Yahoo! Site Explorer: The Backlinks Google Doesn’t Show

yahoo-site-explorer-logoIts easy to forget about Yahoo! They are not the hot topic of discussion in the SEO world. They are also not offering the same type of tools that Google does to webmasters. And if you look at the fact that more than almost 70% of searches begin at Google (according to StatCounter), it’s easy to understand why a webmaster would ignore them. Nevertheless, Yahoo! does have a couple of tools that are worth looking into. We had covered it before, but it’s time to revisit Yahoo! Site Explorer again. Why do you ask? Well the product has matured a bit, and it has some things we think you may have overlooked.

First we will give you a brief tutorial on how to set-up Yahoo! Site Explorer. What you’ll need is a Yahoo! account, so go create one. When you have all the info you need. Head over to Yahoo Site Explorer and add your site, like below:

yahoo-site-explorer-1When you click add, it will be listed in you list of sites:


Now what you want to do is authenticate you site– which means you tell Yahoo! you own yourdomain. You do that by hitting the Explore button. You will then see on the right side, a side menu will appear like below:

yahoo-site-explorer-3When you click authentication you will be asked “How would you like to authenticate your site?”.  Your choices are two:  By uploading a verification file to your site or  by adding a META tag to your home page.


It is easier (in my view)  to load the file. Once you have added the file to your server, (or added the Meta-Tag), it’s time to authericate.  Just click the ” Ready to Authenticate” button.

Once authenticated, the next step is to add your “feeds”. For Yahoo! this could be your RSS feed – or the path to your sitemap. Yahoo! accepts the same format for sitemaps as Google, so no need to redo it if you already have it listed in your Google Webmaster tools.

So now that you’re all set with Yahoo! Site Explorer, it’s time to show you what you get. Once you are verified and Yahoo! has the time to gather the stats (which is not that long), you will see your menu options expand. Below is sample of what you will see:


We will focus on the three new items:

# Statistics:
Unlike Google Webmaster Tools, you get some very interesting stats that really open you eyes. Namely Yahoo tells you how many page Yahoo! has Crawled, but it also tells you how many pages they know about with related to a site. Which is very useful for a huge site. Imagine you have 10000 pages, you can see how good a job you are doing of getting crawled. Other info you get are: Number of known hosts on this site, number of hosts linking to the site, number of domains linking to your site. Number of hosts outlinked from your site and number of domains outlinked from your site. Wow! a plethora of info no where to be found in Google.

# Crawl Errors: Is very similar to Google Webmaster tools sitemap errors. The problem or weakness is the fact is you don’t know when the 404 was found. In this case, the issue might be resolved. In Google Webmaster Tools you do.

# Actions: This is also something unique in Yahoo! Site Explorer. You have the following actions available to you:
Specify Dynamic Urls:The feature provides the ability for site owners to alert Yahoo! of the dynamic parameters in URLs that they’d like Yahoo! to ignore, which they’ll then automatically rewrite accordingly. This feature is similar to the new concept of the Canonical Link Tag, which Yahoo! also supports.

Delete URLs: “For your authenticated sites, you can delete any URLs from the index. Simply locate the URL in Site Explorer and click on the ‘Delete URL’ button. The URL and all its subpaths will be deleted shortly thereafter. This is meant to work in conjunction with the robots.txt file while providing greater responsiveness.”

Another great feature for SEO, is one which you may have seen right out the shoot, but we wanted to focus on now. When you enter a site in Yahoo! Site Explorer you will get a rich amount of link information. Not only do you see which pages are loaded in Yahoo!, but you get a list of all the sites Yahoo! found linking to you. This works better than the “link” operator in the search engine, and also has the benefit of allowing you to export the info (at least 1000 first records) to a TSV file for further study. Why does this matter? Only Yahoo! allows you to see where you are getting links from….and here is the biggee, it also lets you know where you competitors get links from.  How? Just add their site in the “Explore URL” box…and voila:


All the data is there to be examined. As you can see, this is very powerful tool. It is also something Google does not provide (nor will they). Google’s concern of providing such info is to avoid webmasters spending hours trying to reverse engineer a sites Page Rank and more. Not that most people would (Ok some of us would), but it might give you some useful hints in where to spend you time with link building.  More on Google’s view can be seen in this Matt Cutts video  explaining the limits Google places on the “link” operator” in their search:

Happy Hunting!

***Yahoo Site Explorer is no longer as it was – moving mostly to Bing Webmaster Tools. In the meantime, consider Using Open Site Explorer

Adrian Speyer

About The Author: Adrian has over 12 years experience in Digital Marketing and Analytics. He currently works as a Marketing Manager at Vanilla Forums, a modern forum software platform that allows clients to connect and engage their communities and customers. He lives and works in Montreal.

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