So Yahoo Site Explorer finally died. It took most of the year – but many SEOs had found stronger alternatives a while back. However – if you only just woke up to the fact that your search world just collapsed, there really are only a few realistic alternatives to choose from.

Majestic Site Explorer

I do want everyone to know that I am prejudiced here, but Majestic’s Site Explorer has the Biggest data source (way more than Yahoo with 3.5 trillion urls). The freshest data (updated more than once a day) and the fastest site (because the data is not scraped on the fly and is optimized on the web’s front end.

Unlike Yahoo – which only gave 1,000 backlinks even though they reported that they knew of more, Majestic gives you many thousands depending on your subscription level – or ALL of the backlinks in their advanced reports. Getting data on your own sites is free. You can also get headline link counts for all sites for free as well, but the real magic – all the links, with all the anchor text, in any order you really want, does require a subscription. There has been a huge investment into the Majestic SEO project and they do (in my biased opinion) have the world’s best site explorer.


Great at the moment to get some of the links. Blekko has a much smaller database – but they would argue they concentrate on quality over quality. I am not sure the truth isn’t a bit more about how to crawl and store the whole web, but with a huge investment recently from Yandex, they might overcome these issues in time. That said – with Yandex being a full search engine, there may be pressure on Blekko to stop releasing all the backlink data at some point.


The SEOMoz offering. A great tool for sure with extra bells and whistles with their Domain Authority and other added value metrics. They are using the Amazon Cloud which is not cheap and has had some outages recently – but they probably have the highest user base of all the alternatives in this list and many people swear by their data.


I think they are pretty good – but you best speak German for best results.

Most other alternatives use the data from these sites – or derivatives thereof.

Dixon Jones

An award-winning Search and Internet Marketer. Search Personality of the year Lifetime achievement award Outstanding technology individual of the year International public speaker for 20 years in the field of SEO and Internet Marketing, including: Pubcon; Search Engine Strategies (SMX); Brighton SEO; Ungagged; Search Leeds; State of Search; RIMC and many more.


Greg Jarboe · 20th November 2011 at 10:49 pm

Dixon, it’s sad that Yahoo! Site Explorer has kicked the bucket. But, thanks for the selection of alternatives — including Majestic’s Site Explorer. I plan to start using it.

Brent Rangen · 21st November 2011 at 2:08 pm

I love Majestic. It’s got much more depth than OSE & is far easier to use.. which really matters when you are talking numerous queries per day. Plus, the bugs/downtime over there have been driving me batty.

Dixon, you mention Majestic is updated daily, what’s the total percentage of the index that is effected by daily updates?

    admin · 21st November 2011 at 7:46 pm

    The “Fresh” index confuses people. We should call it “Current” index. It had 102 Billion URLS in it. Many of these are reseen hourly, but if a URI is not seen for 30 days consequetively, it drops out of “Fresh” but stays in “Historic”. The Fresh index updates up to three times a day on a good day and IMPORTANTLY includes old links that are still prominent enough to get crawled. Many SEOs erroneously use the historical index because the numbers are higher, but the REAL data is in the FRESH data IMHO.

    That’s our bad for not making the difference clear. But just use Fresh and we can’t be beat.

Search Ramble · 21st November 2011 at 3:42 pm

Also include one of the best explorer..
Sticking to the topic yeah.. it is indeed a sad news for SEO’s ;;)

Keith · 21st November 2011 at 7:33 pm

Used all three and yep definitely recommend. OSE is still the most user friendly IMO, great move hosting on independent domain as well.

Downtown eCommerce · 23rd November 2011 at 12:59 pm

We also miss the YSE, it was a seriously handy tool.

As you’ve highlighted though, there are some seriously fantastic alternatives especially Majestic’s Site Explorer, it’s a part of an in-house SEO tool we use and it rocks.

Mikhail Tuknov · 24th November 2011 at 1:55 pm

Great post Dixon! I bet many people are in panic, especially seo community after hearing about gone yahoo site explorer. Nothing is free in this world!

California Divorce Attorney Los Angeles · 25th November 2011 at 10:36 am

Nice, less newbies SEOs will be able to follow competitors back links:D

Christoph C. Cemper · 10th December 2011 at 8:31 am

Hi Dixon,

I think yo missed our Link Research Tools 🙂

You know it’s a full fledged link analysis tool we created
and is aimed at highly professional users.

However based on our users suggestions we created QBL this week – Quick Back Links which is a super-fast replacement for Yahoo Site Explorer

I would love to have you take a look at our new QBL as announced here

Best, Christoph

    admin · 12th December 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I so did miss it Chris! And what a fantastic tool it is as well! Sorry about that. Go and check out Link Research Tools guys. Well worth looking at.

gorih · 14th December 2011 at 9:11 pm

It’s pretty bad news, because we are so accustomed to this service, now have to get used to alternative

AKON · 29th December 2011 at 3:34 am

I never thought that Yahoo Site Explorer was all that great. It left out a lot of backlink data and was mainly popular because it was pretty much the only game in town. Its closing will present a gap in the market that will get filled by better solutions.

Réparer disque dur · 4th January 2012 at 7:26 am

I am using as well ahrefs….which is not bad. Domain-pop is quite ok too. I will give a try to Blekko OSE and systrix which I didn’t know before reading your post.

Site Explorer · 18th January 2012 at 6:55 am

Wow, I’d never heard of sistrix – too bad it is not in English as it severely limits the number of users that can enjoy it. Based on the little navigation I did, it actually looks like it could be good – seems to have a lot of awards supposedly.

Any idea if will ever offer an international version? One of their pages has a logo that looks a lot like OSE’s graphic – I wonder if they are partnered with them perhaps for a datafeed like several other tools are.

I have about 5-6 still on the to-review list such as these:

wpromote (seo-audit-tool), webseoanalytics, sitexploration, backlinktest, x4d, openlinkgraph.

So far there are about 11 tools reviewed here with more to come:

Majestic, OSE, and SpyGlass are quite good. -> great if you can use a software tool instead of needing an web based tool

Hopefully not too many missed there.

    admin · 20th January 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I think Sistrix have a UK language version now or on the horizon. I see that your Majestic is only of the data that you see without registering! Registration is free and if you are going to review it, I think you really should log in 🙂 – but I will email you through a trial and you can see what the paid version does.

Mike · 23rd February 2018 at 6:12 am

I am using Majestic’s Site Explorer , it is really very result oriented tool for SEO .

What’s the Most Significant Change in Search During 2011? | SEOptimise · 6th December 2011 at 2:17 pm

[…] Removal of Yahoo! Site Explorer (1 vote) – this is big news for SEOs, as many of us have relied on Yahoo! in the past to provide accurate link analysis. Now none of the search engines provide full link data, leaving us to decide which link analysis tool to use? […]

Backlink Center » What’s Been the Most Significant Change in Search During 2011? · 16th January 2012 at 3:29 pm

[…] Removal of Yahoo! Site Explorer (1 vote) – this is big news for SEOs, as many of us have relied on Yahoo! in the past to provide accurate link analysis. Now none of the search engines provide full link data, leaving us to decide which link analysis tool to use? […]

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