It's a small milestone for our work on Heritage Key that the site now outranks the British Museum in Alexa rankings--both US and UK. We opened our site only in August 2009 and the British Museum has more than 5 million physical visits, sells tickets to events and is generally the greatest museum for ancient world history. Today our ranking is Alexa global ranking is 57,100 and BM is 57, 196 -- we are also even better in the UK (3,995 vs 4,176) which is a surprise to us.
I don't really know how solid the Alexa rankings are, but they are something relative. Looking at our Google stats and system info is obviously more detailed. We are also happy to see our Google page rank at 5 now. The BM is as you would expect, 7.
In fairness, I don't think the BM is that bothered about their online presence. Their very interesting series with BBC is probably pulling a lot of traffic (although the flash bit isn't crawlable) and there is even a nice questing game. We have perhaps a lot more interactive content with virtual Stonehenge, King Tut as well as quizzes on-site. We also did expect to pass the BM in rankings as we are more focused on SEO and create a lot of new content targeted toward online users -- like new video such as the Boudicca episode for Ancient World in London which is getting a lot of views. The BM also isn't allowing comments or any UGC.
Main take-aways for this milestone:
* Brands like Heritage Key that can span interests across many traditional things like museums, movies, television and events will out-rank individual sites. We see this also even in publishing with one of our favourite sites the Daily Beast. But you can't just be an umbrella -- you need the strong brand and original content (we have already posted more than 8,000 pieces of new content as well as have the amazing 3D virtual online experiences).
* Traditional Brands might not be that worried (the BM is posting more and more footfall each year), but they are missing out on monetizing the global online audience. Check the stats on where that market is heading here. The actual cost to participate in the online boom for trusted brands is not that high, but it will require attention and action.
* Community sites are the future of the web. Push publishing and searching catalogues are not compelling enough to get above the noise. There needs to be something interesting and relevant to define the soul of community. Check sites like Livestrong where they got it going on already.
Next steps -- Louvre (41,109) and then the Met (21,213)!