When it comes to learning about your site’s SEO, there are a slew of great tools out there that can provide link lists, keyword analysis and much more.
The problem with most of these tools is that they aren’t exactly clear and easy to understand, especially for those who are new to the concepts and terminology. For new bloggers, the prospect of wading through Excel spreadsheets filled with links is daunting and, given how difficult it can be to make heads or tails of the information, not particularly useful.
Best of all, the tool can be used by anyone for free and the free version provides more than enough information to help anyone get started.
Looking At Your Site
OSE’s most basic function is to analyze their own domain. By simply entering the domain the user gets a list of important metrics including page authority, domain authority (both of which are scored on a scale of 100), the number of linking domains to your site and the number of total links.
From there, you can dig into the various lists that OSE provides including the following:
- Linking Pages: The pages linking to your site, ordered by page authority.
- Top Pages: The highest authority pages on your site.
- Linking Domains: The domains linking to your site, ordered by domain authority.
- Anchor Text Distribution: The text most commonly used when linking to your site, ordered by popularity.
The purpose of this information is two-fold. First, it gives you the most critical information about your site up front and in easy-to-understand terms. Second, it gives you the critical link information you need, putting the most important links at the top.
Best of all, each of the lists (save your Top Pages list) can be filtered to show only the types of links that you want to see. This way, you can remove nofollowed links from the results, which likely don’t have much SEO benefit, or just focus on those that link to a specific page.
However, that is only half of the power of OSE. The real beauty of it comes out when you use it to compare your site to your competition.
Compare and Contrast
By clicking the “Add URL to Compare” button below the search box, you can type in a second domain and get a direct comparison of their performances.
With this tool, the top level metrics now become bar graphs showing how the sites stack up and the link lists are two-column, showing each site an the relevant data side-by-side.
This makes it quick and easy to break down just how well you are performing in relation to your competition and look at their strengths as well as your weaknesses. It may also show domains you should target for linking by analyzing the stronger domains your competition is on that you are not.
After all, if the sites’ are interested in linking to your competition, they might be interested in you as well.
Though maybe not the most powerful link analysis tool on the Web, it is certainly one of the easiest to use and one of the best for newcomers to SEO.
Best of all, the free account is likely more than enough for most who visit the site. However, it is likely worth your time to register for a free account as it takes the number of results you get per list from 5 to 20, making the tool four times as useful. For SEO professionals, there is a pro account available that offers up the complete results but it costs $99 per month, an amount more than most would be able to justify.
Still, Open Site Explorer is a compelling and powerful tool for bloggers and other site developers. It’s a tool well worth checking out, even if only out of curiosity to see how well your site is doing.