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Looking around the net for a Yahoo Site Explorer Alternative made me stumble upon a lot of different backlink-checking tool. There were some good ones, there were some bad ones, and then there was SEO Spyglass – which I thought is the closest I can get to retrieve the glory that Yahoo Site Explorer basked me with. I was badly mistaken.
Plump backlink data
Blekko can be a good free replacement for Yahoo Site Explorer but if you’re tired with just the backlinks and want more data (you’re forced to transfer anyway coz Yahoo Site Explorer kicked you out when it closed) SEO Spyglass is where you should allow yourself to be kicked to. And for good reason!
SEO is all about Data
Having to go through all the backlinks you find in Yahoo Site Explorer just to check their PageRank, AlexaRank, backlinks, MozRank, and what have you – takes time. Especially since Yahoo Site Explorer shows you up to 1,000 backlinks. You don’t want to be hassling yourself to check each and every one of those links to get good prospects and ideas.
SEO Spyglass pukes out all these data to you and more – and the best part is a cool and neatly designed report which you can export for your clients! So let’s start with the basics…
SEO Spyglass Gets Data from the Best Resources
I’ve mentioned all the great Yahoo Site Explorer Alternatives on the previous post – and some of the alternatives I’ve mentioned are Blekko and Exalead. These two are search engines. They both also provide data about backlinks. SEO Spyglass uses the both of ‘em to source backlink data from and more.
SEO Spyglass basically sources from:
And other search engines based on other countries – which you can choose from
Why is this a good thing?
Well, having more sources where you can get backlink data from can make your more flexible – plus it enables the tool to compare notes. You can be sure that SEO Spyglass is getting the right backlink data in terms of quality and quantity.
One Stop Shop
Together with the list of backlinks, SEO Spyglass also retrieves all the other SEO metrics for you such as:
- Links Back
- Anchor Text
- Anchor URL
- Page PR
- External Links
- Total Links
- Link Value
- Domain IP
- Domain PR
- Dmoz Listing
- Yahoo! Directory Listing
- Alexa Rank
- Domain Age
Of course, to pull all these data up takes time – and that, for me is the only downside of SEO Spyglass. It takes quite a while, if you want all these data to appear, for it to complete your request of backlink data. BUT if in case you also check these out individually in Yahoo Site Explorer, then it indirectly saves you time.
Anyhow, the reason why you check out backlinks is usually to dig up more data such as these in order for you to gauge your competitor’s linkjuice – and perhaps garner the same linkjuice for your own.
SEO Spyglass lets you see as to which source of data it has pulled the backlink from, the page which it pertains to and what the title of the page is.
It also shows you if the page is linking back to you, where it points to and the PageRank of the page of the backlink.
It doesn’t stop there, SEO Spyglass goes on to show you the external links of that page, the total links of that page (including internal links), and the value of that link going to your website.
After all those things, it still pulls up some more data! It shows you the domain PR, DMOZ listing, Yahoo Directory listing, Alexa Rank and Domain age of the backlink. I didn’t let SEO Spyglass pull the tags anymore as I didn’t want to wait longer coz of it – so I have yet to check that out.
One of the best things about SEO Spyglass is its search function. Yahoo Site Explorer definitely doesn’t have this one. And it makes it much, much easier for you to look for a specific backlink that your competitor might have.
If you want to open a backlink, you only need to hover your mouse on top of the link and then a small ‘…’ will appear. If you click it, your default browser will open the link – enabling you to check it live.
The reporting capability of SEO Spyglass is one of the best reasons to buy this tool. It makes it easier for you as an SEO specialist to look at things in a simpler light – and it helps you translate all this ‘SEO lingo’ for your clients into a business perspective.
It tells you the status of your backlinks in a nutshell using an infograph. It can easily be understood by any person who calls himself an SEO Specialist.
SEO Spyglass goes out of its way to tell you the Alexa Rank and Google PR distribution of each of your links and shows it to you in a manner where you can easily understand. Most of my links come from pages with an alexa rank lower than 3,000,000 and has a PageRank of N/A. With this in mind, I have an idea that most of my links are from new pages which have mediocre traffic.
Domain Age matters. That will always be the case. New websites will find it hard to rank, while old ones with reputable domains will find it much easier. SEO Spyglass also tells you where most of your links come from. Since most of the websites from whom I get links from are hosted in the USA, obviously it shows a dominant percentage for that country.
SEO Spyglass also tells you the numbers from which TLD (domain extension) you get your links from, as well as if your link comes from an image and if it is a nofollow/dofollow link.
SEO Spyglass tells you the anchor URLs that your backlinks mostly have. As you can see, a lot of people really point to my homepage. I think SEO Spyglass also counts internal links because in this screenshot, you can see that it also included the wp-admin/post.php link.
SEO Spyglass also lets you check out the anchor texts of your backlinks
As well as the number of times that a keyword is found in your anchor text.
The fun part of SEO Spyglass are the points system. I have no direct idea about how they formulated the algorithm behind this link value system – but it clearly shows that it has a way where it calculates the value of a certain backlink.
It also displays the top 30 domains that link to me (again by its own way of arranging value). I would think that they derive the value mostly from how we SEO specialists derive link value too – such as domain age, number of outbound links, PageRank, anchor text, etc…
All in all
I like SEO Spyglass and I’m only getting the hang of it. If you ask me, I recommend it as a replacement for Yahoo Site Explorer. Anyhow it’s a one-time pay for using the tool – and it shows you TONS of data. There is no 100% accurate tool when it comes to SEO and backlink checking. Everything is under and behind the great mystery of Google’s algorithm – and SEO Spyglass only helps you get that extra step to lead up the ranks.
Updated SEO Spyglass Database (December, 2011)
Just recently, SEO Spyglass went through a major update! Guess what? They now have their own backlink database where they can pull your backlink data from. The sources have just increased – and the information you can get from SEO Spyglass has taken a big leap.
SEO Spyglass built its own database to help recover the data that we all lost due to the shutdown of Yahoo Site Explorer. If you try to check your backlinks through SEO Spyglass now, you will notice there is an option to choose SEO Spyglass backlink explorer as a source of your backlink data aside from Google, Yahoo and all the other sources available.
Why is this a good thing?
Data, data and more data! There are some backlinks that the sources before have missed – and I did notice those missed links. SEO Spyglass’ database tries to patch those missing holes so that the data it presents is even more solid.
Tips for Keeps: SEO SpyGlass is available in Free, Professional and Enterprise version. The Free version gets up to 1,100 backlinks and allows to use the internal backlink database. There’s also SEO SpyGlass Professional version worth $99. You can buy the whole Professional package – together with Link Assistant, Rank Tracker and Website Auditor too for just $249.