5 things an SEO should know about Open Site Explorer V3

Aug. 01, 2011 | by Mike Fawcett

Site Explorer

Last week SEOMoz announced the release of Open Site Explorer Version 3, the newest upgrade to their popular link analysis tool. Along with a facelift, it’s been given a host of new features. From highly visible social metrics to advanced filtering and grouping options, there’s plenty to get your teeth into. Here are just five things you should know about OSE’s new functionality.

1.     Social metrics in focus

This is perhaps the most hyped of all the new features. We’ve all heard that social signals are the new thing in SEO, which is why the new Open Site Explorer places these metrics front-and-centre.


They’re also present in the Top Pages tab and the new Compare Link Metrics tab, which itself is a great addition.

Site explorer

Providing a neat side-by-side comparison of up to five URLs on a page, subdomain and root domain level, the Compare Link Metrics tab is a fantastic way to quickly identify any relative shortcomings in your link profile. The inclusion of social signals here is yet more proof they should be taken seriously as ranking factors.

2.     Linkscape’s infrastructure update

A hugely influential factor in the OSE upgrade is the fact that the Linkscape index (OSE’s “map” of the web) has just received a tweak of its own. Following in Panda’s footsteps, the Linkscape index now has a distinct linkscapepreference for quality. This means that links from certain lower quality sites have fallen from OSE’s view.

Subsequently, this may bring about a perceived drop in back-links for many sites. However, due to Linkscape’s newfound ability to crawl far deeper, the index has actually grown from around 45 to 59 billion pages. Thus, if a link has fallen off OSE’s radar, it probably wasn’t worth counting anyway. The thinking being: if Linkscape doesn’t like it, Panda probably won’t either.

3.     New advanced reporting options

My favourite feature of Open Site Explorer V3 is the new Advanced Reports tab (we’ll discuss this in more detail in a future post). Its suite of handy filtering options means you can quickly sort through vast amounts of link data with minimal effort.

Site Explorer

This ability to filter results before the export stage will make even the most mundane tasks more doable. For example, link reconfiguration on a large scale can be quite daunting, let alone inefficient. However, thanks to these pre-made filters, it’s now much easier to create a manageable list of worthy reconfiguration candidates.

Bear in mind that only PRO members can access this tab, and that you can request no more than five advanced reports per day.

4.     Still no historical data but better quality

When sourcing for banner placements and paid advertising, it’s good to know whether a particular site is in decline or growth. Open Site Explorer still doesn’t offer this functionality, despite much demand. You can get this data from Majestic SEO and, for now, I think that may be the best solution. Until Linkscape finds a way to reconcile its commitment to crawl depth with increased crawl frequency, we’ll just have to wait.

5.     Improvements are coming

Certain aspects of Open Site Explorer V3 have already ruffled a few feathers. One such thing is the removal of the ‘export as csv’ function. At the moment, the only way to get hold of data in CSV format is via email. ThisCSV can take a while and makes the advanced functionality of OSE seem somewhat clunky. However, blog comments from Rand Fishkin (SEOmoz CEO) and Casey Henry (one of SEOMoz’s marketing ninjas) suggest the export function could make a swift return, along with other fixes. Furthermore, according to the SEOMoz blog, more updates have been scheduled for release in September. Fingers crossed! (edited 19/9/2011) Well, Spetember is here and some of these improvements have now arrived. Most notably, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the download csv function is back! What’s more is you can now track your reports much easier, using the ‘recent csv reports’ feature.

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    Comments (17)

    • Hedwig Plitt

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    • Web Design Firm New York

      Nice list of five points created which prove that SEO should know about open site explorer v3.Jan 29, 2013 10:16 am

    • css

      Hi frndz,
      This is really new stuff for seo. In this posting everything is clear about new updation of new social media ranking additions to SEO moz. Thanks a lot SEOmoz. This is very useful for us..Aug 17, 2012 03:37 am

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    • אולפנים

      Everything is very open with a very clear description of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!Jun 27, 2012 10:20 am

    • SEO

      I relish, lead to I found exactly what I was taking a look for. You've ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. ByeMar 23, 2012 01:59 am

    • Ashley

      Great post! I really love the new social media ranking additions to SEOmoz; they come in pretty handy.Nov 3, 2011 07:06 am

    • Mark Mitchell

      Great post. I am pretty new to SEOmoz so I kind of came in just before the changes. The advanced reporting section of the article I found really useful. I hadnt fully got to grips with that aspect yet. Thanks very much.Sep 26, 2011 07:26 pm

    • Mike Fawcett

      Hi Phil, yeah it's pretty useful but not necessarily a no brainer in my opinion. Majestic SEO, Link Diagnosis (for Firefox), LinkDex and Advanced Link Manager are all good alternatives.

      p.s. Don't forget about Google's good old "link:" operator.Aug 30, 2011 02:56 pm

    • Phil

      We have been using OSE for many months now but have not upgraded. i think looking at the enhanced features its a no brainer.Aug 26, 2011 09:21 am

    • Opiyo

      I've been very tempted by OSE in the past but the new features as well as your insight into them has persuaded me to sign up. Thanks Mike - nice post!Aug 25, 2011 12:09 pm

    • Ajay

      SEO moz comes out with tools that make our life much easier and the recent addotion is just a testimony to itAug 9, 2011 06:17 am

    • Mike Fawcett

      Hi Jonathan, yeah that would be good.
      One theory I've heard for the removal of the export feature is that SEOMoz wanted to reduce the number of user requests to their server. If that's true, it suggests we may have to wait for SEOMoz to buy some more hardware! Perhaps they were anticipating an increase in OSE usage after the update. Just speculation of course but interesting nonetheless.Aug 8, 2011 04:15 pm

    • Jonathan

      Good heads up Mike. Yeah I hope they do roll back out the export and download feature.

      The email feature is kinda annoying, but I can see why they've done it too as the email you get advertises the pro version so no doubt generates signups for non pro users. But I'm sure that annoys people who are already pro subscribed. Maybe the export and download should be a luxury for paid users, and the email is the free..Aug 5, 2011 10:24 am

    • Mark Higginson

      Great post Mike. The 'social signal' component is one I will be keeping an eye on.Aug 1, 2011 04:10 pm

    • Mike Fawcett

      Hey Jeremy,
      Yes, I should've mentioned it actually. At the moment social metrics are only available to PRO members. There are three packages: PRO, PRO Plus and PRO Elite. The cheapest is PRO at $99 per month. It's really easy to set up. Just sign up for the 30day free trial, and you'll be automatically transerred to the PRO account unless you cancel it (so don't forget about it).
      I'll be writing another post soon that'll discuss the specific benefits offered by OSE V3. So keep your eyes peeled!
      Take care,
      MikeAug 1, 2011 01:39 pm

    • Jeremy Head

      Hi Mike
      Really interesting post... for someone who only recently started looking at anything other than google toolbar page rank, this is really useful stuff. Particularly interesting to see the social signals data so prevalent...
      Do you need to pay to access this kind of data from SEO moz?
      Could you explain how someone new to this stuff can sign up and get using these tools if it's not too complex?
      JeremyAug 1, 2011 12:29 pm

    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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