21st November saw the end of the road for the Yahoo Site Explorer, as it was rolled in to Bing Webmaster Tools. This means that you will lose the invaluable information you got about the competition, and will only get to know the information of the sites you own . While search professionals are hoping that Bing would integrate competitor data in its tool, just like Yahoo Site Explorer, there is no hints of the same from Bing.
The tool was launched on 29th September 2005, and for 6 years became the only source of competitor data that was available for free. But in July this year, Yahoo announced that they will pull the plug on this tool as soon as the organic results get transitioned to Bing in all the markets. During the transition, Yahoo kept advising webmasters to use Bing Webmaster Tools.
Well, now the transition to Bing is complete and with it comes the final day of the Yahoo Site Explorer. This means that the SEOs will now not be able to find who links to competitor sites. With the Site Explorer, one could find who linked to the competitor site and link domain found links to anywhwere on a specified web site. But since the Site Explorer has been put to rest, the source of information is also lost.
The major concern that the search professionals and online marketers face is what free alternatives are available now that the YSE is out of the picture. Till now, we could not find a free tool that is parallel to the information that the Site Explorer provided, but other tools are there, that can be considered. These are suitable for search professional who are on a tight budget:
Open Site Explorer– SEOMoz's tool will provide you with more of less the same information. The tool tells you the linking domains for up to 5 competitor websites, and the domain authority too, along with several other pieces of information like inbound links and anchor text for free. And for more details, you need to have a Pro membership that starts at $99 a month.
Majestic SEO– This is a paid tool, that gives you a summary of the referring domains and external backlinks. For the detailed information, you have to sign up for a package.
Ahrefs Site Explorer– This is again a paid tool, that provides some free information too. For instance you can know your competition's External Backlinks, their number and type (text, image, nofollow, redirect, deleted and frame). For further details like Anchor texts, referring domains you have to sign up.
Blekko– This is a highly useful alternative, as it lets you track down linked pages in two ways. However, both ways will lead you to the same results. The first way is to use slashtags- “/links” and “/domainlinks” along with the competitor's URL. Like to find the links to the home page, we have keyed- http://blekko.com/ws/pagetrafficbuzz.com%2Fdomainlinks finds all inbound links to the site.
The search results come with a little inverted triangle, that expands to show many options, and you can select ‘links’ from the pop-up box.
By clicking the SEO option below the search results, you can view inbound links to the whole of the competitor web site. A click on the inbound links number leads you to the list of domains containing the links to the competition and their number.
While not at par with the Yahoo Site Explorer, these tools may provide you with valuable insights. We can only hope that Bing adds this functionality to its webmaster tools. Any how, do you know of any more free tools? Do share your knowledge via comments below.