Reading the obituaries column is always depressing, but the relegation of Yahoo Site Explorer to obscurity by the gang at Microsoft and Yahoo, will have left a few people severely disappointed and caught short! There where plenty of warnings and notices issued in advance, but this is one tool that will be sorely missed by the SEO industry.
Yahoo site explorer was widely used by many SEO consultants and smaller businesses that could manage without buying one of the paid alternatives. Free SEO tools are one of those things that are often taken for granted, but are the days of a decent free back link analysis tool, possibly numbered? We took it on ourselves to research and find a few other alternative SEO tools that can step up to the mark for analysing backlinks.
So What Form Has Site Explorer Tools Now Taken?
Bing claims that Yahoo site explorer has been merged into Bing Webmaster Tools. This is one gargantuan instance of poetic license I have EVER read!!!
This is Microsoft’s statement about the expiration of yahoo site explorer.
“Once organic results are transitioned to Bing in all the markets, we plan to shut down Yahoo! Site Explorer and Microsoft’s Webmaster Tools will be the source for Bing and Yahoo! webmaster site and analytics data.”
You’ll know what I mean when you expect to see a Yahoo Site explore alternative within Bing web master tools. Don’t spend time looking for it, you’ll be bitterly disappointed and have wasted valuable link building time.
So What are the Alternative FREE Backlink Tools for Checking Your Sites Back Links… ?
Are there any still out there or have all the free ones suddenly enabled a subscription payment, thus now benefiting from the removal of Yahoo Site Explorer.
We have researched a number of free and paid tools available for use. Jump straight to (5) and (6) if you want the FREE STUFF!
1. SEO Attack
This is a relatively new tool, still in beta but one of the best alternatives. Plug in your domain name and after around 30 seconds, gives free data up to a maximum of 10 URL’s. Click on the links column and it opens up another window and you can view the top exterior links pointing to your chosen URL. I like the ‘juicy’ rating that gives you an indication of how good the back link is based on how many in bound links are pointing to it. Again the list of back linking sites are limited, but you can filter on the best back links. It does display a further list of URL’s but with no associated data and cuts off the whole URL. Maybe sufficient for checking domains for acquisition purposes but not a comprehensive tool for competitor back link analysis and link scouting, unless you opt for the paid version to unlock the necessary features.
So what does SEO attack offer for the paid subscriptions? Their paid version is based on the number of searches per day.
For example their Bronze: $9.97/month will get you 50 searches / day, 200 link depth and various data including anchor text and CSV export.
2. SEO Moz
These guys don’t need a lengthy introduction, unless your’re a newbie. Most SEO’s have heard and are aware Open Site Explorer, in the form of a paid tool that gives you a myriad of features for link building research. They have a 30 day trial but this costs $99.00 per month to use as a Pro member Just one go at checking a domain backlinks and then the subscription screen kicks in. Very much worth it’s salt and probably the best tool out there for mining backlink data. You can get up to 10,000 links, track links over a time period plus it now includes additional data on social media backlinks.
3. Using Google Operators
There are many google operators you can use to filter your search results. One of them is by using the following search operator in the Google search field.
So how to get back external backlinks using google operators?
Just type in “link:www.domainname.com” and you are rewarded with a list of sites linking back to your domain, excluding internal page links from your domain.
It would look like this:-
with the following results:-
Try this your self with one of your own domains. You may be asking “why doesn’t google link operator show all your backlinks”? You’ll see Google doesn’t show you a true count of inbound links pointing to your website. There is a very good reason for this according to Google, to prevent “spammers or competitors using the information to reverse a sites ranking.” Sceptics amongst the industry would say it stops the boffins from reverse engineering the Google algorithm. What ever the reason, it doesn’t substitute yahoo site explorer by any means. A half baked set of back links isn’t going to help you excel and impress your girlfriend with your link building skills.
4. Majestic SEO
Anyone familiar with Market Samurai will have seen a notification email of the departure of yahoo site explorer data from the public internet domain and the Samurai client interface. Market Samurai gave you the option of back link data from Yahoo or Majestic SEO (a paid subscription tool). If you’re an avid user of market Samurai, no doubt you will be taking a closer look at Majestic to keep your data reporting within the same interface. So how does Majestic SEO fair against the other paid tools?
It’s a great tool, fit for purpose giving you a myriad of back link data to chew on. Includes back link history, graphs for reporting, last crawl dates, top pages and much more. So what if you like the tool, how does the price fair against it’s competitors?
Subscriptions start at £ 29.99 every month, (which is approx $46 US dollars), very affordable for the one man band and SEO professionals with a small number of clients. it goes up to £299 per month for the full API version if you need to integrate this with your own system.
5. Link Diagnosis Tool
At last a totally free tool! Check this out from iAcquire and Linkscape! With a stand out logo (no its not made in Switzerland) and a good first impression landing on the home page, if you’re one of those who switched to Chrome from Firefox for speed, well now is the time to dust the cobwebs off your Moxilla Firefox browser. Yes it works best in Firefox.
Next, type in your domain and you get a progress bar up, whilst the tool beavers away searching for your back links. After about a minutes wait, the results and report stats are displayed in a well layed out and easy to read table with associated data.
You can look at the URL, title of page, anchor text, link type, OBL, PR’ link strength, mozrank to name a few. The only drawback is if you want to drill down and look at the sites that the links are sourced from, you have to cut and paste the URL, unlike yahoo, where the sites are clickable. Obviously quite time consuming and it will quickly dawn on you how much you’re missing and relied upon the yahoo site explorer tool. However you can export the data for Excel to record your history.
6. Blecko Free Seo Tool
Last but definitely not least! This is a new tool, but don’t let the beta sign put you off. This is your saviour from those nasty people at Microsoft who spoiled the party. This is ideal if you prefer looking at data on the fly and don’t need the CSV export feature of link diagnosis. So who are blekko? Well if like most of us you’ve had your head in the Google cloud, you’ll have missed the blekko welcome parade and it’s brilliant spam free search engine and SEO interface.
Show me the money! How do you get the back link data? Make your way to the blekko search engine and type in your domain. Click search and you will get the following page below…
Click on the inbound links figure, in this case 228, and you will get another screen giving you a list of domains. Just before you do, look at what you can do here – they’ve even included the ability to compare against other domains.
1. Add your site.
2. Click on ‘SEO’
3. Enter the URL of your competitor and click ‘compare’
4. Use the graphs to see how you fair against your competitor web sites.
So far so good…!
So here’s what you’ve been waiting for >> A list of back links with ‘action’ options that will give you the following; whois info, compare or view back links of each inbound site.
So what about anchor text? It can give you that as well. Simply click on the links column for the appropriate row and you get the anchor text used from that domain. The only thing you can’t do is get an overall view of anchor text distribution for all linking sites at once, but who’s complaining!
The short answer is ‘YES’ – there are totally FREE tools available that can just about step into the shoes of Yahoo Site Explorer, albeit doesn’t quite compare to it’s efficiency and ease of use.
If you want more than a link building analysis tool, there are a number of trials available for paid tools, but you’re going to have to stump up the money at some point if you want to keep hold of your data and keep researching – a tall order for the smaller guys trying to make a living out of SEO.
Many of the free tools are limited to one page or one time usage and Google webmaster tools is not a valid tool for competitor analysis, but thank the SEO gods that Blekko and Link Diagnosis are available.
So Who needs Yahoo? Not even Bing needs Yahoo Search anymore!