Up until recently, Alexa has been best known for ranking websites based upon users who have installed the Alexa Toolbar. Because they only used the toolbar to determine a sites’ ranking, they have been highly criticized and many people have discounted the benefit and usefulness of Alexa saying that it is inaccurate. People have been asking Alexa to change the way they determine rankings for quite a while and now Alexa has responded. As of Tuesday, the ranking system has been changed and now there is a new and improved method to determine how a site should be ranked.

On the Alexa blog, they say that they believe their new system is much closer to what their users have been asking for. They say, “We now aggregate data from multiple sources to give you a better indication of website popularity among the entire population of Internet users.” So what are the “multiple sources” you ask? Well, that’s a very good question and one that Alexa isn’t willing to answer. All we know is that the toolbar isn’t the only method they’re using.

alexa changes

Some sites have seen their rank improve while others have seen it drop. Alexa says that the new rankings “should better reflect the interests and surfing habits of the broader population of Web users” and it’s not that the rankings before were completely wrong, they were just different. CyberNet’s ranking did improve some. The last time we checked, we were in the 34,000-35,000 range and now our ranking for today is 27,078.

The one complaint I’ve seen so far around the web about the changes is that the long range graphs are gone and there are only nine months of historical data available. I too was disappointed until I checked out the Alexa blog and read that this is just temporary. They say they’re working on recalculating historic traffic data and it’ll be added back in the coming weeks.