A couple of weeks ago we were all reminded of another casualty of the Microsoft-Yahoo alliance, with an announcement that Microsoft Webmaster Tools will be replacing the Yahoo Site Explorer tool as the source webmasters can use for data and analytics on search on Yahoo. Since Yahoo search will soon be totally combined with Microsoft, even though they originally had said that the Site Explorer would remain even after the alliance was completely in place, Microsoft has re-thought its future plans and decided that there would be too much duplication of effort if Site Explorer remained in place.
Search results for Yahoo are already aligned with Microsoft for the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Mexico, while expansion to the rest of the world is expected before too much longer. Apparently API access will shut down on September 15, 2011, so it’s unlikely to be much longer before Site Explorer officially disappears.
Although Yahoo has stated that Microsoft’s Webmaster Tools will take the place of Site Explorer, there are concerns among webmasters that some of the more useful functions of Site Explorer aren’t currently available in Bing’s Webmaster Tools. Most notable among these is the ability to undertake fairly significant competitor research from the results and analyze backlinks from specific URLs. If Microsoft doesn’t provide a comparable tool in Bing’s Webmaster Tools area, a lot of webmasters are going to even more disappointed from losing the unique point of view that data from Yahoo’s servers has provided.
Obviously, there are replacements, but Yahoo Site Explorer will be missed, providing as it has untarnished data straight from the search engine’s servers. Other tools are also not without cost, which is the other benefit that webmasters have benefited from with Site Explorer. It’s going to be a little more expensive to replicate the results.
What is your opinion? Will you feel the loss in your SEO efforts? Or do you already use one of the paid tools and think that it’s just as well that Yahoo Site Explorer is riding off into the sunset?