BrightEdge has integrated the SEOmoz Linkscape index of 450 billion links to provide marketers with a list of the exact backlinks competitors use to rank above the fold in organic search results. The companies plan to announce the deal this week.
Both BrightEdge and SEOmoz believe the tool gives marketers clarity into SEO campaigns. Enterprise customers can access Linkscape, available in the BrightEdge SEO Platform through the integration layer, BrightEdge Connect, which ties together data from multiple sources.
Search engines consider backlinks one critical ranking signal. Similar to the way marketers link SEO performance to the campaign's return on investment, Linkscape will offer a metric for backlink information to increase revenue generated by keywords.
"Through the BrightEdge platform, the tools give marketers at Fortune 1000 companies the insight into how competitors beat them in natural search results," says BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu.
Fifty-two percent of companies expect to spend more on SEO in 2010 compared with 2009, according to the State of Search Engine Marketing Report 2010. The report, published earlier this year by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, suggests that only 9% expect to spend less.
While SEOmoz focuses on small- to medium-sized businesses and consulting services, BrightEdge supports enterprise clients that run large campaigns. SEOmoz founder Rand Fishkin does not expect the increase in API calls will overload the Linkscape platform as more enterprise clients adopt the platform.
The Linkscape API data call works akin to data requests from Google AdWords, Facebook or Twitter. "We operate with a similar type of structure to make it easy for people familiar with APIs," Fishkin says. "The unique thing we saw with BrightEdge during the tests is a high quantity of requests. It's not typical, but it tests the load to confirm we can handle it."
The tests also provide insight into the type of data that enterprise clients want, which will help improve the information SEOmoz collects with each crawl. BrightEdge can tell SEOmoz if it only crawls a portion of their domain pages. He says the tools can crawl and index between 40% and 60%, but the focus remains on the "good Web" and not the bad.
Fishkin says search engines take those "deep dark corners of the Internet we don't want to index" into consideration, along with "domain hops" when ranking. That means Web sites are connected through steps of separation. Even in this scenario, bad links can penalize a site's ranking. For example, cnn.com links to mediapost.com, and mediapost.com links to seomoz.org, and seomoz.org a few years ago has someone hack a page on the site and link to mikeshouseofviagra.com. It doesn't just calculate page hops, but relies on a page-rank algorithm biased by these trusted feed sets that help identify good and bad links.
The tools not only cement SEOmoz's move earlier this year to provide a series of SEO tools to marketers and advertisers, but capitalize on a feature Yahoo began to phase out. The SEOmoz team is reminded of that target daily. In fact, a white board drawing of a bulls-eye and arrow going through it at the SEOmoz headquarters reads "Yahoo Site Explorer, about 150 million queries per month."
Fishkin says that since SEOmoz operates in the cloud, it can add machines on demand. He hopes to capitalize on Yahoo's recent change in the way it handles advanced searches, specifically those showing link data, through Site Explorer.
Previously, Yahoo was the only major search engine that displayed public link information about any site in its index. Google and Bing both provide link data for registered site owners on their own site inside their Webmaster Tools platforms. With Bing powering Yahoo, commands such as "link:" and "linkdomain:" no longer allow modifiers, restricting marketers from a key source of competitive link data. For example, the search query "linkdomain:wikipedia.org inurl:blog" previously returned a list of pages linking to Wikipedia's Web site and containing the word "blog" in the URL string -- these types of searches no longer return results.
SEOmoz's Linkscape index and tools powered by their API remain one of the only sources for this type of advanced link research and data. BrightEdge is among the first platforms to take advantage of these features inside their software.
Yahoo plans to maintain its Site Explorer Web site, which offers basic link data, through 2012. That's when Bing's worldwide integration is complete. Bing has not indicated what -- if any -- link data it will provide following this move, but currently doesn't offer any public link information.