Yahoo keeps Site Explorer’s View Backlinks feature

Yahoo-Bing-Logo-Search-Logo

Today we received some great news for the SEO community. As we all know the Yahoo and Bing alliance led to several changes for the Yahoo Search Engine. Yahoo recently announced that BOSS V1 will be discontinued and a new paid API will be launched (BOSS V2) for Yahoo Search. Even if this new low cost API (0.4 – 0.75$ CPM) can be considered good news for companies that already use the free version, it is still uncertain whether the new API will give access to certain features such as structured data, Key Terms, Delicious data, and the Site Explorer Service.

The future of Site Explorer

At the same time, the future of an other great service, the Yahoo Site Explorer, was uncertain due to the announcement that it’s API will be discontinued on December.

yahoo-site-explorer-example

On August 21st, Mr Hemant Minocha, the Product Manager of Site Explorer, announced that users will continue to be able to view inlinks (backlinks) from Site Explorer.

“You will continue to be able to Explore URLs, and view inlinks (backlinks). However, if you are using the Webservices API, please note that by end of this year, we will no longer offer the site explorer web services API.” – Hemant Minocha Product Manager, Site Explorer, Yahoo! Search

Even if this was good news for the Online Marketers, it was not certain whether the export to CSV feature would be maintained. Today Mr Minocha announced that Yahoo Site Explorer will continue providing the backlinks for a given webpage and that they plan to keep the export to CSV feature:

We are working with the Microsoft team to ensure that webmasters can continue to use Yahoo! Site Explorer to view inlinks (a.k.a backlinks) to a given webpage or a website and to further be able to export them as CSV if desired. Please note that this functionality will be available only through the Site Explorer UI and not through the Webservices API.” – Hemant Minocha Product Manager, Site Explorer, Yahoo! Search

Let’s hope that the Yahoo – Bing alliance will not only maintain the other good services of Yahoo, but also that they will provide additional useful products and statistics for online marketers.

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  • Andy @ FirstFound

    Phew. I do like site explorer. It’s not always accurate, but it’s served me well for years!

    Glad to hear it’s being kept.

  • Claus

    Funny, if I take a this substring of the quote: “We are working with the Microsoft team to ensure that webmasters can continue to use Yahoo! Site Explorer to view inlinks” …and search it on Google. The only hit I get – is yours(?!?). So where did you get this information?

  • bbriniotis

    @Claus: Hello. Instead of checking it on Google, you should click on the “announcement” link that we provide on the post. :) The link will lead you to the official yahoo blog where you will find both of these phrases on the comments. This info is provided by Mr Minocha who is the product manager of Site Explorer and he replies to the various questions of the users concerning the future of the service. Also we have validated those facts with Yahoo Search Help.

    PS: Btw when I search for that exact phrase the only site that I find on google is the official yahoo blog.

  • Claus

    @bbriniotis: I’ve see this post many times – but did not see the last comment made 19. Oct. …Anyway, this is NOT saying that we can continue to use it after the 2012 transition. One can say it’s a “bit” pessimistic, but I doubt it.

  • bbriniotis

    @Claus: From the context it seems that they will continue to have it. Note that the 2nd user asks exactly that (if we’ll still use it after 2012) and the answer from Mr Minocha is possitive (“You will continue to be able to Explore URLs, and view inlinks (backlinks)”). Also this is what Yahoo Search replied to our inquiry.

    So Based on the info that we have now, Site Explorer stays. Now are there any quarantees for the future? Of course not! But personally I strongly believe it will stay for various reasons.

  • Claus

    @bbriniotis: Now I’ve seen it on http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/023126.html – Sins I’m from the cold Nordic regions in Europe, all this Bing transition is not going to benefit us. Yahoo data was Okay before Bing – Bing data sucks in Europe.

  • bbriniotis

    @PRime, @Claus: It is true that the numbers of Site Explorer are a bit weird. The last 15 days the number of total backlinks in Site Explorer is going up and down. Obviously this is due to the integration changes that take place in their systems. Let’s hope this will stop after the integration is completed. After all they do let us know that they are still testing things and that they are working on it.

    Our team actually spent some time on this issue, the other day. We compared previous and current backlink lists for a large number of websites that we have in our DB and we isolated the URLs that were missing from the new reports. After that we checked the URLs with our duplicate content tool and we found out that Bing is clearing out the links that have 100% similarity with other pages (duplicate content). Also they are clearing URLs from bit.ly, tinyurl.com etc. I think that this is something good because once the junk is out, you will receive only the important backlinks for a particular domain.

  • Claus

    @bbriniotis: This is exactly my point: Yahoo & Google are using a algorithmic base that indeed is a look alike (You can’t reinvent the search wheel regarding keywords) Bing on the other hand, uses a completely new type of math (think Microsoft Powerset etc.). Links in Bing are so much different from Googles. All my tests has showed this pattern. So, sins Yahoo Site Explorer is losing its own index to be powered by Bing, it’s my statement that the reported link quality (all over) will get worse. We are after all using the backlinks to profile towards Google, right?

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  • bbriniotis

    @Claus: I agree that Bing has a different approach than Google. Certainly lots of things will change on how Site Explorer shows the backlinks. I don’t agree though that Bing is providing results of low quality. Generally I believe that Bing does serve good results, but the discussion is not about their SERP quality.

    If we focus only on the backlink lists that we’ll receive from the new Site Explorer, it does not really make sense to say that the new backlink results will not be valid because they are provided by Bing. Yahoo did not seem to order the backlink lists in the past by using quality criteria (for example the top 1000 backlinks were not the most important ones). So still what we will receive from Yahoo, will be a valid list of random(?) backlinks for a particular page. And since the results are limited to 1000, the output for sites with more than one thousand backlinks will be very similar.

    Concerning the quality of Site Explorer’s results the last 12 months, I believe that it was quite low (lots of duplicates, tiny urls, none existed pages etc). I think this is because they did not invest on upgrading their systems after announcing their affiliation with Bing. So my personal view is that the quality can only be increased.

    Finally I agree with you on the fact that using the absolute number of backlinks that is provided by Yahoo is not the safest practice to profile Google results. Nevertheless since they still use links as a way to measure authority, I think that we can consider it as an indication.

    BTW I think that the discussion on the comments of this blog post is more informative than the article itself. Thanks for starting this discussion. :)

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  • Juegos

    Don’t know if the webmasters should be happy or not, why? because using Yahoo Site Explorer anyone can spy your backlinks.
    Btw there are other paid tools able to display more than 1000 backlinks.

  • SEO company Gurgaon

    Using site explorer could be very helpful particularly when target for seo is Yahoo.com,

    i regularly check inlink report from this great tool

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  • Christine

    I don’t think this is ‘good news’ at all!

    The fact that the API for showing backlinks is disappearing is a major problem. There are numerous free tools out there using the API for showing backlinks, and we use one of them extensively in our SEO campaigns. If this tool just suddenly stops working it is going to have a major impact on everything that we do – instead of being able to do a competitive analysis of how many links competitors have in one go, we will now have to go back to visiting the site explorer interface for each and every site….

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  • Urban Leasing - Lofts in Houston

    How useful is the backlink record anyway? It seems to fluctuate within a few hours of checking. Also, it lacks some of the higher PR links that you might have (and I’m not talking about “no follow” links).

    Thank you for the info!

    -Smilton

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  • local seo services

    Not for long though. Yahoo announced that it will get rid of Yahoo Site explorer. We use Majestic SEO in our local SEO business. Try them I thing they have half off special going on right now.

  • Door Handles

    This is a tool which used to be so useful in assessing the link strategy of our competitors. Its ashame this has now been scrapped.

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