There was a time when you wanted to look up information you visited your local library and looked things up by scanning the card catalog for books or periodicals on whatever you were curious about. That, or we asked a parent or spouse if they knew. I remember my (ex) wife while looking at recipes in a cookbook asked me what port wine was. My answer was that most wines were grown in valleys, Napa Valley, Simi Valley, Loire Valley, places like that. Port wine was wine grown closer to the ocean, near ports… Of course, I couldn’t keep a straight face and when she realized I was full of it, proceeded to hit me with that rather sizeable cookbook. Today, we have the internet. We have Google, Bing, Sir, and Alexa.
Those of us who are or were in the website business, know about Alexa, but from a different source. Alexa Internet has been a web traffic analysis company since its founding in 1996. The name was chosen to pay homage to the great ancient library of Alexandria that was accidentally burned to the ground by Julius Ceaser. Amazon purchased Alexa in 1999 and has run it ever since. Amazon liked the name and the reference to the ancient Egyptian library so much they chose to use it for their virtual assistant when they launched Amazon Alexa in 2013.
Alexa Internet measures web traffic and ranks the top 30 million websites in the world and by home country as well Every day Alexa reports the ranking of those websites in a rolling 90-day average. Most of our readers will be familiar with some of the top websites, but probably not all of them. Here is a ranking of a handful of websites:
I am guessing most of you have never heard of half of the top 10. Let me throw a few others you are familiar with:
- NY Times
- Fox News
Needless to say, most optical sites don’t rank anywhere near as high.
23, 073 Luxottica
57,498 The Optical Journal
Many of you might be asking, who cares? If you are a business owner, you should. Let’s take a look at the rankings a handful of optical shops:
39,138 Lenscrafters (1,158 locations)
456,136 Europtics (4 locations)
641,988 Cohen’s Fashion Optical (120 locations)
902, 466 Black Optical (3 locations)
1,449,431 Edward Beiner (13 locations)
1,542,765 City Optometry (1 location)
1,741,648 Gogosha Optique (1 location)
Many an optical shop doesn’t make it into the top 30 million. Many a retail establishment and restaurant either. An Alexa ranking is the traffic every website receives. We no longer live in 1999. We and every one of our customers use our smartphones and desktop or laptop computers all day long. What hours is that store open? We “google” the shop instead of calling. Having a website isn’t optional anymore, but a part of how we do business each and every day, whether we are the buyer or the seller.
Can you make it as a business without being the top-ranked business in terms of traffic in your town? Of course. Why would you want to? You and your website should be the top resource for products, services, and information in your community. As mentioned earlier, Alexa ranks the top 30 million websites. When I was building websites for ECPs, all our sites ranked within the first 6 -9 months. Yours should too.
Take a look at the ranking of your business website on Alexa.com. Do you show up? Do you rank as high or higher a comparable shops in your city or town? Getting people coming to your website is more than simple or even complex SEO. If people are coming to your website, you are answering the questions they are asking. Asking of Google, Bing, and Yahoo. If someone is searching for Oakley sunglasses in your community and you sell Oakley, don’t you think you should tell people that? If someone is searching for eye exams on a Saturday and you or your practice offers that, don’t you think you should let the world know?
Alexa ranking isn’t about who has the fanciest website, or the prettiest website. Alexa ranking is about traffic. Plain and simple. Who gets the most visitors every day. None of us will beat The New York Times. That’s OK. We won’t bring in the traffic that ESPN, HBO, I Heart Radio, McDonald’s, Target, Ford, or Southwest Airlines does either. However, our business will continue to depend on how many people find us online. We want to appear when people search for the products and services we offer and we all need to continue to tune our websites to be there when people search.
Look at other websites, optical or not. See what they are telling their customers or prospective customers and decide if you should as well. The more questions you can answer for your clientele, the more clientele you will serve.