Yahoo link: operator (and URL analysis in Yahoo! SiteExplorer) is the best method currently at our disposal to conduct backlink analysis and to evaluate either your own or your competitors’ link building tactics. Yet the tool is not perfect. Some essential tool drawbacks (many of them covered already at SEOmoz) we come across include:
- Yahoo! link: search results are impossible to sort and filter (e.g. by linking domain);
- Yahoo! link: search results contain multiple same-domain results from sitewide backlinks (which makes it too hard to get real idea of the explored page backlink power);
- Yahoo! link: search results include “nofollowed” backlinks we would rather not pay attention to;
- Yahoo! link: search results tell us nothing as to the power of the backlink (besides, the fact that Yahoo! has indexed a backlink doesn’t mean Google counts it too).
While many of web-based backlink checkers run under Yahoo! API seem to overcome part of these weaknesses, I usually don’t recommend using them instead of regular link: analysis in Yahoo! itself: Yahoo! (and SiteExplorer) results are very often different from Yahoo! API results. Therefore I advise to use both web-based tools and link: operator search not to miss any important data.
Solutions to drawback #1:
- With Yahoo! SiteExplorer you can export results to TSV file and then enjoy all sorting ad filtering options of Microsoft Excel:
- Yahoo! allows for domain restricting search that can help you filter the results by a top level domain – run several searches: [linkdomain:site.com site:.com] + [linkdomain:site.com site:edu] + [linkdomain:site.com site:org], etc
+ Tools to overcome the weakness: Domain Backlinks Checker (sorts the results based on the first- and second-level domains) and LinkHounds Yahoo Backlink Information (sorts results based on the IP address).
Solutions to drawback #2:
- Yahoo! SiteExplorer: the TSV file can then be run through Yahoo Site Explorer File Parser to see stats per backlinking domain:
- Yahoo! allows for “-” (=”exclude”) boolean operator to get rid of repeating domain results. Sample search: [linkdomain:site.com -site:site.com -site:site1.com, etc].
Solutions to drawback #3:
Joost’s SEO Link Analysis FireFox extension will strike through all listings applying nofollow attribute to link back to the specified page/ domain (only for Yahoo SiteExplorer):
+ Link Diagnosis shows “nofollow” link status and allows to sort by link type (missing / good / nofollow).
Solutions to drawback #4:
These FireFox extensions will help you get some idea of the linking page power by showing you each listing PR, backlinks, site indexed pages, domain age, etc. Of course, even with all these data you still can’t be sure Google “likes” this very backlink too but at least you have some grounds to make educated guesses.