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We used five categories as the basis for our online marketing services evaluation criteria. One of the most telling categories for comparing these net-savvy companies is Performance Analytics. Those numbers provide valuable comparative data for website popularity and the number of sites linking in to each of the internet marketing firms reviewed.

After all, if you re going to trust a company to boost your internet presence, you need to be able to trust that they can do it for themselves, right?

Performance Analytics illustrates how well each company optimizes and drives traffic to their own corporate website. To report these performance numbers, we used the popular Alexa Toolbar.

What is Alexa?
So just what is the Alexa Toolbar and why does it matter? Founded in 1996, and now owned by Amazon.com, today Alexa has an installed millions of toolbars. The toolbars that users install is the mechanism for how usage information is reported back. According to Alexa, they have one of the largest Web crawls and an infrastructure to process and serve massive amounts of user data.

What makes Alexa relevant is the participation of its user community. Each Alexa user downloads the toolbar. By doing this, they report back to Alexa on how they use the web, what is important and what is not. This information is then returned to the community as Related Links, Traffic Rankings and more.

Site Information
Alexa provides useful information about websites, including analytics, related links and more. This was the data we relied on to determine our Performance Analytics for this category.

The Alexa Toolbar is available for Internet Explorers and Firefox. A major benefit is that Alexa provides easy access to metadata about each website they visit. This includes view of the site's contact information, traffic rank, how long the site has been operating, and other stats. This is especially of value for ecommerce users' buyers.

Colored arrows show whether the site is getting more popular or less popular. This is also useful competitive market intelligence for site owners and marketers.

Alexa is a popular site ranking tool. This means users are casting their vote with each website they visit and contributing to the related links that appear on the toolbar. Time on each page and frequency of visits is factored in, of course. The theory here is that this helps other Alexa users find what they may be interested in. Alexa shows users other websites that may matter to them.

According to Alexa, the information their users they send is anonymous. Alexa will not profile them in any way. Additionally, the Alexa toolbar contains no advertising.

In the final analysis, Alexa s site volume ranking isn t 100% reliable. But it does provide a good comparative overview of the type of traffic a site is getting. It also provides reasonably reliable data on site volume. This is why we use it.

Want to join the Alexa community? Install the Alexa Toolbar. The more people who use Alexa, the more useful it will be, even if it s not perfect. 

At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To. 

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