Finding the most popular websites on a topic


The news is full of information being given to us with data about millions of different things. But when you actually want specific data about the most visited websites, where do you start?

For websites and determining which are the most popular websites in a specific country or on a specfic topic then the Alexa website is a very useful tool. Cornish WebServices provide Internet Marketing consultancy services and deterining the real value of a website for placing banner ads or articles on is very important. Figures from wbeiste owners tend to be 'hits' which can be many hundreds of times the actual visitor level.

This articles describes just one of the tools staff at Cornsih WebServices use to investigate the value of a website for advetrising. As an example we will take the topic of food, and more specifically food blogs.

Go to Alexa at

To find the most popular websites about food in terms of unique visitors, you type ‘food blogs’ into the search bar at the top.

The results you get include sponsored results and search results. You need to ignore the search results as these do not give any indication of  how many visitors a website gets. These simply indicate the website owner is paying to get more visitors to their website.

 Look instead at the natural results and these will be ranked in terms of how well the webpage matches your search criteria. This shows how well the website does in terms of website visibility and is also known as search engine optimisation.

But included with the listing will be a bar partially coloured blue to indicate the Alexa rank of the website. This is the information of how many visitors the website receives. The Alexa rank is lower for websites with more visitors, so you want to look at websites with lower Alexa rankings if you want a website that has a high number of visitors. This total Alexa ranking is a worldwide ranking, but by clicking onto the Alexa page on this you can see more information for each country.

So, for example has an Alexa rank of 13,963 (date from 6/1/2010), and in the UK this is better with a UK Alexa rank of  10,682. Extra data will indicate where most of the website users come from. For this is 48% US, 21% India and 5% UK.

And has an Alexa rank of 9,399 (better than the website above). Ranking for the UK is similar at 10,202 but only 3% of website visitors are from the UK.

The market leader (in the world) is with Alexa rank of 682. In the UK this is 3,478 but just 1% of website visitors come from the UK. The is very US centred website with 90% visitors being from the US.

But what if you are searching for the top UK websites on food blogs?

The Alexa website comes with a filter tool so you can filter by country. If you search on UK results you get different answers.

The first results, has a UK Alexa rank of 100,624 and 10% of website visitors are from the UK. This appears first because the website describes itself as being a ‘food blog’ which is what we have searched for.

But other search results include the BBC Newline ticker. This has a UK Alexa rank of 5, which means Alexa think it is the 5th most popular website. 41% of users come from the UK. The is an excellent website, but only a very small part is about food.

Another search result is, currently with a UK Alexa rank of 531 and 46% of visitors being from the UK. This gets high volumes of traffic relating to recipes.

Website analysis now becomes subjective; if you are looking for ‘food blogs’ are recipe websites OK? Or are they too specific? It is at this stage that automated tools stop being as useful and a human being is needed to make sense of the various websites and give recommendations.

And lastly, this article is based on Alexa rankings. But how reliable are they? And what are they.

Alexa rankings are gathered from data recorded automatically from people around the world you use the Alex toolbar. These are a broad cross section of people in terms of age and location, but there will be a strong bias towards those involved with creating, developing or marketing websites.

Cornish WebServices think that comparing websites within the same sector is a good use of Alexa rankings. But comparing the visitors to a food website and website design website is not reliable. It is also possible for some website owners to artificially alter their Alexa rankings, so again the actual numbers must be treated with some care.

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