It doesn’t come as new news that Yahoo! Site Explorer is shutting down, as they are merging their organic search platform with the the Microsoft search platform. With the merge, means no more Yahoo! Site Explorer. With the shutdown of YSE, that means webmasters and SEOs will not have what has been the go-to place for free competitive link data.
So When Will Yahoo! Site Explorer Be Gone for Good?
Well today marks the beginning of the end for YSE, as the BOSS Site Explorer APIs shut down information today (July 20th, 2011). Yahoo also announced that the APIs were scheduled to be shut down at the end of last year, but the timeframe has been extended for the YDN Site Explorer API up until September 15, 2011.
So it seems that you will only have a few more months, before you need to turn elsewhere for link intelligence data.
Where Are You Going to Turn?
Luckily, there are still a number of excellent link data resources available, however most come with a price tag. There are dozens of free link research tools still available (ie: Backlink Watch, Majestic SEO, Reverse Internet) , but none of which provide quality and robust link data about your competitors.
Here are three tools that I have personally used and tested. If you are serious about Internet Marketing and SEO, than you should definately invest into one of these premium SEO / Link Analysis tools!
Raven Tools provides a collection of SEO tools that will help you analyze, create, and manage your SEO campaigns. Specifically, there link research and analysis tool combines the power of SEMRush and SEOmoz link data into one kick-ass tool! I know that Raven Tools pays a pretty royalty penny for their customers to be able to leverage the power of SEMRush, so this is by far my favorite tool available for Link Analysis.
Open Site Explorer (SEOmoz Premium)
SEOmoz has transitioned from being an IM service-based company, to providing a premium toolset of IM research/analysis web-based software. The Open Site Explorer is a Link Popularity Checker and Backlink Analysis Tool, that is bundle into the SEOmoz Premium Toolset that they offer. However SEOmoz does offer a free version of this tool for you to try out, it only returns 1,000 results. This is a great place to start, but would recommend going premium if you want a comprehensive link list to analyze.
I bet many of you have never heard of the Ontolo, created by Ben Willis. The Ontolo link building toolset provides qualified link prospects, faster. They take the top 25 SEO keywords related to your business and they crawl and analyze each website in Google. As each website receives new link prospects, they are added into your project database. You can also use advanced search queries, to segment the list of potential link prospects, to find only the highest quality backlinks. There tool is probably the best at segmenting and qualifying only the highest quality links that you should spend your time attaining.
I’m not going to lie…this tool is only for advanced link builders. The packages start at $97/month and go up to $497/month. However there is no other backlink intelligence tool out there in the market. If you are an agency or a IM expert who spends A LOT of your time finding high quality backlinks, Ontolo may be your best fit.
Over the past year or so, I have gotten to know the guys over at WebSEOAnalytics, so they always give me free access to their up and coming toolset they are building. They have over 20 different SEO tools that can help you conduct any number of research/analysis campaigns.
Now that Yahoo! Site Explorer is closing shop, I would highly recommend looking into one of these premium Link Analysis tools. If you are still novice SEO or just starting out, stick with the free tools available until you get your feet wet. However once you start to become more advanced and have a feel for what type of links are best to acquire, make sure you grab one of these tools!
What Are You Using?
I am curious to see what you guys are using currently for Link Intelligence? Would love to hear about other recommendations and possible pitfalls from any of the tools out there.