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.
Earlier this month, Yahoo announced that it will discontinue Yahoo Site Explorer, which comes as a blow to many professionals in the SEO industry.
Despite the steadily diminishing influence of Yahoo on search engine optimization, many SEO professionals still value the Site Explorer as acomprehensive and reliable tool for running link competitive analysis. For example, if you are beginning a link-building campaign for your website, you can go to Yahoo Site Explorer and enter the URLs for your competitors. Site Explorer will tell you what other websites are linking to those competitors — effectively giving you a list of relevant sites to request links from. You can also view pages of your own site to see what audiences are really interested in your content.
Yahoo Site Explorer is also an easy and useful tool to check if a site is involved in any unscrupulous link farming. A few months ago, entering the URL for JC Penny’s website clearly revealed such tactics, which lead to its penalization from Google.
Yahoo claims that, because it will be merging its organic search results with Bing, having two webmaster portals (Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Tools) is unnecessary. No official date has been set by Yahoo, but Site Explorer is expected be offline later this year.
Yahoo recommends users transition to Bing Webmaster Tools instead, but many SEO professionals are concerned that the same level of detailed link data will simply not be provided. Because Bing has not yet announced any new features to match the functionality of Yahoo Site Explorer, there could be a chance for competitors to arise and fill the gap. New site, Ahrefs looks to be the next best thing, if not better than, Yahoo Site Explorer. Still others may fall on more established pay-sites like SEOmoz or Ontolo. Only time will tell.
If I had a nickel for every time a client told me that they wanted to show up on page one in the natural section of the major search engines, I would be rich! The truth of the matter is that it can be done, although it takes patience and effort. Not unlike most, patience has never been one of my best attributes! It is all about instant gratification in today’s day and world…we all want to see immediate results. Unfortunately, Natural Search does not work that way. Anyone who guarantees first page positions in Google is not being honest. There is no magic formula or a quick fix to achieve first page, natural results. That being said, if you play by the rules to get your site in better shape from an organic perspective, you will see positive results. All you need is a little patience!
The following are a few suggestions that you can implement to improve your site organically in the major search engines: Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. Again, this will not immediately get you first page positions—that will take time—but it will help get you there sooner!