Alexa is a kind of search engine that measures the popularity of websites that are visited by surfers who have an Alexa toolbar installed in their browser. Since the toolbar has been downloaded over ten million times, it is safe to suppose that a lot of surfers use it – a lot, but not the majority. How does Alexa calculate a website’s traffic rank? Er, difficult to say exactly. What the boffins at Alexa say they do is take all the previous three months of surfing data from the toolbar users and kind of mash it together in a saucepan. Then they throw in a few “secret ingredients” and other undisclosed “diverse traffic data sauces” and leave it to simmer until it has reduced down to a single number – your website’s Alexa traffic rank! Some people have expressed a degree of scepticism about Alexa’s cookery. Despite the scepticism, Alexa is still important in providing some sort of guide to overall website ranking, especially for the higher ranked sites and is used as a rough guide by a lot of website owners, who see an improvement in their Alexa rank as evidence that they are making progress. It is important to stress that Alexa rank and traffic volume are not inextricably linked. You could have a great site that attracts a lot of targeted traffic, but still have an Alexa rank of over a million. (The lower the number, the higher the rank.) Still, a site that ranks highly on Alexa will gain a lot of credibility and you will find plenty of highly ranked websites (i.e. anything below 100,000) that display their Alexa ranking on their homepages. So, here are a few tips to help you get your site up the Alexa ranking ladder: For best results use Firefox and install the Alexa toolbar using Firefox’s Search Status extension and set your website homepage as the default page. Next, place the Alexa widget on your website. The widget will display your Alexa rank, and send feedback about your site to Alexa. Customize the Alexa tool bar and add a link to the toolbar download page. Every time it is downloaded you will get some credit from Alexa. A lot of Website owners tend to have the Alexa toolbar on their browsers. They also tend to visit web directories, so if you post your site on a number of popular directories you stand a good chance of having it viewed on browsers that have the Alexa toolbar installed. Website owners also tend to hang out on Internet marketing and SEO forums. Join those forums, post a link to your website in your forum signature and you might pick up some extra Alexa juice. Write articles about Alexa and other SEO tips and post them on your website or blog. Your aim is to attract visitors who may be interested to learn about Alexa and download the toolbar from your site. Add a page of marketing resources to your website and place a link to the Alexa toolbar on it. Get some friends to bookmark your Alexa articles on Stumbleupon and similar social marketing sites, use Twitter to get the word out about Alexa and so on. These are just some of the ways that you can improve your Alexa ranking. Remember, the higher your website ranks on Alexa the more seriously it is likely to be taken by people who visit your site and by people who might want to advertise on it.