Previously, I've explained how downloading the Alexa toolbar will boost your Alexa rank. Now I'm going to delve into how the redirect works.
It's pretty simple. You basically send traffic through Alexa's site, to yours. That way, anybody who gets redirected counts as a visitor, even if they don't have the Alexa toolbar. Using the Alexa redirect is a great way to make Alexa aware of all the visitors you have that Alexa usually can't keep track of.
This is the code for the redirect:
http://redirect.alexa.com/redirect? + your chosen URL
So to redirect to misinterpreted.org, the link would be:
Great, so now that we have the code, how do we use it? There has been a lot of debate over whether it's a good thing to use it in links coming in from outside your site. Some people think the redirect will kill any transfer of PageRank, which would be bad. Others say that Alexa transfers PR no problem. But since the jury is still out, the risk is there. Another potential downside has to do with your ranking in the Search Engines. If you were to put a normal link somewhere out on the net, Google would eventually find it, and count it in your site's favor (usually). If you use the Alexa redirect, the theory (or fact?) is that Google wouldn't be able to see that link as being in your favor, and you'd lose out.
So, the Alexa redirect will boost your Alexa rank at the expense of PR and Search Engine placement.
But there are places you can use it where the negatives won't be a factor. Some bloggers change their in-site link to their home page, and use an Alexa redirect instead. There is some debate concerning whether the PR from all your pages can count toward your home page when you use a homepage Alexa redirect. My take is that there's probably not as big a risk concerning PR when using the redirect within your own site.
Another way you can use it is if you control a link that a lot of people use to get to your blog. If that link is very popular, you might try making it into an Alexa redirect. That way Alexa counts all the people who come through it, and you only have to change a single link.
If you decide to make use of this trick, keep in mind that every link you change will now rely on Alexa to work properly. So if Alexa goes down, the redirects won't work, and the links will be dead.
Update, 1-28-08: Looks like the Alexa redirect is gone for good.If you enjoyed this post, I'd be delighted to have you as a subscriber to my RSS feed.