The History of Yahoo Site Explorer
and a List of Replacements now that it’s gone
Yahoo Site Explorer no longer exists. It’s was merged into Bing Webmaster Tools on November 21, 2011. In an effort to document the evolution of search technology, we’re writing a series on the history of the Internet and today’s topic is the demise of Yahoo Site Explorer, its impact on the web, and finally we’ll list out some viable replacements to get basically the same data.
In its glory days, Yahoo’s search engine commanded a significant portion of the overall search traffic in the US. However, that trend was already in a steep decline in 2011 and now Google dominates 74.54% of the overall search usage as of 2018. The steady march towards Google dominance was one of the driving factors behind Yahoo’s decision to merge their Site Explorer tool with Microsoft’s Bing Webmaster Tools back in 2011. But did the Internet community really lose anything? Google’s Search Console is so powerful in comparison, with one exception we’ll discuss below.
Competitor Data Gone
We did lose a lot! Yahoo Site Explorer was unique in the sense that it allowed SEO’s to view competitor backlinks within a 100% free tool. If you know anything about link-building, you understand just how useful that feature was. Today’s search optimizers have to rely on paid subscriptions to tools like AHREFS and Majestic to get that data now. I’ll give you a few more options in my list of replacements below but unfortunately, the most complete sources of backlink data are all paid subscriptions now.
Most of the other features available were rolled into the Bing tools, but this was the killer app Internet Marketers need to give their clients an edge over the competition. Even in 2018 backlinks are a top ranking factor for all major search engines, including Google. Comprehensive competitor backlink data from a free tool with API functionality would have marketing agencies jumping for joy if it were available today. That’s what the Internet lost on that fateful day in 2011.
Alternatives to Yahoo Site Explorer
Unfortunately, all the backlink research tools I am about to mention are either paid subscriptions or they don’t really give you a complete picture of a site’s inbound links. But it’s not all bad news! Both Webmaster Tools and Search Console are completely free and light-years ahead of the data available back in 2011. Here’s the tools you have at your disposal today that do basically the same thing:
Modern Webmaster Tools
Paid Alternatives and Link Research Options
- Open Site Explorer
- AHREFS – Most comprehensive backlink data in my opinion!
Hopefully you found this article on the demise of Yahoo Site Explorer informative and I trust that the resources I shared will point you in the right direction on getting similar functionality today. If your goal is to do a deep analysis of a site’s backlink profile, I’d recommend compiling data from two or more of the sources I listed above.
Once you’ve compiled data from multiple sources into spreadsheets, you can combine them and remove duplicates. No one tool is perfect, and you’ll likely find that most of them miss a few links that others will pick up. If you do that, you’ll be left with a more comprehensive list of backlinks pointing to the site you are researching. I hope that helps! Feel free to check out other articles from our blog and stay up to date on search engine trends.