Alexa, “The Web Information Company,” is a subsidiary of Amazon and offers worldwide access to data on websites for customers and people who are interested. There is a free and paid version of this analysis tool. Alexa was initially known for its toolbar.
Alexa services are used most frequently to assess traffic to a website. The traffic figures furnished do not necessarily reflect real traffic numbers but shows an assumed trend. In addition to these indicators, Alexa offers paid services such as Alexa Pro. Website operators can get a toolkit that provides metrics, tools, and analyses. The Alexa Site Audit is one of the SEO solutions offered. Moreover, Alexa provides nonprofit organizations wayback machine databases.
Alexa Internet Inc. was founded in 1996 by Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat. It was acquired by Amazon.com in 1999 and now operates as a subsidiary of Amazon.com. Initially, Alexa was used as a toolbar for the Internet Explorer browser. Meanwhile, the functions of Alexa are comparable to a search engine, as they evaluate the quality of the links, thematic significance, and traffic of a website.
The Alexa rank indicates number of visitors to a website. Using the Alexa rank, the 1,000,000 most searched websites are determined. The most visited sites are evaluated with a traffic ranking of 0 - 50,000. This figure indicates high popularity for a website that has many visits.
The Alexa toolbar serves as a tool for displaying Alexa performance indicators. The Alexa toolbar can be installed in any standard browser and displays useful information about a domain, such as the number of links or traffic rankings.
The Alexa rank is often a clue to estimate the number of visitors to a website for SEO purposes. Compared to precision digital analysis such as Google Analytics, the Alexa rank is far less accurate. However, it is possible to obtain more accurate data from the paid Alexa version. Alexa rank can still provide additional analysis aspects for benchmarking or site comparisons. Prior to publishing on other websites, you can compare the Alexa Rank with data from the publishers. If the specified number of visitors, is in an area which cannot be reconciled with the Alexa Rank with certainty, the actual conditions for release should be renegotiated or the SEO should be able to send actual number of visitors.
Alexa has been installed as a browser plug-in via software packages for a long time. After installation, this plugin delivers anonymized data to Alexa, based on which the company can determine access data to websites. This practice was criticized by the Bremer Data Protection Supervisor and he labeled Alexa as spam software. Thus, user instructions were issued on how to prevent data collecting by the Alexa plugin.
Today, there a broad spectrum of information has become available with regard to the work of secret services due to the revelations by Edward Snowden, but Alexa did not have a predominant role in privacy debates.
In the privacy statements of Alexa, there is a passage which refers explicitly to the fact that the plugin collects data about websites you visited and that it is not necessarily anonymized. Any user who uses the Alexa toolbar or the plugin should consequently be aware of how the tool works.