• Marco

    Thanks for this very interesting post.
    What strike me is that this kind of work and tools appears like a must have to make a efficient SEO campaign. Isn’t there already on the market a tool that can sum it up and do all the job for you ?

  • Eric Siu

    Marco: Link Research Tools( can do this.

    Great post Ethan! I’m going to learn how to do this just to brush up on my Excel skills :)

  • Ben Neale

    Thanks for this post. I’m in the process of putting together a comprehensive link analysis system. I’ve been experimenting with Excel and Open Site Explorer, and I’ve read a lot of posts with useful advice. This one is essential reading. I can definitely also recommend Excel for SEOs by Distilled.

  • Staci Smith

    I’ve been trying to understand a similar company’s backlinks using OSE, but when I check out the URL’s that are supposed to link to my competitor I don’t see any links to my competitor at all on that page. Every once and a while I’ll find a link that goes back but I’d say 9 out of 10 of the URL’s listed don’t actually link back so I’m having a hard time analyzing how my competitor is getting links. If you could tell me why this is or if I’m misunderstanding the information I’d really appreciate it!

  • Ethan

    OSE updates every month or so… therefore the links that it found let’s say on the first of the month might have moved by the end of the month. You can find the Linkscape schedule here: Hopefully that helps.

    - Ethan

  • Staci Smith

    So the links that appear in the first column when you download at some point would have had the target link somewhere on the page. Thanks so much! Actually, one last question – I noticed a number of links that actually looked like webmail URL’s (i.e. http://webmail.artforprogress….) If someone had included a link in a personal email this shouldn’t show up on OSE right? Or do those links have nothing to do with webmail. Thanks again!

  • Ethan

    If the link has moved to another place on the site you can go to Google and do this advanced query: site:[root domain] [anchor text]. That might tell you where the link is hiding.

    I’m not sure about the webmail part. If it is a subdomain about webmail, then yes, it could be indexed by Google and OSE but if it’s the site’s email manager, then something’s wrong and they’ve opened their system to OSE.

    Hope that helps.

    - Ethan

  • Staci Smith

    Thanks so much Ethan – that was so extremely helpful! Saving this article to follow in the future!

  • Ethan Lyon

    Not a problem. Glad I could help!

    - Ethan

  • Belfast Jobs Guy

    Wow you’ve saved me several hours of faffing around with excel – thanks!

  • Nico

    Is there a way to get all the competitor backlinks for free? Open Site Explorer / Majestic online give you a limited number if you are not a paying customer… and they are quite expensive for a starting SEO dude. ;)

    Any tips are welcome!

  • Joseph Chambers


    It seems that the link is down.

  • Sandeep

    Hi Ethan

    Please advise how can we get the excel file…the link is not working

  • Ethan Lyon

    @Sandeep – The link has been updated. Thanks for your interest!

    - Ethan

  • Sandeep

    @Ethan – thanks a lot.

  • Sammy

    Thanks for knowledge, Ethan.
    How can i get that file…??

  • Ethan Lyon

    You can go here: for the document.

  • macd

    Thanks for such an informative article,, document is not accessible anymore, could please fix it?

  • Ben Spak
  • Marzena Nowakowska

    You propably still won’t want to do this all in Excel, while you can do it faster and more efficient in some great SEO Tool, which provides serious back links analysis ( such as Colibri – )

  • alexraz

    How did you get type of the links? E.g. I have a list from OSE with 1k backlinks, how would you find types?

  • Lothar Sattler

    Thanks Ethan for the helpful article. Unfortunately the link to the excel file is gone …

  • Alex

    So hard to follow!! Poorly written even though I know the content in it is brilliant. Great content, bad author!