Alexa Rank Dropping Fast in April 2016 - [Case Study]

What caused the Alexa Rank Drop in 2016

Since the start of 2016, webmasters across the web have experienced a massive drop in their Alexa Ranks. The drop in Alexa's traffic ranking drastically increased during February, March and April (2016). Websites around the globe have lost Alexa Rank within a month despite the same traffic, unique hits and pageviews. Alexa rank of websites which are under 100,000 (100K)  is still dropping fast. Their seems to be a wave of extreme anger among bloggers who worked day and night, trying their best to improve the monetary value of their sites but all their efforts went in vain. Despite knowing the fact that SEO agencies and web marketers rarely consider Alexa as a reliable or trustworthy metric to measure a website's traffic but sadly Alexa ranking is still hugely popular and some sponsors still regard it as the magic-stick for judging a site's popularity.

Webmasters are giving different reasons for this latest Alexa rank drop which effected global traffic rank data, however our private research has lead us towards one such factor that could answer all our questions. I hope you will find this comprehensive case study useful and meaningful.

Websites Which Saw a Drop in Alexa Rank

Before I could give a reason lets look at some of the most significant drops in Alexa Ranks of corporate sites and blogs.


If you observe carefully you will notice that mashable blog's Alexa started declining from March 2016 onwards, with slight ups and downs in-between but the overall trend is downwards. Mashable lost its rank by 46 points difference. Which is surely a bigger dent for a site of such traffic volume.

mashable lost Alexa Rank


TechCrunch's Alexa Rank started declining from the start of 2016 and it got worst during Feb-April. It went down by a rank of 178 points. Currently holding a rank of 738 and still continue to see a drop.

techcrunch Alexa Rank drop


Facebook has seen a steep fall in its Alexa Ranking. Surprisingly Facebook lost its second position in Alexa Traffic Rank data and is pushed down to number 3 by Google being number#1 at present.

Do you really think people have started visiting YouTube more than Facebook? 

Facebook Alexa Rank drop


LifeHacker lost their Alexa rank during March and April by a total of 36 points.

Lifehacker Alexa Rank drop


Google's Blogging platform, blogspot has seen a bigger dent of 8 points compared to (not self hosted wordpress) which lost its position by only 2 points. Blogger's current Alexa rank is 78. So blogger users are not alone in this painful situation!

Blogger alexa rank drop

Self hosted WordPress has seen a massive drop in ranking. Going down from a rank of 200 to 285 during February and April (3 months cycle). Wordpress lost its position by a total of 47 points and still dropping. 

Wordpress Alexa Rank Drop


ehow saw a massive fall in rank of about 204 points, landing it at an Alexa Rank of 1,186 which continues to drop till this date.

eHow Alexa Rank drop


Bad luck started for ebay since the start of 2016. It climbed down from an Alexa Rank of 16 during January to a Rank of 25 in May. A lose of 9 points in total.

eBay Alexa Rank drop


Twitter saw a massive dip in its Alexa Rank on February 22, which indicates that the fall in Alexa traffic data actually started from Feb onwards as opposed to the official statement that marks April. Twitter is currently the 10th most visited website as per the doubtful Alexa Traffic Rank data.

Twitter Alexa Rank drop


Alibaba lost its Alexa Rank by a total of 10 points.

Alibaba Alexa Rank drop


Alexa was at least slightly unbiased in not favoring its official site. Alexa's site itself lost its rank during March and April as indicated by the chart below.  Although strangely's alexa rank is unchanged. Ebay and Alibaba suffered so badly but strangely Amazon is untouched! This raises questions on the accountability of Alexa team.

Official Alexa website lost its Alexa Rank

Amazon Alexa Rank unchanged



Websites Which Saw a Rise in Alexa Rank

When you are loosing on one side, someone else is winning on another side. This is law of nature as long as the results are not artificially manipulated. I could share a long list of websites which experienced a rise in their Alexa traffic ranking but for simplicity lets discuss the giant ones only.


Microsoft has really benefited from the current Alexa panel update since the start of 2016. It went from number#23 in global traffic ranking to number#13. A rise of 10 points in total. Which means a lot for a corporate site.

msn Alexa Rank Rise


YouTube has been fortunate enough to have pushed down Facebook from its position and attained position#2 on Alexa's  Global Traffic rank data. All this happening during April. What caused it, we will it discuss shortly.

YouTube Alexa Rank Rise

I was honestly not believing this change in YouTube's ranking unless I researched to see if YouTube has really started receiving more traffic than facebook. To my amazement these were the results from SEMRush. Indeed SEMrush's show estimated reports but they are almost close to accurate when comparing corporate sites.

Facebook's current estimated organic search traffic is 631 Millions per month while YouTube is receiving a crazy traffic of over 804 Millions per month as per SEMRush's analysis.

 Facebook Monthly Traffic

YouTube Monthly Traffic

But wait! That was organic traffic from to each of these sites, it does not include direct traffic or referral traffic! Of course Google being more inclined towards YouTube (Since Youtube is a Google product) will display it more in search results compared to any other social media network for search queries. I have seen this biased approach of Google and they certainly favor YouTube more in search results, compared to Facebook videos.

With that being said, how can one ignore the direct traffic and referral traffic to Facebook? Which is certainly beyond anyone's expectation. Most internet users certainly have a Facebook account if not a YouTube account. I am leaving that on you to decide whether Alexa's new ranking is correct or not.


Instagram saw a big jump of 2 points.Instagram Alexa Rank Increased


Though Facebook went down in ranking but its product 'whatsapp" enjoyed a rise in alexa ranking of 24 points.

Whatsapp Alexa Rank Increased


Why Is Alexa Rank Dropping So Fast For All Sites Globally?

On April 4, 2016, Alexa team published a blog post informing about the increase in the size of Alexa's Global Traffic Panel. They mentioned that one of the ways they calculate the metrics is by using a data panel, which is a sample of global Internet traffic, made up of millions of people worldwide. The bigger the sample, the better the estimate. This is where everything got worst!

Alexa Rank Drops due to Increase in Global Traffic Panel

They claimed:

A more robust panel with greater global coverage means we can offer you more accurate rankings, estimated traffic metrics, and actionable recommendations.

What surprised me was the word "Increases Again" in the blog title, which means this is not the first time Alexa has expanded their data panel, it must have happened before too. But none of us have experienced such a worst drop ever in the history of internet! I mean literally how can you expect your Alexa rank to drop by 10,000 points over a month despite the same organic traffic and frequency of updates?

Indeed I am aware that the Alexa Traffic Rank is not only based on traffic of a website, but it takes into account the traffic to all sites and ranks sites relative to each other.  Which means that our site is ranked relative to other sites, changes in traffic to other sites will certainly affect our site’s rank.

But have your competitors increased so much in competition compared to you that you were pushed down by 5K-10K points within a month?? Never has this happened before. Traffic relativity was never above 1000 points or 500 points for a month. Websites which were not updated frequently would lose their rank slightly on daily basis with a difference of 10-100 points, but the moment you would update your site, Alexa rank would improve back the other day with a significant rise. I saw no such behavior during the last 3 months. Alexa kept on dropping despite updating our websites and working hard on organic traffic.

I left a comment on their blog, to which I did not receive any reply so I tried contacting the Alexa team via Twitter and this is what they had to say:

Their tweet linked to a page which made it clear that all our doubts were correct: Source:

In April 2016 we had a significant increase in the size of our data panel, which is why you might see changes in your site's ranks around that time.

I have shown you enough screenshots to prove that websites were effected since the start of 2016 and that the actual drop occurred between Feb, March and April.

With that being said, it has now become clear that Alexa is still experimenting with its traffic data and has not matured enough to keep consistency in its analysis reports. It takes a lot of efforts to improve your social rankings and traffic ranking and as a blogger I truly sympathize with people who have lost their hard earned traffic rank.

Alexa Is Not Reliable and Is Easily Cheated

After this terrible update, I personally will no longer consider Alexa as a reliable and consistent source for traffic monitoring.

Who can give a guarantee that if you improve your Alexa rank again after months of hard efforts, you wont have to face this massive drop if Alexa decides to increase the size of their data panel AGAIN!

Previously the steep fall in Alexa rankings was often caused due to Safari, Chrome or Firefox browsers not supporting the Alexa toolbar. Alexa's browser plugins or extensions were often incompatible with latest browser versions. Webmasters were the only ones to suffer, never Alexa! 

Alexa Rank drops due to browser plugins

SEO agencies rarely place trust in Alexa rank due to the fact that it can be easily manipulated manually. Due to the simplicity of cheating Alexa, and the availability of the software to do it, people are beginning to doubt Alexa’s purpose and reliability.

Using web-based or standalone software programs like RankBoostup, one can easily induce thousands or tens of thousands of fake hits per day. This is done through thousands of proxies to generate fake hits for a particular website. It has become a running business for some where some agencies even offer premium packages to help you improve your Alexa rank within a month through fake hits.

Unlike Google PageRank which keeps in mind 100's of metrics while deciding the popularity rank, Alexa estimates rank of sites based on the data it collects from its official Alexa toolbar or from manual submission of sites to their directory. All traffic to a site where the user is not using Alexa toolbar is not considered while ranking the site. Suppose if you receive a million hits daily but if your users have not installed Alexa toolbar on their browsers, then all this 'M' hits will go wasted! Which is one reason why Alexa rank is bogus, waste of time and can not be trusted while checking a site's traffic rank. 

Some of my clients have 10x more traffic than mbt, but they are still ranked at 200K while MBT was ranked at 10K+. This is because since we often write about web development tutorials, SEO and blogging so our targeted audience is often web marketers, webmasters or content writers who are techy and have Alexa toolbar installed on their browsers. But since my clients write on lifestyle and fashion, their targeted audience does not need to have Alexa Toolbar installed. Indeed Alexa gives wrong traffic estimates by not including the users into account who do not use the alexa toolbar.

Alexa Gives Wrong Traffic Estimates

Alexa’s simple, traffic counting system has suffered badly from an insurgence of clever programmers who have succeeded in artificially manipulating the rankings and thus left the Alexa ranking system suffering from a potential authority crisis.

Alexa confirms that it can be cheated and that they try hard to remove any attempts of artificial manipulation.

Why is Alexa Rank Still so Popular?

The simplest reason is the ugly reality that Alexa was surely considered as a trustworthy source for judging a site's popularity back in 1996-2010. Alexa was the leading provider of free, global web metrics. You could search Alexa to discover the most successful sites on the web by keyword, category, or country. All this happened because it was the pioneer in this field and had no major competitors as it has now. Now people have more reliable sources and alternatives to Alexa to estimate a website's popularity like, Compete, QuantCast, SEMRush tools, ahrefs, moz tools, similarweb and so on.

Alexa is in the web market since 1996, therefore the web is saturated with its info and since it is backed by, it always remained in limelight. Alexa had no competitors before 2005 like its has now, as a result of which people wrote millions of articles in its favor and build several SEO plugins where they included Alexa API to display site rank. This has kept Alexa still alive online.

Web marketers have also stopped considering Alexa which can be evident when BuySellAds stopped displaying Alexa Rank in their market listing. BSA being the biggest banner advertisement network.

Alexa still matters for some bloggers and publishers today due to the fact that some sponsors who are not very tech-savvy still check a site's Alexa rank while placing direct ads or while requesting a product review. Due to this monetary value of Alexa, bloggers have no choice but to make sure their Alexa rank keeps rising.

Alexa is dead for people with common sense

Alexa is already dead for people with common sense and understanding of traffic metrics but it will remain alive online for those who just happened to discover the world of SEO.

Did you lose Alexa Rank in 2016?

Have you lost Alexa Rank despite getting more traffic? If yes then please share your insights with us and tell us how many points did you lost within a month?

What are your views on the case study above and how has this steep fall in Alexa rankings effected your blogging career and online business. Would love to learn from your experiences.

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  1. Hi, Mohammad

    In April 2016 i didn't see my Alexa Rank on page even it didn't show my estimated rank. Only show that my site doesn't have estimate traffic to show metric measure.

    But in May 2016 finally my ranks is show up from 200,000 To 150,000 with normal bounce rate 40-50%.

    Maybe Alexa Rank is just for calculation of estimated traffic on your site by monthly. But still some Agency/SEO Companies using Alexa.


    1. Ashish buddy Alexa clearly mentions it that websites ranked 100,000+ may be subject to large ranking swings due to the scarcity of data for those sites. It is not unusual for such sites to decline to “No data” Traffic Ranks, or to improve suddenly.

      Since your site is at 100k+ it is likely that you will see big fluctuation and sudden improvements as long as you don't push it up to below 100,000.

      Post more frequently and increase your word count to rank better for a wider combination of keywords.

      Thank you for sharing you kind insights =)

    2. Many of websites going down, few of them are increase. One of them is
      If you have notice that there is no social networking icons for sharing pages. Is that mean the days of social networking sharing is over ? People use fake accouts for promoting our website.

  2. oooh what a great Mustafa, but the ranking droped overall was a very sad thing , especially for all ranked bloggers. Your post is very informative, and i'll getting all the important points. my blog ranking also decreased now a days, and my many other ranking sites, but i'm not why, but here you clearify me. Thanks again Mustafa Bro !!!

    1. Indeed buddy, it really hurts you when you work all your life to build something and someone crushes it down for error on their parts. Bloggers are humans after all with emotions and they get really sensitive when it comes to their hard earned efforts/ranks.

      Anyways, all we can do is to keep working hard and expect to make things better again. =)

  3. My Alexa rank is fluctuating between 196000 - 205000, but my traffic is increasing day by day.

    But The Last word is that Don't trust/consider alexa as your site popularity.

    1. Rightly said Shubham, one should never trust its consistency at all.

      And as far as the fluctuations in your alexa rank is concerned. Read my reply to Ashish

      Thank you for sharing your feedback :)

  4. Hi, I have been blogging for the last six years and due to penguin hits, I had experienced algorithm hit. However, because I am not a full time blogger, I have not been able to post as frequently as I used to to recover from the drop in the traffic. Since March, I started posting almost regularly again and even though in terms of traffic I did not see huge and significant differences, my organic traffic has increased and my alexa ran has also massively increased. On day I do not post, I see gradual drops, but once I am posting regularly, I see slow improvements in the rank. Based on the fact that regular posts keep bringing the traffic back and that my direct traffic has increased proportionately with the rank, I don't think Alexa is a big waste of time.

  5. Hi Muhammad,

    Thanks for sharing such a detailed and comprehensive case study regarding massive down fall of Alexa ranking.

    Keep sharing :)



  6. I have always considered Alexa rank a waste of time. Most people looking at my health blog will not have the toolbar installed, so what would be the point.

    1. check:
      "Myth #1: Alexa only measures traffic from people who have installed the Alexa toolbar.

      Not true! Alexa’s measurement panel is based on a very large and diverse set of browser extensions and plug-ins. The Alexa Toolbar is just one of many browser extensions that include Alexa data. And, for sites that have installed the Alexa Certify code, Alexa directly measures traffic from all visitors to the website whether or not they have a browser extension installed."

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Thanks Mustafa for sharing this post
    my tips4tricx blog rank also dropped from 4 lac to 6.6 lac and
    my onlinebloggertricks website's rank dropped from 4.6 to 8 lac and still decreasing in both

  9. AoA Bhai =)
    Again interesting and very informative post... Majority of Newbie Bloggers just focus on Alexa instead of quality content and Traffic and at the end of the day they all left empty handed... So this article is very helpful especially for newbies..... (y) Hats off to you Bhai ♥♥♥

  10. Hey Muhammad,
    I lost a whooping 100,000 plus points, I never knew the reason until now, but we are coming up again though.

  11. This is something that has happened even to my blog, is there any solution to this? Or is Alexa fast becoming archaic?

  12. I had a blog on blogger few months ago which was of entertainment category on which I was getting almost 1000 page views per day, most of the traffic were coming from Facebook ( about 80% ) but its Alexa was not improving and become static at 8M so I discouraged and decided to leave that blog. As then Alexa was only thing to measure my blog progress and in was new blogger then so didn't knew about seo etc.
    Then I decided to make a tech blog ( after I knew about seo and content marketing ) and today I'm hardly getting 100 page views but my Alexa has become 30 lacs in very short time of a month or two.

    So, I think Alexa toolbar added user is not a correct way to measure Alexa traffic rank. If the name is traffic rank why you are forcing anyone's user to must have your toolbar or extension. This is totally wrong way. When first I heard about this then I started thinking that how many of my user will have Alexa toolbar installed..that was horrible.

    I appreciate this article by MBT. Really awesome one.

  13. Its a very helpful post..
    and its happened to affecting alexa rank on my website also..
    so sad to hear this news..

  14. Hii.. Alexa rank of my blog is also dropping down consistentry...😢
    My blog-

  15. Good article glad to to know I wasn't only going down without meaning. My one dropping since April 34,400 to 46,273, but I didn't seen lot's of change in Google analytic, or revenue & impression.

  16. Seriously I never depended on Alexa traffic rank.. Nice article..

  17. hello My Best Alexa Rank Was 6,60763...But Now 1200000...Totally Fake Alexa

  18. Good article Mohammad Mustafa although I can read your anger at Alexa. While Alexa is not the perfect tool it does have some logic behind ranking and I have noticed it constantly. I mean to say I could predict when our Alexa rank would go up and go down based on what and when I post. Ok, that was to be fair with Alexa.

    On the other hand, I tend to agree with you and many thousand webmasters that we cannot reliably evaluate our site performance based on Alexa ranking. In the last one week or so we kept losing the points unpredictably (and that's why I landed here :-)) despite good and well-received posts, not only on website but also social medias. Our ranking fell from below 240k to today's 248k, that is a drop of almost 9k+ in around a week time! Obviously it's not true that we performed worse than almost 10k sites. Of course, I do believe we could have done better but seeing the trend I don't think that would have increased the rank as expected.

    At the same time I don't have a good suggestion for Alexa on how they can increase their data panel without disappointing those who value Alexa ranking. What I have decided some time back when our rank fluctuated is, we won't keep Alexa much in mind while posting articles and post them anyway in the interest of our readers. That's the best practice anyway, in long term.

    By the way, more or less the same goes with the other companies you mentioned in that they don't give accurate information as they claim. I believe the best analysis we get is from the traffic data we get from the host. You may like to have a look at and tell me if you like it. Have a good day!

  19. Up until June this year, my site had seen a steady increase in ranking from 6.3m to 480k+. Then, it started dropping and has never stopped. I have tried everything I could think of: changing keywords, updating meta descriptions. Hell, even caffeinating the damn numbers. Nothing. Thank God I bumped into this article. I was seriously getting depressed. On Google Analytics, I can see that the traffic to the site is increasing, but this is not being translated into better rankings. Thanks for writing this. I will focus on better content on the website.

  20. so glad i found tis article, i have dropped 5 million in the last 4 months,

    i have worked so hard on my blog and it gained alexa ranking then, all of a sudden it just started dropping even tho my daily vistors has over trippled. It has been driving me mad even to the point of giving up on my blog as i cant work out why it keeps dropping.
    My blog is less than one year old and i update about 3 times a week compared to perviously once a week to try and fix the rating but nothing.
    great post, thankks

  21. Hey All, once my alexa under 12k in india and now it’s approx 40k so can you suggest me what i need to do to recover this? My website is:

  22. Hi All,

    As an SEO analyst, I was not that much concentrating on Alexa Rank, but still worried due to serious drop. Our Electrical Shopping Website's (WWW.ELECZO.COM) ranking has gone down by 16K till date. Though, the the traffic is comparatively good.

  23. Hi I'm desperate even though it's October already since my site is having more traffic but the rank is decreasing so fast that I've started to think of quitting my job.