Today the lights went out on Yahoo Site Explorer and the free alternative to analyze and evaluate back-links. This may come as bad news to a lot of DIYers but the quality of this method of evaluating the SEO clout of a website leaves a lot to be desired as Google continues to scale down the influence of links to make room for other ranking signals.
This removal of the Yahoo link checking tool and a host of freebie tools and sites that depended on it means that white hat SEO and building of a site by contextual material that isn’t lame becomes even more the standard of website promotion and ranking.
There are still tools available to evaluate links that are of good quality but the valuable data you should be extracting from the links to a website is not given out free. Subscriptions pay for the crawlers that have to perform the job of indexing billions of pagea and links. It’s no small, or cheap, task.
Everyone in SEO knows that a link from a quality, high authority site means exponentially more than thousands from link farms and forum profiles, etc., yet the temptation to indulge in link quantity remains for the SEO neophyte.
I recently evaluated top competitors in a real estate market where the #5 performer had 10 times the raw count of links that the #1 website had. Quality of all the ranking factors- best quality links included, determine where a website ranks in Google.
In the above graphic, I used three top competitors and two benchmark sites to analyze competition. Note that the leftmost three columns reflect top middle and lower positions of competitors for a keyword on page one of Google. The winning combination on the lefmost (#1 spot) column were on-page quality, link quality and a better social media score than competitors who had none.