A “lil” intro…
As you might have already noticed, about 10 days ago Site Explorer, the free tool by Yahoo, was no longer available. I, personally, don’t considered this to be a huge loss for us, people who work on site optimization. Although (please note), I don’t say that it was totally useless. Any additional information that we can get about our sites or our competition helps. However, considering that this tool had not been in active development for quite some time, I doubt that it reflected much of what has been recently happening with Yahoo. Therefore it is hard to say how valid the data that we were getting from it was.
For Those Who Don’t Have a Clue: What Was Site Explorer?
Since Site Explorer was quite a primitive tool if compared to, let’s say Google Webmaster Tools, it didn’t give us any real value on its own. A few of the valuable things that we could pick up from it were
1. seeing the number of pages indexed by Yahoo
2. the number of inbound links from external sources leading to single pages or the whole site.
For Those Who Wonder: Should We Miss It?
Since we still can get an idea about how many pages are presently indexed by Yahoo for a given domain (if we query its search with “site:somedomain.com”), then the only thing that is missing now is the ability to lookup the backlink count for a given web property. And for those who acquired a habit of using Yahoo Site Explorer for checking backlinks, I’ll be listing a few free alternatives at the end of this post. After you check out those tools, let me know if you still miss Site Explorer and I’ll try to help you more.
For Those Who Still Wonder: What Else Will It Affect?
As I mentioned above, by itself the Site Explorer was not that effective or useful. Yet quite a few SEO tools were relying on its API to collect backlink data for their reports. As a matter of fact, just about a week ago Market Samurai has posted the following message at the program startup:
“A change has been made to the backlink sources available in the Rank Tracker and SEO Competition modules. As the Yahoo Site Explorer has been decommissioned, it is no longer possible to retrieve backlink data from Yahoo…”
We will see this type of changes in many other search engine optimization tools. So, if you notice that one of your favorite programs is having a problem displaying backlink data, then you know why. (Remember, you can always drop a line in comments and tell us about your experience with this change.)
For Those Who Want To Get Over With It:
Should I Say: “Yahoo Site Explorer FREE Alternatives?”
1. BackLink Watch (http://backlinkwatch.com/)
Besides showing you the backlink count, this tool gives you the overview of anchor texts, outbound link count for the pages that host your links and some other valuable information.
2. Blekko (http://blekko.com/)
Requires registration, but it is quick and free. Enter a domain name you want to research in their search box. When search results come up, look at the end of the displayed result snippets. Click on “seo” and you will see all sorts of information about the homepage of the domain you are investigating.
3. Exalead (http://www.exalead.com)
Use “link:example.com” to see the number of backlinks indexed by Exalead. You can try the “link:” command in other search engines, including Google.
4. SEO Attack (http://www.seoattack.org)
Gives link count and shows limited result set. Requires free registration. The data comes for SEOmoz (Open Site Explorer) via LinkScape API.
Just to name a few…
If you want to suggest other options (FREE options), leave a comment.