There has been a lot of fuss about Yahoo! Site Explore closing down not too long ago and everyone seems to be searching for alternatives.
Sure, the choices are plentiful and many posts have been written listing them from A to Z.
So what are you supposed to do now?
Go to each one of them to see if they are worth their salt?
Dig through a boatload of statistics?
Of course, not. Who has the time, right?
Plus, you've got me to do the dirty work and let you know which backlink checkers worked and which didn't…
Before we start though, let's decide what we are looking for in a good Yahoo! Site Explore alternative backlink checker tool:
Why Do We Need to Check on Backlinks?
We want more SEO traffic to our sites.
The shortest way to high Google rankings is to learn more about the sites that are already ranking for your keywords and match/beat their site optimization, both on-page and off-page.
Off-page site optimization is one of the biggest slices in the SEO ranking pie and it's all about LINKS.
Logically, if we find out what backlinks our competition has and manage to build similar or better link pattern, we should be able to rank above them (providing all other SEO factors are also similar, of course).
And that's where backlink checking tools come in.
Ideally, I'd like my perfect tool to tell me:
- How many links the page has overall
- Link value measurement of sorts, like PageRank, Page Authority, etc.
- Which exact page the link comes from, not just the domain name
- Linking anchor text variations
- Dofollow/Nofollow links
Yahoo! Site Explorer Alternatives: Misses
Link Diagnosis – Free
LinkDiagnosis.com is a free backlink checker tool from SEOMoz.
Free is great, but what about quality?
Let's take a look:
According to them, TGC has only 72 pages indexed with a total of 260 backlinks!!!
I'll stay away.
Blekko – Free
First of all, I do love the idea behind Blekko as an alternative to Google search engine.
However, they've got a LONG way to go to fine-tune the results.
The very first alarm went off when I saw Traffic Generation Cafe in Blekko's search results:
Not only did I change the SEO title a few days ago, but also for some reason Blekko keeps pulling the very first post excerpt from my home page as my meta description, as opposed to the actual description of my site.
Compare it to Google results:
Turned out that, while Google crawls my blog at least once per day, the last time Blekko crawled my site was 6 days ago.
Not great for a search engine…
But back to backlinks.
Here's a screenshot of Traffic Generation Cafe backlinks according to Blekko:
- 26,986 links are certainly better than 260, so it's a good start.
- The last date anyone linked to my home page, according to Blekko, was almost 2 weeks ago. Not even close.
- There is no link value indication of any kind – their “rank” graph is empty with a couple of exceptions.
- Limited links: not sure exactly how many links Blekko actually analyzes, but it's nowhere close to 26,986.
Once again, free falls way short.
Open Site Explorer – Free 30-day Trial, $99/month after that
Open Site Explorer is yet another tool by SEOMoz; this time it's a part of their SEOMoz Pro toolbox.
This one showed just over 8,000 links to my domain – way too low as well.
It does have many great features:
- Domain Authority (SEOMoz version of PageRank)
- Page Authority
- Do-/No-Follow links
- Anchor Text
- and more.
However, you can only see 5 backlinks for free and, as I mentioned before, this service comes at a cool $99/month after the 30-day free trial.
Personally, I wouldn't pay that.
SEO Attack – varies
This Yahoo! Site Explorer alternative looks great!… at first glance.
SEO Attack is loaded with features:
However, even at the highest subscription level ($99/month), you get ONLY 200 links to analyze.
Even worse, the tool itself picks the “top pages” to analyze and from what I've seen, their “top pages” picks are a far cry from reality.
Also, it gets pretty expensive pretty quickly:
Not something I'll be using in my research…
Exalead – Free
(Hat tip to Sean Si of SEO-Hacker.com on this one)
Very simple solution without ANY bells and whistles, Exalead will spit out SOME of the backlinks to your site; in my case it was just over 2,500:
You have to enter your search query like this:
Exalead won't give you any information on the backlinks (other than the thumbnail of the linking page – no idea why), just a list of them.
From what I can see being free is the only benefit for this backlink checker.
This is not an exhaustive list of Yahoo! Site Explorer alternatives by any means; however, I AM exhausted talking about the tools that miss the mark.
I'd rather talk about the tools that actually work and spend my time using those tools to build up my business, don't you?
Here we go.
Yahoo! Site Explorer Alternatives: Hits
Market Samurai – $97
Chances are you already own Market Samurai.
If you don't, you will pretty soon just out of pure peer pressure.
You should get Market Samurai because it's the best all-in-one SEO tool currently on the market, and actually, I dare to say, the ONLY tool that does pretty much everything you need to start moving your site up in the rankings: keyword research AND backlink checker.
It used to use Yahoo! Site Explorer to power its “SEO Competition” module, but of course, they had to rethink that.
And rethink they did.
Market Samurai backlink checker is now powered by Majestic SEO – another great alternative to Yahoo! Site Explorer, but is otherwise available with a minimum monthly subscription of about $45 per month (converted from British pounds).
No, you won't get all the bells and whistles of Majestic SEO with Market Samurai, but to be quite honest, you don't really need them.
Market Samurai will show you:
- All the links to any given page
- Sort them by PageRank
- Show you the anchor text used for each link
- Allow you to export the data
In my book, that's all most webmasters will ever need to learn about their competition.
If you already own Market Samurai, but never really figured out how to use the SEO Competition module, here's a quick video to walk you through it:
(Note: this video was done when Market Samurai still used Yahoo! Site Explorer, but the way you use the tool is still the same)
If you are still not using Market Samurai, but want to start working on your SEO traffic, now is THE time to start 2012 with a bang:
How to get 35% off: sign up for the free trial through the link above and wait for Market Samurai team to email you the discount offer.
Also, if you for some reason choose not to purchase Market Samurai to take advantage of the 35% off offer, the Keyword Research module will remain active for life, but you won't be able to do any backlink spying on your competitors.
SEO Spy Glass – Free
This is another great tool I've been using for years.
Here are just some of my favorite features of SEO Spy Glass:
- Unlimited everything: number of backlinks to find, searches per day/month, etc.
- Gives you all the important stats that matter: PageRank, anchor text, etc.
- One of a kind: calculates the VALUE of each link.
The value of a link could be a post of its own (and I think it will be), but just because a page has high PageRank, it doesn't mean that the link from that page carries a lot of authority, since it shares that authority with every other link on that page.
SEO Spy Glass has a free for life backlink checker version, which will give you all the stats you need as far as competition research is concerned.
Yahoo! Site Explorer Alternatives Marketing Takeaway
In case you haven't figured it out by now, I am not a big fan of using every single internet marketing tool out there just because it looks shiny or wrapped in a pretty box with a cute bow on it.
I find what works and stick with it until it doesn't work any longer – whatever the reason.
If you have something better in mind, give me a shout!