In 2010, Yahoo announced that its organic search results would be powered by Bing which led to many Yahoo properties being discontinued. So, as expected, on November 21st, Yahoo officially took down its free, search analysis tool, “Site Explorer”. What does this mean for Webmasters? Even though the data has been integrated into Bing Webmaster Tools, it seems evident that any type of robust (and free) online tool for checking things like backlinks is gone forever. There are, of course, a plethora of third party tools, but those tools are compiling an aggregate of a multitude of different platforms, and are not a true reflection of the “true” backlink data that a specific search engine has.
Bing Webmaster Tools has made some effective improvements over the last several months and the verified webmaster for a website will now be able to get even more comprehensive data. Bing Webmaster Tools will likely show an increased number of backlinks being reported for a website, as well as provide a central location for both Yahoo and Bing data.
However, many SEO’ers, including myself, will miss the practicality of the old Site Explorer. Site Explorer was the only free, public database from a major search engine that gave you an easy way to look at the amounts of backlinks to a specific page. While privacy was a concern, making certain information public inspired other webmasters to improve their own inbound link building techniques as well as making it easy for the more novice webmaster to take a quick glance at a competitor’s website for inbound link ideas, thus inspiring innovation in the world of SEO.