JUNE 8

Linkscape vs Majestic

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Interesting stuff, Dixon.

As you know, we work closely with Rand and the guys, so I’m claiming no degree of impartiality…! Having said that, I haven’t been involved with the building of linkscape and am in that sense just a user of it.

I have found one other critical area where the services differ (and I’d love to hear your thoughts) – this is in the indexing of the fresh web. I have found Linkscape to be better here in two specific dimensions:

1. having in their index more new links to existing websites and *any* links to relatively new websites – they are still not as good at this as I know they want to be, but my experience is that it’s getting better

2. *not* having in their index too much out of date information – last time I played with Majestic I found many links being reported that I couldn’t find when I visited the actual site – an experience I have much less rarely with linkscape.

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on these things as I think they are pretty important (and neither has completely nailed them). They also affect the index size question – how much of the index Majestic has been building since 2004 is still relevant?

I thought your article was useful – and I hope this doesn’t come across as me shilling for the ‘moz – just trying to add to the debate :)

said willcritchlow on June 8th, 2009 at 10:07 am

(Update) I managed to get some Word tags embedded in the post – so the first few hundred people may not have seen the functionality table. Sorry about that! Fixed (I hope) now.

Hi Will – thanks so much for commenting.

You are definitely right at the moment regarding fresk links prima facae, but I am not sure the problem is as described. When you pull a report on Linkscape, you get a static vesion of the report from what I see. So if you want a more updated version, you use another credit. I haven’t checked to see how different the second report is. By contrast, you are correct – Majestic is currently only updating its main index every couple of months, but during that time, you get “daily updates” in your control panel, which do not seem to be a part of the main index until the while thing updates. So once you have bought the data, you get the updates.

For example – since I ran the review last week, on the smaller site, Majestic has found 9 new links from 6 new domains – over about 6 days. That’s quite good, given that Linkscape only had 6 domains to start with.

On point 2, I must agree. An out of date index can create links that no longer exist. Infact I’ll go further… they keep dead URLs in the index. But… Majestic records that date of each crawl and also whether it existed on the recrawl. I said in the report that Majestic had a large learning curve and this is a big rerason… It is easy to remove “deleted” urls and force a new analysis. I would recommend doing this each time. That way you get a much fresher set of data.

said Dixon Jones on June 8th, 2009 at 10:30 am

Interesting stuff – thanks for the thoughts – I think I maybe need to play with advanced options a little more in Majestic!

said willcritchlow on June 8th, 2009 at 10:42 am

Majestic wipes the floor with Linkscape if you can deal with non-pretty presentation, for actual analysis and work Majestic just gives better results in my experience.

said Mark Edmondson on June 8th, 2009 at 11:05 am

Very nice comparison.

I use both (and you should, too ;)) For the reasons mentioned. I specialize in link building and for this MajesticSEO gives me more options. I do find however that when filtered the raw csv link data leaves about 10 % (on average) good link opportunities (to be investigated). The rest is crap.

said Sasa on June 8th, 2009 at 11:13 am

I agree Sasa – the raw data really has a load of poor stuff. I really should have made more of a point of saying that Linkscape makes a much better attempt at emulating a “page rank” equivalent… They at least attempt to define which urls pass juice and how much – whereas Majestic’s ACRank needs soem work, so again you need to know what to do to filter out bad data.

said Dixon Jones on June 8th, 2009 at 11:20 am

I’ve put this post on Sphinn at http://sphinn.com/story/116945

said Dixon Jones on June 8th, 2009 at 11:22 am

First of all big thanks to Dixon Jones for writing this review! :)

I’d like to just address a couple of important points:

1) we keep actual crawl date on found backlinks when they were FIRST found – this is important because age of backlinks plays substantial (in our view) role in rankings: it does have undesired effect of giving impression that some data is out of date though. Also these dates allow us to analyse link velocity – http://www.majesticseo.com/comparedomainbacklinkhistory.php

2) There are backlinks that no longer work due to 404s etc, it’s a natural process of “page decay” on the web, and usually it happens to the least important AND oldest pages. When we recrawl pages (we usually focus on most valuable from our point of view) and find that backlinks were removed we mark those as “deleted” rather than removing them completely, and it’s possible to filter those out in actual analysis. Why do we not remove them completely? The reason is that search engines keep this information and (in our view) still use it for ranking – this is particularly important for paid links that can appear on homepages of high PR sites and then disappear: if index does not keep track of them, then you won’t have this information.

@Sasa: top 10% of anything often gives 90% of value :)

The important part for us is to avoid pre-judging exact use cases for the data and eliminating potentially useful approaches that we have not even thought of. For example picking top 10% backlinks for link building to get better ranking is one use case, but if you look for nofollowed backlinks that can generate traffic but useless (allegedly) for ranking, then you’ll end up with maybe OTHER 10% of data.

We view our role in providing FLEXIBILITY to work with the data and slice and dice it the way our customers deem appropriate – this is when having large number of backlinks/referring domais is essential because if you don’t have many to start with then you won’t have any left after some serious dicing.

Best regards

Alex Chudnovsky
Majestic-SEO

said Majestic-SEO on June 8th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

http://swanh.org was since 1998 http://www.swanh.org so check backlinks and domains for both hostnames. Linkscape find 291 links and 122 domains for hostname http://www.swanh.org.

When I check all free sources (search engines only) to find backlinks and crawl them to check if links still exist and filter all urls who are similar then I got 30 unique links for hostname swanh.org and 389 unique links for hostname http://www.swanh.org from 119 unique domains.

said Seofreak on June 9th, 2009 at 5:53 am

Thanks for the review, Dixon.

I’m going to check out these services. I’ve been relying on SEO Spyglass for link analysis and it works just fine for me. Have you tried this tool? I’d love to hear what you think of it.

said SEO guy on June 9th, 2009 at 7:58 am

Interesting article, Dixon, thanks.

We use the Majestic12 data a lot. in my view linkscape just isn’t a competitor (yet). True, M12′s interface takes some getting used to, and you need to think hard about what you are doing with the data and why, but the high value of comprehensive data more than makes up for any lack of prettiness. M12 allows the user of the data to make decisions about what is important and what is not, so gives us a greater degree of confidence that we are seeing a true picture.
(I have also found Alex very responsive to interface suggestions, improved explanations etc.)

To make the most of M12′s data you do need to know your way around SQL or some other way of manipulating large CSV files, but there is a lot of gold in that ore…

said Liam McGee on June 9th, 2009 at 10:56 am

I use linkscape and love the moz extras you get as a Pro member. I like the fact that you only get 3000 backlinks shown, as they are the best 3000. Who can can pick through a site’s 50,000+ backlinks…whats the point. Most would be poor quality links from a much smaller amount of domains.

said Gareth James on June 9th, 2009 at 2:37 pm

…suprised Rand hasn’t jumped in here already. Maybe his monitoring systems are down at the moment! :)

said Gareth James on June 9th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Thanks for doing this Dixon – been wondering about Majestic vs Linkscape and you definitely clarified the pros and cons. You definitely can get a bigger data dump from Linkscape but this costs considerably more – ie the “enterprise” package. But given your analysis, due to the relative age of each service, Majestic appears to still output more data, even if a portion is old / deleted.

said Lorna Li on June 9th, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Sorry for the delay in respondin. Seofreak – thanks for putting that up. If my numbers are wrong then I bow to your better knowledge of Linkscape.

I’m afraid I haven’t used Spyglass, but I THINK that uses Yahoo’s API doesn’t it? That’s extremely useful backlink data if they do. Indeed, we use the Yahoo API for a few tools we built, but we couldn’t get backlink anchor text without scraping and so we thought we had better start using Linkscape and Majestic for more indepth investigations.

I also agree that 3,000 backlinks – if they are the best – are more than enough for most of us to fall over with work.

said Dixon Jones on June 9th, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Dixon,
Very nice review. We use Linkscape (along with some other tools) everyday, but will have to give Majestic another look. Sort of like drinking of the end of a fire hose though.

said Arnie on June 10th, 2009 at 12:54 am

Thanks to everyone for comments!

@Arnie: our service allows to verify your own domains to get free data, so it’s easy and risk free to check us out.

said Majestic-SEO on June 10th, 2009 at 11:36 am

I run a big SEO team for an online gambling company and I have been using Majestic for about 4 months. I think it rocks and they guy who runs the business is really easy to work with (Alex Chudnovsky) – we couldn’t pay by credit card (big company stuff) and so Alex company worked out an invoice only arrangement on a monthly basis with (reasonable use) unlimited usage. So were all set and I love it!

said nickgarner on June 27th, 2009 at 9:18 pm

I think either one is going to do the job. Both Linkscape and Majestic are good at what they do. Unfortunately, they do a very specific (sometimes too narrow) function. I started using SEOENG and although it doesn’t seem to have the amount of data that Linkscape and Majestic has, it helps me a lot more with my business of optimizing clients’ websites. For example, SEOENG has a link scorecard for every link on the Internet. ON the scorecard, it has hundreds of scoring factors (mind you this is for each link).

Anyone who is interested in link architecture: its a tossup between the 3 (Linkscape, Majestic, SEOENG)
Anyone who is interested in everything else: SEOENG

my 2 cents…

said AWall on August 12th, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Time to add a Disclosure…

Well – it’s two month since I wrote this and last week I announced that I’m joining forces with Majestic in a marketing partership. I wrote this article well before the deal.

said Dixon Jones on August 12th, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Linkscape is considerably more intuitive at the present time, but there is much more depth of data at Majestic and for professionals, the learning curve will be worth the effort. By contrast, though, SEOMoz [Linkscape] has a huge variety of other tools available within its membership fee which you will still need for Internet Marketing even if you do go for Majestic.

said grossesse on August 28th, 2009 at 9:31 am

Great write up! I have played around with both and so far Majestic appears to be a better fit for me. But I would love to see the Majestic more user friendly. I am sure you and someone like Rae could give them a ton of recommendations to make the site more usable.

said Dave Dugdale on November 15th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Just got back from PubCon in Vegas. Didn’t see seomoz or majestic, but SEOENG was there. Haven’t spent much time using it, but everyone was talking about it in the sessions. Of course most of the people were geeks, not the c-level people, but among the techies SEOENG was a hit!

said seobenz on November 16th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

SEOBenz – were you at the same conference that we were all at? I thought Majestic got a pretty decent showing, and Linkscape/ SEOMoz even had a party! I know because I had fun beating Matt Cutts in a game of cards. I know that Majestic was mentioned positively in at least seven sessions. I was on two of them.

I just tried to take SEOENG for a quick test drive. But unfortunatey got: http://www.seoeng.com/engine-maintenance.htm – Looks to be focussed on tools and analysis rather than data though – so quite different. Did you know where SEOENG gets its link data? Yahoo/BOSS?

[Added]It is working again now and looks pretty neat. It’s much more an SEO Toolset than a link database – but there seems to be a lot of stuff there.

said Dixon Jones on November 21st, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Great Review thanks heaps. Was about to signup for SEOmoz but will try some credits on Majestic first now.

Thanks!

said Tim on December 14th, 2009 at 11:29 am

Right now I trust majestic’s data more than linkscape (or open site explorer) because it seems to match up closer with the real numbers.

Also linkscape seems to favor big websites, sometimes linkscape can’t find any backlinks or very few backlinks for a domain where majestic seems to have an easier time.

Right now it’s more about the tool that’s going to provide me the most information.

But linkscape is probably going to be the future of backlink analysis.

said SEO Tool on May 24th, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I agree, I tend to trust majestic’s data over linkscape. I’ve experienced user problems with linkscape, not picking up backlinks that yahoo site explorer can easily do so…

said melanotan on May 26th, 2010 at 9:33 am

Thanks for this decent comparison, I agree with your conslusion and most comments here: Once you get used to it, Majestic is one step ahead.

said Marty on June 19th, 2010 at 12:08 am

Very interresting but unfortunately they are not a freeware program

said Sortie Originale à Paris on September 17th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Hello again, Thanks for the review, Dixon. We checked your tools and agree with you.

greeting from germany

said Billig sprit on April 3rd, 2011 at 9:11 am

I have been using Majestic for a short time and have appreciated it’s capabilities. Especially with YSE going down soon. I don’t see the advantage in a service that returns LESS data. ?

said Round Rock Electric on August 20th, 2011 at 6:47 am

I love the SEOmoz toolset, including Opensite Explorer, but I do find the index takes a fair while to be considered up to date

said Gloyns on September 20th, 2011 at 1:35 am

I currently use Majestic SEO (free version) and SEOMoz Linkscape (paid version) . Just watched http://blog.majesticseo.com/general/what-majesticseo-gives-you-for-free/ which is very informative and well worth the 30 minutes to watch.

Now that Yahoo! site explorer is not officially online, this discussion will no doubt heat up on how to most cost effectively get competitor link data. Great post with excellent comments. Any chance you will update it as no doubt a lot has changed at Majestic SEO and SEOMoz since 2009?

said Rick Noel on November 30th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Since I wrote this, I became marketing director of MajesticSEO – so if I updated this I would need to work that through ethically.

said admin on December 1st, 2011 at 7:06 pm

This is old post but still relevant… Majestic still my best choice right now since YSE was dead… But, I like OSE appearance ;)

said Yokylie on July 11th, 2012 at 5:27 pm
said Trackbacks on October 26th, 2014 at 8:28 am

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