may not be very precise in general, I believe it is a good indicator if websites from the same category are compared. The critical piece here is that the visitors’ demographics is similar. If this is the case then approximately the same percentile of visitors to each site will use Alexa toolbar, which in turn will mean that the Alexa rank will be equally weighted.

Let’s use Personal Finance blogs as our target category and verify how well indirect indicators like Alexa and Technorati correlate with direct ones, RSS readers and daily visitor/page view counts. Here are the kinds of stats I was able to collect:

Alexa Rank Alexa rank, 3 months moving average. Calculated based on data from visitors who use Alexa toolbar in their browsers.
Google Page Rank Google Page rank, updated once every 3 months. Number of back links to the blog is one of the factors affecting this number
Technorati Technorati Rank is calculated based on how many times the blog is linked by other blogs in the past 6 months
RSS Readers RSS readers count via FeedBurner. I have collected these numbers using the same trick that I used in the past
Del.icio.us Number of times the blog (with and without “www” prefix) is tagged in Del.icio.us
Daily Visitors Average daily visitors data for the past week. I was able to collect it because many blogs publish their stats via SiteMeter.
Daily Page Views Average pageviews data for the past week. Collected via SiteMeter as well.

The table below is just raw data. I spent all night compiling it and didn’t really have time to make any conclusions (the analysis is now available here). I will take a closer look at it tomorrow and will share with you what I find. Meanwhile you are welcome to do your own analysis in the comments. ;-)

Alexa Rank Google Page Rank Technorati RSS Readers Del.icio.us Daily Visitors Daily Page Views
The Simple Dollar 24189 5 1499 6455 843 13426 26893
Get Rich Slowly 26883 6 1428 19258 1884 8037 14552
Personal Finance Advice 33005 5 1934 266
I Will Teach You to be Rich 38348 6 3861 2394
Blueprint for Financial Prosperity 40822 5 8745 3411 50 2867 4437
My Money Blog 44138 6 7297 606
Consumerism Commentary 44278 0 10294 2981 214 1859 3303
Five Cent Nickel 44837 5 11891 2518 144 2701 4489
Free Money Finance 51194 6 5731 270 3044 6104
Clever Dude 63252 2 18394 417 39 491 680
Zillow Blog 69853 6 10328 2068 74
My Financial Journey 71352 4 21625 221 20 696 917
Lazy Man and Money 78837 4 412 20 426 754
All Financial Matters 79074 5 19206 2911 281 1783 3005
Money, Matter, and More Musings 90057 4 3215 772 45
Money Smart Life 91747 4 18394 368 16 709 1207
Punny Money 93784 5 35187 517 30 335 537
Neville’s Financial Blog 99697 5 18766 195
Fat Pitch Financials 104790 5 20162 1037 65 473 825
Mighty Bargain Hunter 105539 5 18976 880 81 763 1973
The Digerati Life 109456 4 2648 442 21
Personal Finance Journey 110272 6 25967 387 893 2251
Wheaties for Your Wallet 113019 6 44
The Sun’s Financial Diary 119299 4 368 16
No Credit Needed 121289 5 19077 49
Blogging Away Debt 133798 5 13230 875 76 1022 2865
My 1st Million at 33 146675 5 15264 717 91
Rate Ladder 156128 2 81 9
Binary Dollar 157077 4 363 23
Boston Gal’s Open Wallet 162412 5 18556 544 108
Getting Green 186997 3 40597 146 22 879 1357
Finandom 188080 3 90666 70 0
Getting Finances Done 190984 5 28759 1 521 802
2 Million 198539 2 25090 51
My Two Dollars 205657 4 48187 109 7 512 948
Generation X Finance 225513 4 33779 472 43 721 1088
Stop Buying Crap 240275 5 1208 123
The Finance Journey 242233 4 65769 7 104 180
Hustler Money Blog 266905 3 176 14
Mapgirlā€™s Fiscal Challenge 286264 5 43923 57 0 210 362
Queer Cents 294863 5 0 768 1299
Canadian Capitalist 309444 5 641 53
We are in Debt 329162 4 30980 499 41
My Open Wallet 329535 6 18871 460 128
Money Musings 329587 4 50507 1454 0
My Money Forest 352494 5 56308 124 21 73 95
Blunt Money 352903 3 51777 5
Ask Mr Credit Card 380771 3 0
Make Love Not Debt 389132 5 28290 94
Frugal Duchess 390220 5 32285 22 316 436
No Limits Ladies 400449 4 3712 23
How to Make a Million Dollars 402206 4 76349 21 6 61 83
Young and Broke 403449 5 71
Experiments in Finance 413163 5 56308 94 25 401 759
Zen Personal Finance 438991 6 20162 75 312 514
Its Just Money 439008 5 30980 9 607 978
Tired But Happy 457058 5 27 271 366
Single Ma’s Fabulous Financials 458701 5 27256 190 24
Fire Finance 462317 3 6579 87 6
Poorer Than You 465178 0 86478 102 2 174 284
Not Made of Money 471813 4 105218 198 2 838 1546
My Retirement Blog 495712 2 120609 0 60 93

Update: The experiment was in part inspired by this great analysis done at SEOmoz blog


See also:


27 Responses to “Comparing Finance blogs. Is Alexa worthless?”


  1. 1 Enough Wealth Apr 17th, 2007 at 6:05 am

    Nice table – pity I’m not included ;(

    One thing I noticed with my blog is that the move from blogspot URL to my own domain (redirected to blogspot) stuffed up my technorati ranking, google pagerank etc, as I know have a mix of links to the old URL and the new:
    http://enoughwealth.blogspot.com
    http://enoughwealth.com

    I also mirror my content onto
    http://enoughwealth.savingadvice.com
    and it’s interesting that the readership of savingadvice hosted blogs seems discrete from those that frequent pfblogs etc. I’ve had a fairly steady readership of around 40/day on blogspot, but get around 95/day on the savingadvice site.

    Regards
    http://enoughwealth.com

  2. 2 john Apr 17th, 2007 at 6:07 am

    Very interesting, I love facts and figures. What about your site? What are your stats and rank?

  3. 3 Mr Credit Card Apr 17th, 2007 at 6:28 am

    Thanks for mentioning my blog. I guess alexa does give you a sense of how your blog is “doing” in your space. Having said that, new and upcoming blogs will have have “good” alexa scores. But they should not be dismissed because of that.

  4. 4 fivecentnickel.com Apr 17th, 2007 at 7:40 am

    Interesting. I just ran some quick stats (following appropriate transformations) and found that everything but PageRank in your table is (individually) significantly correlated with Alexa ranking. However, when I ran a multiple regression (i.e., considered all factors simultaneously), most of those effects went away, leaving just Technorati ranking as a good predictor of Alexa ranking.

  5. 5 Clever Dude Apr 17th, 2007 at 8:18 am

    It’s strange I’m the only PR 2 in the top ~27 of the list (next one is Rateladder.com). Everyone else is PR 4 or above.

    Perhaps I should actually have hope I’ll bump up to a 5 after this current google PR update! My site started at 4 until the last update in December/January when I dropped to a 2.

    Thanks Yan!

  6. 6 Yan Apr 17th, 2007 at 10:24 am

    John:
    My stats as of yesterday:

    Alexa: 77324
    Page Rank: 4
    Technorati: 24593
    RSS: 714
    Del.icio.us: 72
    Visitors: 899
    Page Views: 2115

    I didn’t include my blog since I didn’t feel it was a good match to the Personal Finance category.

    fivecentnickel.com:

    Could you share details on how you calculated the correlation?

    Clever Dude:

    You should complain to Google. ;-)
    Seriously though, a lot of factors affect Page Rank. It is mostly influenced by back links but from what I know even the type of websites that link to you can make the difference.

  7. 7 Clever Dude Apr 17th, 2007 at 10:32 am

    I have about 650 backlinks, which isn’t too bad. Alot of them are from sites in the top 10 above like nickel and many other financial blogs.

    I feel the update coming on really soon. My PR is showing at 0 for all but 4 of google’s servers. That either means those servers are ready to reset or my PR really dropped to 0 (like Flexo’s). We’ll find out soon though!

  8. 8 Stephanie @ PoorerThanYou Apr 17th, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    I notice you don’t have the RSS or Sitemeter stats for PoorerThanYou. The RSS I understand – I took down the chicklet. However, it’s still active, so you can call it up via http://feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/PoorerThanYou
    Of course, I tell you this on a day that my RSS subscribership is down a significant amount! ;)

    But the SiteMeter stats are easily accessible, right on my site. http://www.sitemeter.com/stats.asp?site=s31poorer

  9. 9 Yan Apr 17th, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Stephanie:

    What was your RSS count yesterday?

    I also noticed a big drop today for my blog. Google Feedfetcher part of subscribers fell more than twice. I account it for some technical issues at FeedBurner or Google.

  10. 10 mapgirl Apr 17th, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    http://www.technorati.com/profile/mapgirl

    Try going there for my Technorati rank. I don’t quite know how to fix it, but I’ll work on that someday.

    Interesting compilation though. Thanks for doing it. Makes me wonder if I could be doing more.

  11. 11 Yan Apr 17th, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    mapgirl:

    I had the same problem and fixed it just recently. Submitting the issue to Technorati forums is what did the trick for me.
    http://support.technorati.com/

  12. 12 Dean Apr 17th, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    Awesome list, you really put in the effort. I have to check out some of those sites.

  13. 13 Sun Apr 17th, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Thanks for the list, Yan! You must have spent lots of time on this. There’s a problem with my Technorati rank since it appears stuck at 25 links all the time. I emailed them about the problem, but never got a reply.

  14. 14 GOlbguru Apr 18th, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Wow…you must have incredible patience. This rocks. :)
    Thanks for doing this. Some people say “ha..numbers mean nothing”…but I won’t be surprised to see some of them visiting this post 10 times a day to compare their numbers with others. :)

  15. 15 prlinkbiz Apr 18th, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Wow- I am impressed by how much research you did! I didn’t even know that about NLL! We started it as a hobby, but hey, we’ve been doing this for a while now, we might as well do it right, huh? lol

  16. 16 George Apr 18th, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    Nice research! I appreaciate that you included my site, Fat Pitch Financials.

    Hey fivecentnickel, I’d love to see your statistical analysis on this table. Are you planning on posting your results?

  17. 17 Yan Apr 18th, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Thanks, George. I have just finished my analysis and you are going to see it posted very soon, maybe later today

  18. 18 Will Apr 18th, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Nice work Yan! This is probably the most comprehensive ranking I’ve ever seen.

    I know people tend to say they don’t care about stats, but I think PF bloggers are naturally pretty curious about numbers in general. We love to measure performance. =)

    For what it’s worth, here’s Wise Bread’s data:

    Alexa: 22,468
    Page Rank: 6
    Technorati: 2808
    RSS: 1340
    Del.icio.us: 208

  19. 19 Maki :: Dosh Dosh Apr 19th, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    That was harsh. No my blog is not about Personal Finance. Apologies.

  20. 20 Yan Apr 19th, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Sorry it may have sounded harsh. I made the assumption in the very first paragraph of my blog post. By the way, I have done the analysis of this data already. In case you missed it, here is the link:
    http://probargainhunter.com/20.....-analysis/

  21. 21 Maki :: Dosh Dosh Apr 19th, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Yan,

    The Alexa Rank Bias is most apparent when I look at this list that you’ve created. Even though I’m sure that my blog receives less visitors than sites like Get Rich Slowly or The Simple Dollar, my rank is better than them.

    Probably because my blog deals more about linkbuilding/SEO/Webmaster related stuff. I’m linking through to my post on Alexa Ranking if anyone is interested :)

  22. 22 Yan Apr 19th, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Will

    Thanks for stopping by. Your numbers do look impressive! Care to share average daily visitors / pageviews as well?

    Maki

    You are missing the point. Alexa makes perfect sense when apples to apples are compared, that is blogs/websites from the same category. Is your blog about Personal Finance?

  23. 23 TF Miser Apr 21st, 2007 at 11:54 am

    I know you couldn’t include every PF blog but my blogs BankBonuses.info and TightFistedMiser.com both have Alexa rating in the 200,000’s so they would have made the list.

  24. 24 Shadox Apr 22nd, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    One of these days…. one of these days… I am going to be up there with the big boys…

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