Facebook beats Google and gets #1 in Alexa ranking
Facebook beats Google in Alexa Top websites
It happened. Google’s supremacy in Alexa Ranking is now over. During the last days everybody found Facebook at the #1 place in Alexa Top Sites, this meaning that in the last month Facebook had a better traffic rank then Google. But how Alexa calculates the traffic rank? Here is what they say:
The sites in the top sites lists are ordered by their 1 month alexa traffic rank.
The 1 month rank is calculated using a combination of average daily visitors and pageviews over the past month. The site with the highest combination of visitors and pageviews is ranked #1.
Is this data really representative for all internet users?
Alexa, an Amazon company, gathers its data from internet users who install the Alexa toolbar into their browser.
With just that being said, it is easy to deduct that their data is not complete, and it may also be representative for only a portion of the internet users, those who are interested in getting the website statistics provided by the toolbar.
Another issue is that Alexa Toolbar is available only for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome browsers, and those 3 have only about 90% usage share of desktop web browsers, leaving the 10% of users who browse the internet using Safari, Opera or other browsers out of their statistics. Not just that, but to the total number of excluded desktop internet users we must also add all the internet mobile users. Mobile now accounts for 10% of all Internet usage worldwide, after the boom of smartphones and tablets. And this percentage increases day by day with an incredible speed (it doubled in the last year – source).
Ok, so the Alexa TOP may not be very accurate, but if Facebook is now #1 and Google #2, what does it mean?
Is Facebook better then Google?
If Facebook is now on top of the Alexa classification does it mean that Facebook is the best website in the entire world? Does that mean Google is not as good as Facebook?
My opinion is NO. Because you can’t compare apples to oranges:
Let’s analyse the purpose of these 2 websites.
It’s a social network. On their “About” page they say:
Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
Their purpose is to connect people, make them interact with each-other by sharing stuff and receiving feedback from others on the stuff they share.
If we take this in more technical words, more time on site and more pageviews are Facebook indicators of better user experience.
If people spend more time on Facebook and visit more pages the creaters of the site conclude the users are happy and the website serves its purpose.
Mainly Google is a search engine. I say mainly because under Google’s mark there are a lot of other services like Gmail, Google+, Google maps, etc. But here we are talking about google.com – the search engine. And on their “About” page they say:
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
As a search engine, Google spiders the World Wide Web collecting information and organizes this information in such way to be able to return to its users the most relevant results to searches.
Google considers its users happy and its purpose served when the users find immediately what they were looking for.
Let’s translate this into technical language: less time on site and less pageviews are an indicator that Google serves its purpose best.
And that’s why, after looking at the purpose of these both website, and presuming the difference between #1 and #2 in Alexa top is made by the number of pageviews, I say both Facebook and Google are doing really well in making their visitors happy.
(If you have another opinion on this I’ll be glad to hear it in the comments!)
What should marketers do about it?
I use both Google and Facebook in my online marketing work. Just learning the tricks in Facebook advertising but having so many “Wooow!” moments while doing it. And also some “Ouchhh!” moments…
I always recommend using the tactic that you know best, but keeping an eye on what’s new and experimenting.
If Google is now #2 in Alexa rank, it doesn’t mean advertising in Google (Adwords) or optimizing your site in order to get better rankings in organic search results are things of the past and now we should all move to Facebook.
If someone searching on Google clicks on your website in the organic search results or in the ads, they leave Google. If you offer them what they need they will not go back to Google to search for the same thing again.
When you get a visitor from Google, Google probably loses some of those pageviews that count on Alexa Rank and lets Facebook win this.
On the other hand, Facebook ranking #1 makes me think that people visiting this website are not that interested in leaving it so easily. They came there to stay close to and interact with their friends, right? Getting them to click on your ads or promoted links may be a tough task.
Since I don’t master Facebook advertising I will stop here with this, I don’t want to say something stupid from my own “unexperience”
But if I were to make a conclusion on the latest changes in the Alexa top, for me this means Facebook is a serious player. And since it managed to dethrone Google after such a long time, it is not going to vanish from the face of the web so soon as many predict.
Google and Facebook, Facebook and Google, no matter in what order Alexa put them, are the biggest players and their battle has just begun. As online marketers we should take advantage of what both have to offer.
I’m looking forward to see your opinions in the comments!