The internet isn’t as huge as the vast universe – it only consists of roughly 200 million active websites vs 200 sextillion stars – but it’s still a pretty big digital ocean to navigate.
As in any other form of navigation, you’d better know your position to make the right decisions. If your goal is to reach a specific destination (e.g. the top rank in your country for your niche), it’s good to know how competitive your vertical is vs others and where you stand vs. your competitors. This is why we need to rank websites vs. one another in a reliable way and, even more importantly, to rank niches vs. one another.
Ranking websites to evaluate niches
You might have read that Amazon is retiring their Alexa ranking system on May 1st, 2022.
The platform has been around for twenty-five years and has served as a decent benchmark reference for many online services. You’ve probably come across an Alexa rank column in many data tables. The ranking was determined by aggregating a series of data sources, incl. Alexa’s own Chrome extension data. It gave a good idea of a site’s importance at the very top of the food chain, let’s say for the first 500,000 websites out of 200 million, where competition is the fiercest and traffic data enables you to gauge positions in a fairly reliable way.
Beyond a specific rank, I’ve always been more attracted by the audience overlap table hidden at the bottom of each Alexa report. See for instance the suggestions for Monday.com (ranked 1104 on Alexa at time of writing, April 21 2022).
The Alexa ranks of the suggested competitors (here displayed by affinity score) give you a sense of the competition in the niche (we’re definitely in the Top 1000 out of 200M).
If you run the same query for a more confidential niche, you’ll get another picture. Here’s the competitive landscape of a leading hot tub manufacturer, marquisspas.com (ranked 830,285 on Alexa at time of writing).
A cross-vertical rank enables you to get a pulse of a niche vs. the whole digital ecosystem. This is why you need to pick a ranking method to evaluate niche competition.
What are the alternatives to Alexa now that Amazon is retiring the platform?
Most Competitive Intelligence tools have their own in-house ranking method.
ahrefs for instance offers a rank based on the backlink profile.
semrush offers a rank based on the organic traffic estimates
similarweb deploys their own in-house algorithm to come up with their leaderboard
At the very top of those rankings, you will usually notice the same properties, reshuffled in an order determined by each platform’s algorithm.
The crucial point isn’t to know who’s ranked #125 but to use this data for benchmarking purposes.
Is there an affordable alternative to Alexa now that Amazon is retiring the tool?
The obstacle with all the solutions listed above is that access to their API is very expensive, reserved to enterprise clients.
While building KPI Crunch, we wanted to find an affordable alternative to Alexa to provide our users with a cross-vertical ranking method. This is how we discovered Open Page Rank, which was created after Google shut off the toolbar displaying their PageRank. The Open Page Rank itself, expressed as a score ranging from 1 to 10 gives you an indication of the authority of a website and the SEO juice it can transfer to another domain.
Using the info which helps them determine the OPR (open source data provided by Common Crawl and Common Search), DomCop, the company behind the Open Page Rank, also generates a global ranking, frequently updated, which can be accessed for free. You can download a CSV of the top 10 million websites (we advise you to use Tad Viewer to manipulate the data) or instantly retrieve both the OPR and the OPR Rank via a free API.
This is how we provide our users with the OPR Rank. See for instance our KPI report for leading Font Marketplaces (note: each KPI Crunch report can be embedded on your website).
The ambition of KPI Crunch is to give you a tool to put multiple data points in perspective (social media engagement, organic traffic, OPR rank,…) to analyse competitive landscapes.
We will add a long list of data sources in the forthcoming months (business & HR data, social media mentions, qualitative data (e.g. semantic and image analysis through NLP and Computer Vision)). You will also be able to connect your own data sources and annotate the results.
At the moment, each report is a snapshot in time. We will introduce historical graphs and focus on cross-landscape visualisation, thanks to the data we compute for each analysed landscape.
You can already see the tool in action via this sneak peek video.
You can also discover 125+ in-house reports on kpicrunch.com (and sign up to join the early adopters of the platform).
The list on the home page can be filtered by tags and also sorted by different parameters (OPR Rank, Organic Traffic, KW in Google Top 100, etc.)