Traffic prediction websites have been around for years now. Alexa is probably the most visible of them, but there are actually several out there. They’re routinely used in a wide range of endeavors, but notably for business owners, they’re often used to help formulate marketing plans.
Don’t fall into this trap. Several recent studies have found that not only are these sites disappointingly inaccurate, but they’re largely a waste of your time and money. It’s just not worth the time that you put into the process. There are better things to invest in to ensure your business comes out on top.
Specific Site Usefulness
None of the sites measured, which included SEMrush, Twitter, Google AdWords, MOZ, SimilarWeb, Alexa, Compete.com, and Quantcast, provided useful marketing insights. Some, however, were more usable, and the studies showed how they should be used.
SimilarWeb and Compete.com turned out to be the most useful. This wasn’t because their predictions were accurate, but because the correlation between their numbers and ongoing traffic trends was consistent.
For instance, while Compete might have shown you had two or even three times the amount of traffic per month as your own analytics, the correlation between traffic spikes and drops would be accurate.
These sites are also useful in comparing one site against another (again, due to correlation, not prediction accuracy). In fact, not all of them even exist at this point. Compete is no longer available and it was one of the better options available.
It might be a bummer to realize that you’ll have to find another way to bring in traffic, but it’s best to avoid spending time with a solution that cannot be trusted. Prediction websites can be fun to play with but there’s no evidence that they offer anything more than that.
What’s the Best Option Instead?
When everything is said and done, there is no site out there that can accurately predict your traffic. What should you do about marketing, then? This is where marketing savvy comes in handy -- useful content, clear offers and calls to action, reputation management, and excellent customer service -- combined with the ability to drill down into your own analytics and make informed connections and decisions based on accurate information.
Marketing is all about getting the right people looking at you. That takes work but it’s possible and it doesn’t require the help of a prediction website. Good SEO, excellent call to actions, and a knowledge of your audience will go a long way. Gimmicks are just that – they aren’t going to make you shoot up the rankings without being known to your competitors.
Not every business has time to handle this all on its own. That’s okay. There are tons of companies out there that have created proven results for brands like yours. Investing your money into advertising that works is a better use of your hard-earned cash.
Whether you handle the marketing on your own or work with an agency or company, it’s likely going to offer better results than relying on a prediction site. They simply don’t offer enough of a benefit to be useful for businesses. Stick to what works as you move forward and build on your success.
Avoid the Prediction Sites
Using Alexa and other similar sites seems to be largely a waste of time, and in a worst-case scenario, could see you throwing all your marketing money behind an ineffective campaign that won’t benefit your bottom line in the least. Invest your money in proven advertising solutions if you want to see your business succeed. It’s a better option in every single way.