Introducing Open Site Explorer

by Gary on May 1, 2010 · 24 comments

in Back Links,Link Strategies,SEO,SEO Tools

I attended SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer (OSE) webinar last Thursday, January 28, and learned some things on how to make the most of the new link analysis tool.

If you’ve been using Linkscape as one of your search engine optimisation tools you’re probably pretty happy with the functionalities that the service brings. At first glance it might seem that another link analysis tool would just be redundant and, for the most part, that is actually true. However there are some things that Open Site Explorer can give that Linkscape doesn’t really do and vice versa. In the future though Rand said that OSE and Linkscape will probably become integrated with one becoming the premium version.

One of the major difference is the number of links available per report: shows up to 10,000 links in OSE and 3,000 links in Linkscape. Note though that unless you are a SEOmoz Pro member you will only be shown details of 5 links in OSE and none in Linkscape. However, you do see the other important metrics such as overall page authority, domain authority, number of linking root domains, and total number of links including those that are “no followed”. These data are things you need to know where you stand in your link building effort, but it’s really the other data that gives you more actionable items.

According to Rand some of the things you can do with the data given by OSE include finding the following:

  • 302 pages – What you can do is turn them into 301s
  • 404 pages – You have to options for these pages: either put content in those pages or redirect them.
  • Inbound links with low quality anchor text – Contact the owner of the linking page and ask them to change the anchor text to something you prefer.
  • Links to competitors’ error pages – Don’t forget to analyze your competitors’ links. Do the same thing as #3 but make sure you explain to the person you are contacting to link to YOUR page, explain how linking to an error page can hurt them, and give your preferred anchor text. This isn’t really unethical since the link was pointing to an empty error page anyway.
  • Links to old/poor pages – Redirect these links to newer pages that offer fresh and/or more relevant content.

One other thing that Rand suggested that stood out for me was in answer to a question by one of the participants. (Sorry I wasn’t able to take note of the person’s name. If you attended the same webinar and know, do let me know.) The question was: How can we use OSE to determine what to charge our clients?

Rand suggested that you simply check out the domain and page authority of your client’s page as well as the number of links. Then you check out your client’s competitors’ pages and compare the data, after which you can do a guestimate of how much effort you need to put into link building as well as how long it will take to creep up on the competitors in search rankings.

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Rob February 5, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Thanks, Im going to download and give this a go now.

Jayson February 6, 2010 at 5:43 am

I barely gave site explorer a shot, but I was still impressed with its features. I’ll have to sit down and give it a good run through – it seemed like a great tool.

I like that its new, a lot of the other tools that I’ve traditionally used, seem to be getting less effective/accurate.

Jane February 9, 2010 at 5:23 am

I like the results that Open Site Explorer provided me with my link analysis. OSE categorizes links to img, no follow, followed and redirects that made analysis easy.

Planszowe Gry February 17, 2010 at 6:01 pm

I was using Link Scape and I tried Open Site Explorer. This is quite good tool, however I must use it more to tell how good it is. The best idea is to use both LS and OSE because as you mentioned some features are different in this apps.

Goran February 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

SEOmoz has some seriously good tools available to PRO members, and are really worth checking out if there are new toys in the toolbox. Being able to check up to 10,000 links as opposed to the more conventional 1,000 links that most tools can check, adds a whole new dimension to competitive links research. Definitely worth checking out.

Suzane March 15, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Open Site Explorer is a full-featured link data analysis tool that also happens to be extremely easy to use in the bargain. The second tab shows you root domains that contain links to your target domain. This allows you to get a quick picture of the types of sites that are linking to yours. Next, you’ll find pie charts that break down links between internal and external sources and those that are frequently followed versus those that aren’t. Overall Open Site Explorer is a great tool for backlink analysis, and we’re only looking forward to improvements in the future. Existing SEOmoz Pro members will be pleasantly surprised with the addition of the new tool, and people considering upgrading to pro, well this may just tip the scale.

brybger March 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm

wow. rather interesting, but I don’t think I’ll use Open Site Explorer instead of Linkscape

Gareth March 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm

I have never really paid much attention to Open Site Explorer, but sure looks worth a try. Cheers for the Information!

Beeliar April 3, 2010 at 5:08 am

Just tried out both those site and the results are interesting.
I really like the compare feature of opensiteexplorer.
Another site I use is websitegrader.

Mikkey April 5, 2010 at 5:06 am

Truly, its one of the useful tool a webmaster can look for. Over that its totally free..

Lisa Simms April 5, 2010 at 5:34 am

I found this site to be interesting. One of the most important factor is that webmasters can import the date in csv format and take the actions accordingly.

Nicola Connolly April 28, 2010 at 8:55 am

Very interesting. Will be taking a close look at OSE.

After a quick glance… it’s great that it enables the checking of up to 10,000 links. Also good that it shows no follow/follow as well as the type of link (img/text).

Amin April 30, 2010 at 9:50 am

Just landed on this post via Google seek. I love it. This situation switch my perception and I am acquiring the RSS feeds.


Goran May 6, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I also suggest you guys go take a look at SEOmoz’s blog for some really cutting edge SEO stuff. There are some very knowledgeable people discussing cutting edge SEO trick and techniques, so it is well worth visiting. Rand Fishkin and his crew are SEO legends!

Charlotte Roofing May 29, 2010 at 6:06 am

These data are things you need to know where you stand in your link building effort, but it’s really the other data that gives you more actionable items.

Mike Roberts June 8, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Generally, one in this line of work should always seek out for new tools or just give them a glance. You never know what are you going to find. And some simple solutions can ease up your work.

Heinrich June 8, 2010 at 10:37 pm

The Open Site Explorer is a great tool that provides valuable data. SEOmoz has some excellent tools and it is worth a look.

anubhav kapoor June 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

I was wondering if there is some sort of index to get some sort of an immediate score regarding the results that show on OSE? For instance, if my portal has 600 linking root domains…is there a category against this score? Does the no. 600 present a pressing need to take upon more penetrative SEO measures.

Mike June 16, 2010 at 8:01 am

Looks like OSE has some great features, and more data is always a good thing.

DragonSearch July 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I am loving OSE. Thank you for your post. I think the webninar was great and solidified my faith. Good-Bye Linkscape, hello OSE!

jennifer duncan July 30, 2010 at 6:04 am

well its great I have used most of the tools but I like the best is backlinks analyser. Also juicy link finder is there but most of the links are those where its not possible to get a one way or two way link. Finally about open site explorer yes its good to use but still there are many tools who give comprehensive reports for such errors and those are specifically design for particular error. Please update your blog i like it 🙂

Sean Hecking August 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Have been using OSE for a few months and love the tool. It’s a must have for SEO and link building.

Andrea Pilotti August 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Very interesting. Will be taking a close look at OSE.

McGarrell Reilly August 30, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Good article, worth to see your site data on OSE,however, it’s better to get pro account before analysing the data, as author mentioned OSE only allow normal users to track 5 links, that’s nothing….