Comparison of the top 10 SEO companies’ backlinks

I’ve been playing around with Yahoo Site Explorer for a while now and looking at the backlinks that various sites have.  It’s a handy tool, but it does have its limitation (not least that it only allows you to view 1000 backlinks). But for getting a flavour of a site’s backlinks then it does the job.

Photo by aussiegalOne of the things that annoyed me about it was that there was no way to aggregate the results, so I wrote a little tool to do it for me (it’s here if you want to play with it:

One of the things that I started to notice once the results were aggregated was just how many websites have hundreds of links from one single site and only a few more from other sites – to me, it’s a fairly clear sign of link buying (with obvious exceptions) and I was interested to see how some of the top ranking sites looked when their backlinks were aggregated.

So I did a test.

For this test I used the keyword ‘search engine optimisation’ on, and analysed the page 1 ranking companies.  The results make interesting reading.

First, I looked at how many pages were indexed in Google and how many links Yahoo had pointing to the home page and to the domain in general (using the SEOQuake toolbar).  Strangely I found that some websites had a higher number of links pointing to the home page than they did pointing to the domain, which I would say is impossible.  That gives you an idea of how unreliable the data is!  (I understand that the linkdomain query is a guestimate but the inbound links result is quite accurate – if you have more info on this then please pass it on).

Two things jump out here.  Firstly, the sheer number of links that some of these sites seem to have attracted is immense.  Getting that number of natual links would take a fair amount of work or some clever linkbait.  Secondly, the fact that a site with 239 inbound links is ranking above a site with 495,000 links is very interesting.  If any proof is needed that SEO is about more than the number of links pointing to your website then I think you have it here!

Company Name Number of indexed pages (Google) Number of page inlinks (Yahoo) Number of domain inlinks (Yahoo)
Big Mouth Media 4,230 (1) 9,528 (8) 17,325 (7)
Just Searching 885 (4) 46,582 (5) 48,339 (5)
Position Gold Ltd 74 (9) 217,679 (2) 212,816 (2)
High Position 94 (8) 66,586 (4) 80,215 (4)
SEO Co. 176 (6) 11,500 (7) 17,057 (8)
Search Engine Optimising 2,260 (3) 117,334 (3) 103,873 (3)
Web Optimiser 3,240 (2) 17.384 (6) 20,990 (6)
SEO Insider 751 (5) 233 (9) 239 (9)
Weblinx 96 (7) 274,910 (1) 495,296 (1)

For each site, I exported the number of links to a .tsv and loaded it into my aggregation tool.  Unfortunately the 1000 links limit makes the data extremely unreliable and I don’t know how (or if) Yahoo chooses what data is included in the export, but for the purposes of this non-scientific exercise then it’s good enough.

Below, I have listed the top 10 link sources for each website and the number of links from each source.

Big Mouth Media

URL Number of links 474 33 28 26 25 19 12 11 10 10

Just Searching

URL Number of links 372 260 153 10 6 5 4 2 2 2

Position Gold Ltd

URL Number of links 898 26 14 7 4 3 3 2 2 2

High Position

URL Number of links 937 15 4 2 2 1 1 1 1 1


URL Number of links 390 152 21 21 20 19 14 13 10 9

Search Engine Optimising

URL Number of links 32 31 23 22 19 18 16 13 11 10

Web Optimiser

URL Number of links 262 247 61 53 49 30 17 15 13 8

SEO Insiders

URL Number of links 85 38 37 10 4 4 2 2 2 2

Web Linx

URL Number of links 855 10 6 5 4 4 2 2 2 2

Because of the limitations of the data, it’s difficult to come to any conclusions.  But by just analysing these 1000 links, I find it interesting that some of the sites that are ranking for a very competitive keyword seem to be relying on a large number of links from just one or two sites.

A word of warning though – I wouldn’t rely on this as a means of trying to rank for competitive keywords.  Our sample sites may well have a large number of single links from authority websites which haven’t been included in the data.  Until we know how Yahoo chooses which sites to include in its 1000 results than it’s difficult to come to any solid conclusions but as a simple exercise, it provides some interesting results.

What you may find interesting is to run the same test on your competitors websites, especially those that are ranking higher than you are for your target keywords.  You may identify some new link sources or perhaps some example of link buying going on.  If you have any interesting findings them please add them to the comments.