Using Open Site Explorer to Link Build

by Brian Cox

Ever wonder if the pagerank toolbar that you’ve become so fond of isn’t that accurate? Considering Google only rolls out updates for the public roughly 4 times per year wouldn’t you want a better indicator of just how powerful and authoritative the site you’re considering contacting for a link relationship actually is?

Well I’ve got a new tool to use that is much more accurate than making some wild guess based on an arbitrary green bar at the top of your browser. That tool is SEOMoz’s Open Site Explorer. Open Site Explorer takes into account numerous search metrics to give you a better understanding into a sites relevancy on the web and helps you determine whether or not a site is of quality for your links.

Page Authority
After inputting the URL you want to scope out, OSE spits out a page that contains a summary at the top and indexed links below. The first metric in the summary is Page Authority. Page Authority is defined as the URL score of that site after combining all link metrics. Anything over 50 here is a decent quality site.

Domain Authority
The next metric in line, Domain Authority is the overall score for the root domain. This takes into all pages on a domain and the breadth and scope of that website presence on the ‘net.

Linking Root Domains
Next in line, Linking Root Domains. This is one of the core stats we as SEOs are used too seeing. This is one of the stats I like to pay close attention too. This stat allows you to also see which of your competitors are actively partaking in SEO and link building. Obviously a site with 1,000 linking root domains is doing something right. If they just have a handful of root domains and a ton of total links, you know they aren’t the best at SEO and most likely stick to sidebar and homepage links.

Total Links
And finally, Total Links, which shows us all followed, no-followed and even 301’ing pages to the domain of interest. Many of us used to solely rely on this number alone, but in recent years it is losing traction as a top measuring tool. Why you ask? Well due to the increasingly high number of spammers and link building bots, some sites can easily obtain over 20,000 back links. However the majority of these links are total garbage. This is why I like to focus on the first two metrics the most.

Underneath this awesome summary of metrics, Open Site Explorer displays all the links for that particular site in order of authority and importance. Yes, I said it, in order of authority and importance. SEOMoz does the dirty work for us, and puts this all in order showing your competitors best links. Not only that, they also show us two of the link metrics mentioned above, Page Authority and Domain Authority, so you have a better understanding of just how effective a site can be for linking. Start searching through the metrics and finding sites where you are not currently listed and before you know it, you’ll have all the same links as your competitor or website of interest has.

Brian is the President and Co-Founder of WebTraphic LLC, a Philadelphia SEO company. WebTraphic operates its own ashtray e-commerce store in house and is focused on creating more stores in the future.