Michael Kitces #FinTech

An analytics tool better than Google for advisers?

Ted Jenkin asks, is it time to make Alexa your new best friend?

Sep 9, 2013 @ 8:57 am

By Ted Jenkin

How many times have I heard an adviser tell me their website looks amazing?

You've got an exquisitely designed site, chock full of videos, click through buttons, and a fresh 'about us' section ripe for your clients and prospects to start viewing. Then someone asks the dreaded question, “How do you think your website stacks up to other financial advisers across the country?”

Of course since most advisers carry a touch of ego with them, they'll all tell me that their website is way better than their competition. So, how do you ascertain whether your website rocks or it is just a rock that is falling to the bottom of the ocean?

Alexa is one of the leading websites when it comes to tracking overall internet statistics. Essentially, Alexa will rank the overall traffic that goes to a website relative to all other websites over a three-months period, and statistically ranks all websites from number one (the most traffic) all the way into millions and millions of websites that exist around the world.

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If you are a new website, or just completely irrelevant than you might get a 'no rank' when you search for your website ranking at Alexa. Right now, Google, Facebook, and You Tube rank as the top three sites respectively. In the large financial services firms, Merrill Lynch ranks 7,704, Ameriprise 25,333, and LPL 68,752. There are many bloggers that have rankings larger than these three gigantic corporations believe it or not. Getting your site into the top 250,000 will put you in the big leagues.

Here's the glitch when it comes to Alexa, and it's a little bit like the old Arbitron ratings when it comes data accuracy. Alexa is measured by those who have installed the toolbar, so it is directionally accurate, but may not always be spot on with the numbers since it is recording from those computers that have installed the toolbar.

Here's a hint: Get everyone in your firm, family, and friends to install the toolbar and it will improve your ranking.

More importantly, Alexa carries some really good demographic data that may be useful to you within your overall marketing plans. It can tell you whether or not the people who hit your website are high school, college, or post graduate degrees. It can tell you the balance of men and women who have come to your website. It can also provide you with some useful information on how people are searching for your website. These are all good pieces of information to assist you in making your website more effective for generating leads.

For most advisers who aren't looking to monetize some part of their content on the internet, Alexa ranking may not be as useful a tool for you. However, it can be another measuring stick for those you hire for social media or web management as to whether or not you are actually making progress. So, perhaps it's time you got to know Alexa just a little bit better.

What do you think? What are some tools that you are using for web analytics that might be helpful for other financial advisers? Jon the conversation!

Ted Jenkin is Co-CEO and founder of oXYGen Financial Inc.

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