Finally (21st November 2011) Yahoo site explorer has been switched off.
Officially it has been rolled into the Bing Webmaster Tools as part of the Yahoo/Microsoft search alliance.
Unfortunately that does not mean that you will find Yahoo site explorer at Bing. It simply means that for similar data (on your own websites only) can now be found at Bing Webmaster Tools.
Many will have notices that Yahoo site explorer has been becoming less and less effective as a backlink research tool since the Search Alliance was proclaimed. It seems the tool and, more importantly, the data has been seriously neglected for some months.
Even worse, all that data is now lost or at least inaccessible.
So what do you need now for backlink research? How do you analyse the competition of competitor sites?
Unfortunately your choices are very limited if you want to use free resources. As a side note I am seeing less and less free tools available in all areas of site research. Google’s own AdWords Keyword Tool remains free for keyword research but it stands completely alone. All keyword research tools now may offer a free option but the limitations are so great that they are, for all practical purposes, useless.
This seems to be the way of backlink research tools also. Thankfully there are two free options that still remain useful. Although both have paid versions that give you more. I just hope they do not further restrict their free options now that yahoo is defunct and many will be looking for reliable alternatives.
MajesticSEO certainly finds the most backlinks and if you are looking at total backlinks then this is the tool you should use. The data is current and even a brand new site will see data within 14 days.
Conveniently is shows both “the last 30 days” and “historical (total) data. This is great for seeing current link growth (becoming very important for modern off-page SEO) as well as overall links.
Open Site Explorer from SEOMOZ does not find as many backlinks but it does display a comprehensive list of the links it finds (conveniently in order of page authority – think page rank but better).
Be sure to include (or not as required) the “www” in the domain name as OSE sees the www and non-www versions as separate urls.
For both MajesticSEO and Open Site Explorer you will need to create a free account to get the functionality. Both tools have a paid version that gives you additional information but for general use the free versions are pretty good.
PS you can find a quick walk around MajesticSEO at the end of the video on the home page of BacklinkNetworks.net
What tools do you use for your research?
Can you reccomend any or tell us about your experiences?
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