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While I'm not an expert at SEO, I know a little, and I have had someone tell me two things that I believe to be false, but just cannot convince him. Here are the statements he makes:

1) If more people visit your site, you'll get better SEO rankings. The context here is sending out an email campaign and people clicking from the email campaign through to the site.

I don't think this has any factor in SEO rankings. I do think that if people search for keywords where your site comes up, and click your site more often than those above you in the rankings, that you may progress, but I'm not even 100% sure on that. Am I right though that people clicking through an email to your site won't affect your SEO rankings?

2) Alexa rank is a measure of SEO importance / rankings.

From what I know, Alexa rank is based purely off of people visiting your site who have the Alexa toolbar (or other software?) installed. This means that not only is it not counting all your visitors, but it's probably counting a specific segment, most likely more web savvy folks who have the Alexa toolbar installed. I consider myself OK at computers/web development, etc., and I've never had the Alexa toolbar installed. Anyway, is #2 a myth as well?

Is there any evidence to support these two?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Dec 15 '10 at 9:20

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I'm not exactly a SEO person, but I'll tell you this: unless your website has some insteresting content, nothing will help :-) –  Grigory Javadyan Dec 15 '10 at 8:57

3 Answers 3

Both are myths. See this answer for why.

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seomoz.org/blog/experiment-google-rankings-w-search-volume - Something I came across the other day, kind of relevant to his first point (or rather, the paragraph after his first point) FYI. –  Anonymous Aug 24 '11 at 10:54

1) Not directly but the more people who visit your site, the more people who will link it. So what he says will most likely happen albeit indirectly.

2) Alexa toolbar is a measure of SEO importance if that is your main method of marketing the site. Whether it is a good one depends on whether your target market is the average toolbar user. It is more accurate for large sites. Again it is not directly reporting on your rankings but the amount of interest you are getting. Remember the ultimate goal of SEO is not to get good search rankings but to attract relevant users to your site.

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As far as #1 goes, if it does have an impact it won't be enough to justify spending resources on it. (that being said email if done well is a great marketing channel). There has been speculation about Google using traffic data for a long time and it's not out of the realm of possibilities. As spam gets more sophisticated so does Google, and they have boatloads of data available to them, between search, the google toolbar, chrome web browser, google analytics, adwords, adsense, gmail, and so on. An easy test would be to setup a new site, send out an email and see if rankings follow (I'll be willing to bet that they don't... at least not beyond the long tail).

As far as Alexa goes you are correct, it is skewed and at least mainly based off their toolbar. It is very easy to manipulate so why not prove it to him by driving up your Alexa rank and see if you get more Google traffic. I tried it a few years ago, and it didn't work for me, but there's no harm in giving it a go if your buddy needs convincing.

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