Find out how many links you have with Yahoo! Site Explorer … before it’s shut down

Links are the backbone of off-page optimization … maybe even optimization as a whole. They’re the single most important signal search engines look to when ranking your blog, so it’s crucial you optimize for the most links possible. One way to do that is to find out where you already have links, then encourage the sources to continue linking to various areas of your blog … remember, every page is treated as an independent entity with search engines.

Yahoo! Site Explorer has long been a staple service for professionals in the optimization niche. The service enables people to find out how many links they have pointing to their site, which is something just about every web publisher wants to know.

Questions like “who is linking to me” and “which sites does my blog influence” can become an important piece of information when honing the optimization of your website, because it enables you to target those specific websites and strive for more.

4 Steps to executing link research

Here are four quick steps to executing your own link research.

  1. Visit the Yahoo! Site Explorer
  2. Enter the url you’d like to research
  3. Filter the search from “pages” to “inlinks”
  4. Filter the search from “all pages” to “except from this domain”

Filter the search from “pages” to “inlinks”

Filter the search from “all pages” to “except form this domain”

Part of the reason this tool is so powerful is because this can be done for both your site and your competitors (competitive link research), however you need to use it sooner than later, as Bing (parent company of Yahoo! Search) recently announced they’ll be shutting down Yahoo! Site Explorer.

I’m pretty sure this is part of a strategy to position Bing’s Webmaster Tools service in front of publishers as an alternative to Google’s Webmaster Tools.

In any case, you should get on it and research your links!



About TimoK

Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to get more productive in your own life, grab 222 of his best Tips for Becoming a Productivity Superstar.


  1. I didn’t know that they were shutting it down. But do you think that anyone being able to see anyone else’s links is a good idea?

    • It’s being consumed by the Bing webmaster tools, so the data will still exist, but not all of it from what I hear.

      It’s been around for quite a while. The nice thing about being able to conduct competitive link research is that it enables newer bloggers to discover what they need to do to rank alongside their competitors essentially. If you’re writing about horses, and your competitor has 300 links from horse bloggers, then your goal is to attract links from those 300 bloggers as well … and then some, of course.

      Seeing this data isn’t a privacy issue, as it’s all public anyway. Just watch out for fellow competitors interested in outranking your blog … they know where to look.

      However, this all said, merely replicated the same links isn’t enough to do the trick.

  2. I tried this, it seems like the links are mostly from comments I made. Is that normal?

    • Hey David — absolutely.

      Your next step is to inspire people to link to you directly from their content — these types are “follow” links, where most comments links are “no follow” links.

      The difference there is that search engine crawlers follow one and not the other. The more “follow” links you have the better.

  3. Yahoo! Site Explorer is shutting down ??? This is very very very sad … This website was a real help for all the webmasters in my opinion, at least, it helped me a lot of times, it was very useful.. Well, I guess all good things must come to an end, that’s the way it is. Goodbye Yahoo! Site Explorer…

  4. I read a post by Yahoo themselves a while back that said they were shutting down the api in September 2011. Here it is November 2011 and it still works. It kind of makes me wonder if they meant shutting down the Yahoo Site Explorer api for external 3rd party sites that query it, or if they are just behind schedule.

    Even though it is a bit limited to how many they show you it is one of my preferred backlink checker tools.

  5. Yes, this is a good piece of information. Many people know this but sometime, they don’t make use of it. This idea can help you ti figure out who is linking to you and where they come from.

  6. Hi Christopher… I always love to visit your blogs. You never fail to amazed me with your posts.. They are always useful and very informative. Thank you for sharing!

  7. I heard this news that Yahoo explorer is shutting down, But if it’s available with Bing Webmaster then it’s ok otherwise it would be great loss. Yahoo explorer is a nice and easy way to check all your incoming links.

  8. I have been using Yahoo Site Explorer for over a year nowI check my links at least once a week.They have grown to many thousands over that time.I will miss Site Explorer when it goes. What can I use in its place?

    • You’ll be able to see your inbound links through Blekko (a new engine on the rise) by searching for your website name / seo (“ / seo”), as well as Bing’s webmaster tools I believe … anyone want to fact check that?

  9. That is a great resource that, shockingly, I only discovered thanks to this post. Do you know why they are shutting the service down?

  10. It is a pity that they are shutting down the service which has been rather actual and gave such great results. I can say that even Google Analitycs is worse to some extent.

  11. Definitely a great tool – although I’m guessing the new Bing tools will be essentially the same thing. The cool thing about Yahoo is it is so easy to use. Hope they keep that part!

  12. Hi Christopher,

    Thanks for the heads up. YahooSiteExplorer is one tool that I us almost daily. I had no idea its going to be gone for good. Is a shame really, so many bloggers rely on it for check link links and especially spying on competitors backlinks.

  13. Ronald Amado says:

    Too bad, they’re shutting it down. I always use yahoo site explorer and backlinkwatch since they’re easy to use, I hope after they merge in Bing’s Webmaster Tools it’s still free to use.

  14. I actually just found out about Yahoo’s Webmaster Tool the other day and was amazed to see just who was linking to me. I recently moved my site to a .com, and it’s helped me to see who’s still linking to my old address, so I can contact them and have them change the URL. I hate to hear that it’s shutting down.

  15. Yahoo Site Explorer will be shut down? That was bad news! It’s the only tool where I always check my backlinks which don’t appear on Google.

  16. Agent Mango says:

    Ever since Google webmaster tools is showing more links, I stopped using Yahoo site explorer for my blog. But I do use it to spy on my competitor’s backlinks.

  17. From what I know, YSE doesn’t show inside links, only links to the homepage. If you’re looking for paid tools, I suggest Open Site Explorer from SEOmoz and Majestic SEO.

  18. 90% of SEO programs work with yahoo site explorer :) But I think the place wont be free for long :)

  19. They are shutting down YSE but opening their BING webmaster tools. Thanks for the tip!

  20. I like Yahoo also.Why they shut down.rumor heard that Microsoft and Google try to but Yahoo.

  21. it really funny they shut down geocities now they shut down yahoo site explorer i am confused are they not able to make money out of it since it is one of the best seo tool i have encountered till now. I think i should start looking for a better alternative of this site.

  22. However yahoo site explorer is helpful to analyze the competitor links but i think it can’t be achieved through Bing Webmaster tool.

  23. Yep!! this is one of the valuable post to know about how many links you have with yahoo site explorer. Thanks a lot for sharing your post on here :)

  24. Shutting down huh? That’s a shame!

    The Yahoo tool is so much easier to see what’s going on than with the Google Webmaster tools… Either way – knowing where your links are coming from is highly useful stuff…

    Thanks for the info Christopher!

  25. Bign webmaster tools is horrible. Data is sparse and seems to take ages to update. All other alternatives seem to be paid.

  26. Im new to SEO and I just recently got introduced to Yahoo site explorer. Im disappointed that its going away. A few other commenters mentioned some other services do you have any thoughts that may be good to use? Thanks again for info.

  27. Does anybody know how to determine the number of inlinks using the new Bing tools?

  28. Can you please tell me a free alternative?I have used yahoo site explorer for around one year and it’s certainly the best tool to monitor links.And i don’t want to use Bing because I’ve some bad experiences with it.

  29. I used yahoo site explorer on a daily basis and found it fantastic. Bing’s equivalent is a nightmare as you have to sign in and you can’t check out your competition’s inlinks. Hopefully a decent alternative will come along.

  30. I have just come across and which both seem quite good alternatives to yahoo’s now defunct offering.

  31. The closing of Yahoo explorer will surely hit all bloggers, it’s been a pretty useful tool for us and now it will be gone. I’m kind of blaming Bing for this whole thing, but not much we can do now. I do hope to find a nice alternative to this, might not be the easiest thing to do though.

    • There’s always Market Samurai … but it’s expensive. I’ve been using the light, web-based solution called MajesticSEO … it’s a quick look at how many backlinks a page has, so it’s limited knowledge, but it’s something.

  32. Its a very sad news for bloggers like me. I use this tool almost daily to track the competitors link building strategy. Google’s webmaster tool can only show backlinks of your own site but it don’t inform anything about your competitors. Shutting down of yahoo site explorer will be beneficial for bigger and well established blogger because now their link building strategy will be hidden from their competitors.

  33. Good analysis. But I think the Explorer Yahoo has been discontinued. Went to Bing.

    • Thanks Emprego!

      This post was published back on November 4th, before Bing shut down Yahoo Site Explorer … wanted to throw out a warning for other publishers interested in executing competitive link research.

  34. compared to yahoo,google webmaster tool shows more links so its a best tool to check…

    • The nice thing about Yahoo Site Explorer was the capability to research links pointing to other websites … not your own. Competitive link research is more difficult now, unless you have premium software or use MajesticSEO.

  35. I don’t understand why they had to shut down Yahoo Site Explorer. I’d been using it to check my backlinks because its newbie friendly and easy to use. Now, i have to look for a site to check my backlinks. Can you please suggest a reliable site to use?

    • The reason it was shut down is because Bing acquired Yahoo! Search … Explorer was one of the byproducts there.

      Blekko is good … type the webpage you want to research followed by /seo /seo /seo

  36. yahoo site explorer it got shut down now the new tool available to check backlinks is

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