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.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Google Plus

Print This Post Print This Post
  • Cynthia
    May 15th, 2009 at 14:40 | #1

    Great post! I am about to do that now!

  • When you use the Yahoo Site Explorer does it really show all the backlinks (or inbound links) to your site? It seems that when I search for my site it is missing a lot of them…

    • Mark8t Staff
      Oct 7th, 2009 at 21:42 | #3

      Yahoo! shows what they have recorded. Are all links listed? Probably not. Nevertheless, while it might not be perfect, its better than Google Webmaster for backlink checking because you can export the links to excel.

  • Dec 30th, 2009 at 05:16 | #4

    Thanks. I’ll give it a go right now

  • Aaron T
    Dec 8th, 2010 at 02:10 | #5

    Does this only show the backlinks for your site or can you look up all sites?

    • Mark8t Staff
      Dec 8th, 2010 at 08:52 | #6

      I am not sure how accurate the tool is as the merger with Bing is still in process. I recommend using SEOMOZ tools in the meantime.

  • Jan 21st, 2011 at 04:48 | #7

    It is only natural that if your page is the least bit good that someone somewhere will want to share it with others. The problem with the natural way, however, is that there is no way to rely on it. People may share it and then they may not. These backlinks are incredibly valuable, but you can’t just go around demanding that people pass it on. Certainly you could ask them to, but ultimately they will do what they will do. So the best way to think about these types of backlinks is that they are wonderful to have but nothing to depend on.
    You can also get backlinks by submitting your page to online directories. Search engines love these places because they are built and created by people, not automated programs. That means if your web address is in one of these directories it’s because someone manually put it there. That makes the search engines believe it is more valuable. The problem with directories, however, is that it can take as long as two months or longer before your site will start showing up. Great for the long term, not so great for the here and now.

  • Dave
    Mar 7th, 2011 at 09:35 | #8

    I am not so sure about the usefullness of the Yahoo siteexplorer. In my view google-webmaster is far superior. And then all these backlings Yahoo is showing you. They are probably not important if Google will neglect them.

    • Mark8t Staff
      Mar 7th, 2011 at 18:36 | #9

      The point is Yahoo gives you access to more backlinks then Google, but this was before the Google upgraded their webmaster tools.

  • Rob Smeed
    Sep 1st, 2011 at 03:06 | #10

    Google still doesn’t show you all the links you have to your site. They show you some, like a teaser, but aren’t completely open.

    However, I understand why. If it was 100% transparent then it would be easier for people to understand the Google algorithm, and easier to beat the system.

Comments are closed.