Alexa vs. Google Analytics: Part 1 – Competitive Intelligence

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Here at Alexa, the product managers are often asked about the differences between Alexa and Google Analytics.  In this two-part post, we’ll do a quick compare-and-contrast.

First, let’s look at panel-based analytics – metrics that aren’t derived directly from the site in question.  Our recent post about the measurement and accountability gap explains why it’s so important to get the whole story about what other sites in your space are doing (short version: so you can learn from their successes and failures and respond effectively).  But since you won’t have much luck asking your competition to hand over their metrics, you need lots of panel-based analytics to put that story together.

This is Alexa’s real strength.  We’ve been gathering traffic data across the entire public web for more than 15 years. Our competitive Intelligence tools are designed to tap into that data trove at a highly specific level.  You can choose which sites to look at and drill down on each one.  Then you can watch the metrics change over time, benchmarking your performance against others’ to make sure you’re staying a step ahead.

GA is different. Their bread and butter is on-site analytics — metrics directly measured on your own site.  (Alexa does this too – more about that in part 2.)  Since they don’t go deep on off-site analytics, GA can’t tell you the whole story.  However, they have recently re-introduced a benchmarking tool that provides a few of the plot points.  It’s free, which is a plus.  In return, you have to share your data into the benchmarking pool, so unlike Alexa, they require you to have a site and use their on-site analytics if you want to see their competitive intelligence.

Also unlike Alexa’s, GA’s benchmarking data is anonymous (otherwise, who would opt in?).  You can only see how your site compares to a broad, anonymous group of sites.  For example, GA benchmarked Alexa against a group of 350 anonymous sites in “Internet & Telecom”.  That’s interesting, but it’s a little tricky to know exactly how to apply that kind of broad and high-level data to your own site or marketing efforts.

In short, GA’s competitive intelligence tools are free, but limited and anonymous.  Alexa’s tools take it to the next level: more advanced data (like reputation metrics) and the ability to drill down on specific sites — so you can take specific action.

Next we’ll take a look at Google’s on-site analytics vs. Alexa’s Certified Metrics.

Kristen Mirenda

Kristen Mirenda is Senior Product Manager at Alexa. Since the '90s, she's built countless web properties for everyone from Expedia to Sesame Street. She's a proud New Jersey native who spent 15 years in New York City before trading coasts for San Francisco.

Latest posts by Kristen Mirenda (see all)

About Kristen Mirenda

Kristen Mirenda is Senior Product Manager at Alexa. Since the '90s, she's built countless web properties for everyone from Expedia to Sesame Street. She's a proud New Jersey native who spent 15 years in New York City before trading coasts for San Francisco.

  • My reference tools to bench my blog is Alexa and Google analytics ! But Alexa is really different doesn’t require to have any code on the pages, this is the major difference, keep running this great tool, is getting better and better !

  • mikeNZ

    As you say in the very first para on your front page on the web, “Knowledge is power”
    So why has it only been so called conservative sites that have dumbed down and not progressive sites? MikeNZ

  • Google analytics is always better than any other

    • I don’t think so. If you use cache for your website , Google analytics isn’t correct, Alexa is better

  • Their both good! If you just started of your website get Google Analytics since it will tell you what is going on. But yea Alexa will tell you the overall rank and has a lot of benefits to it.

  • fırat

    http://www.tatiluzmani.tv have a good day

  • citireskortbayan.com

    hii citireskortbayan.com adlı siteme sizin linkininiz nasıl ekleye bilirim acaba

  • Hi, Thanks so much for reaching out. Alexa offers a service called the Alexa Site Audit that can help identify problems in your site. This service will not affect your Alexa rank directly, but implementing the recommendations should improve your site’s SEO and user experience. Our Advanced plan (http://www.alexa.com/plans) includes bi-weekly Site Audit reports.

    You can also get just the SEO portion of the Site Audit as part of our Insight plan: http://www.alexa.com/plans

    Hope this helps answer your questions. Please let us know if we can help you further.

  • Lelsyaha

    Thank you alexa , i’m always use this information to support my website http://lelsyaha.com

  • Thank for this insights.
    Though both of these platforms use different ways, such as Alexa uses toolbar and Google uses page tags, both of them are useful to business people. We are using the two, and ever since, the results are not far.
    For this, i would like to acknowledge Alexa for being helpful to us.

    Thanks!

  • Neon

    I so , appreciate the Alexa web rank and currently i prefer people use the Alexa page rank tool, currently using it and redirecting people from my Blog http://shoutershub.com/

  • Narciso Rojas

    yo sigo pensando que google ha hecho lo mismo y por eso sigue siendo mejor.

  • Thanks alexa my blog http://www.abuzer.us

  • Thanks to sharing article and nice services in your website.

  • alphanostrum

    Piwik is better as all other. It is absolute transparency. With Alexa I can not really understand how it works. The calculation of the Traffic Rank is not reproducible. Google has a mathematical formula, and this is public..
    For now it would be good idea if Alexa define exactly what traffic is.

    E.C
    If I have included a banner code on my page from other website and someone loads my page, then created this call traffic for other page. Is this traffic? Or mean Traffic only real Visitors? Where can I find a definition in this sense?

  • Webixer Solution

    Thanks Again N Again…..!

  • I have read your blog and got nice information about Alexa benefits like Google analytics, alexa for monitoring my site’s. Cheers the blog!

  • Hi,

    Thank you for your feedback about our algorithm and site redesign. At this time using our Certified Metrics feature does require a Pro subscription, however you can try out the feature for free with our free Basic subscription trial. We have passed on your feedback concerning the cost of the feature to our product team.

    Note that installing a plugin on a site does not affect that site’s ranking on Alexa. Ranks are based on data from our global traffic panel or Certified metrics only.

    Best,
    Alexa Support

  • I use them as a comparison between one another

  • Thanks for info

  • 8c.co.za

    I love ’em both