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Alexa Adds Webmaster Tools

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Now that Alexa is built into both the major browsers, webmasters may become even more aware of the information it reports about their sites. New tools introduced recently will help them fix incorrect information and perhaps even influence the related links that appear.

Alexa presents general contact information about a site that's drawn from the InterNIC database. In particular, Alexa will show the name, address and phone number of the person or company which owns a particular domain. If the InterNIC has incorrect information, then Alexa will also display incorrect information.

The Alexa Site Information Editor allows you to change this information. You can alter specific contact details or choose to make none of them public at all. Keep in mind that this only affects the Alexa database, not the InterNIC's. Information there will still remain incorrect, unless you correct it through the InterNIC's horrible change system -- and unlike with Alexa, there's no way to keep your contact details from being publicly accessible.

A good suggestion from Alexa is to consider changing a site's contact details to something friendly for customers. For instance, many sites may have phone numbers listed for the technical person that registered the domain. With the site editor, you can change information to reflect a main corporate headquarters or a customer service phone number.

At the bottom of the Site Editor page is a link to the Related Links Editor. This allows you to make suggestions about the Related Links that Alexa displays in relation to your site.

Related links are generated mostly through an automated process. But if a site has low traffic, or if it suddenly changes addresses, Alexa may have no related links to suggest.

This is where the Related Links editor comes in. It allows webmasters, or any web surfer, to suggest new links for a site. They can also rate existing related links as good or bad.

Alexa doesn't immediately implement the suggestions it receives. In fact, it can be somewhat skeptical about those reporting links as bad.

"If there are good links that someone says they hate, we realize this may be someone that doesn't want a competitor's link on their site," said Alexa Editor Geoff Mack. "It does happen a lot."

As for new links, Alexa is particularly interested in sites it hasn't heard of before. It will allow these links in at a "low confidence" setting, which then gives its automated system a chance to evaluate them. If the link passes this second test, then it may appear in relation to a particular page.

There's an opportunity here for webmasters. Instead of trying to bump your competitors off the links that Alexa displays in relation to your own site, go out and find good sites that lack related links or places where you think your site might be a good related link. You may find this positive action works better than being negative.

Alexa
http://www.alexa.com/

Alexa Site Change Form
http://www.alexa.com/cgi-bin/wtgn/site_change.pl?

Enter your domain or web site URL into the box on this page

HTML Writers Guild Mailing List Archives
http://metalab.unc.edu/hwg-bin/browse?AAiBf1l5EAL

Not everyone's happy with Alexa displaying ads and related links to visitors at their sites. Complaints came up on one of the HTML Writers Guilds list. The link above will take you to recent posts.

Alexa Bulletin Board
http://www.cia.com.au/afp/alexa/

Following discussions on the HWG list, a separate forum was later established so people could share concerns about Alexa. The company itself has agreed watch the forum in order to gather feedback.

Alexa: Searching Serendipity And More
The Search Engine Report, Jan. 9, 1998

More about information provided by the Alexa service.


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