Trending December 2023 # Yahoo Site Explorer Alternative – Link Research Tools Introduces Qbl # Suggested January 2024 # Top 13 Popular

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The shutdown of Yahoo Site Explorer brought us QBL, the 10-second-car for Backlink Analysis

It’s been a while since our last review of the Link Research Tools back in March and I want to thank you guys again for the massive feedback. Since then, a lot has happened in SEO, most recently the shutdown of the perhaps most-used SEO Tool out there, Yahoo’s Site Explorer. Even more has happened in the product development of Link Research Tools (we could write about them improving the product on a monthly basis!) but this time we really have to mention their latest and greatest tool launch.

Link Building Wonder Weapon

The new tool QBL is part of the whole product, but is also available stand-alone in the new Quick -Account with an introduction pricing (ends March 1) of an average breakfast at Starbucks.

Link Boost adds 7500 more links

Before we talk more about QBL, their Link Boost was also recently announced, a feature that lets you analyze up to 7’500 additional backlinks in their Backlink Profiler tool the full HD supersize-me link profiling software that aggregates 53 SEO metrics for every link (!).

Quick Backlinks

The new tool Quick Backlinks or QBL was launched as Yahoo Site Explorer replacement on Dec 5 and aims as an immediate plugin-in to replace the Yahoo Site Explorer for the masses. Dave Naylor’s team has been raving about it and compared it to a Lamborghini. Well said.

For every link the QBL immediately shows you:

The exact target URL (and you can filter and group by that also with wildcards)

A new Link Power metric (the strongest links are shown on top)

The type of link – text or image links and even fancy stuff like redirects, frames, canonicals

If they’re FOLLOW or NOFOLLOW links

How many links go to your domain from the linking domain

How many linking domains there are to each of your links (Domain Pop, Linking Root Domains)

The well-known and still-much-used Alexa rank

The IP address (you can filter by IP addresses and class-C blocks in a breeze!)

The country in which the linking domains are hosted

The interface is as simple as it could be. You enter a URL, you get results.

The QBL visualizes your link data in an easy understandable way supported by nice looking charts. If you’re not into sifting through all the links individually, the charts which are part of the QBL help you get a quick overview quickly.

Searching through the link data in detail is made easy by a wide range of easy-to-understand filtering and sorting features.

If you would like to know more about the handling of the tool I’ll recommend you to watch the video we included from the vendor’s site. It’s brief and easy to follow.

Something to mention is that Christoph and his team did a pre-launch waiting list and gave away a hundred or so accounts at launch date. Today the tweeted signup page is still up and after checking with them they plan to eventually send out more free accounts when resources allow. That’s worth a try, no?

I’d love to hear your feedback on this new tool.

You're reading Yahoo Site Explorer Alternative – Link Research Tools Introduces Qbl

7 Google Tools To Use When Conducting Keyword Research Today

Consumer behavior is changing rapidly and unpredictably during the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s why conducting keyword research is now more important than ever to understand the latest shifts in consumer intent.

Although 100% of SEO professionals worth their salt understand how to dig insights out of Google Search Console and know which keyword tools have helped them in the past to increase traffic, rankings, and visibility in search results, this is the time to think outside the search box.

Even one new insight per fortnight can help your company or clients pivot to create more relevant content as they navigate the “new normal.”

Here are some places that I now visit virtually every weekday and some tools that I’ve reached for in the toolbox that I rarely used before I had to start dealing with strange things that go bump in the night.

1. Rising Retail Categories

In May 2023, Think with Google launched an interactive tool called Rising Retail Categories to help us understand:

Fast-rising retail categories in Google Search.

The locations where they’re growing.

The queries associated with them.

For example, the top trending categories in the U.S. year-over-year include:

Sprinkler controls.

Sneeze guards.

Household disinfectants.

Neck gaiters.

Protective masks.

Or, focus on the top trending categories month-over-month to discover:

Food Container Covers (+100%).

Crayons (+100%).

Medical Equipment (+90%).

Pen & Pencil Cases (+70%).

Baby & Toddler Outerwear (+60%).

Then, tackle the top trending categories week-over-week, and examine:

Blank ID Cards (+40%).

Pie & Pastry Fillings (+30%).

Play Mats & Gyms (+30%).

Foosball Tables (+30%).

Neck Gaiters (+30%).

Chalkboards (+30%).

If your company or clients makes any of these products, this is your opportunity to spot a key trend and become a hero.

2. Coronavirus Search Trends

In March 2023, Google launched Coronavirus Search Trends.

There was a surge in search interest for the topic, coronavirus, from late February through early May.

Since then, search interest in coronavirus has fallen below the topic, weather, and is now roughly equal with search interest in the topic, news, but still remains above the topics of sports and music.

3. The U.S. Economy & COVID-19

Recently, Google has added a new section of its Coronavirus Search Trends that is focused on The U.S. Economy and COVID-19.

How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected searches around the economy?

How do they compare now to searches in the past?

Scroll down the page to see search interest in the term, recession, since 2004.

And keep scrolling down to see the spikes in search interest in other terms, like unemployment benefits, food bank, food stamps, and mortgage forbearance.

Or, look at the map of the country to see where search interest in terms like debt, bankruptcy, and “can’t pay rent” are located.

4. Shopping Insights

Google launched Shopping Insights in October 2023, but I’ve rarely used the tool before the COVID-19 recession despite the fact that it enables you to see how your company or clients stack up against your competitors, and it lets you track competing products in your category.

In these “extraordinarily uncertain” times, it’s a life saver.

Now, it’s painfully obvious that this year’s disruptions are making it hard for retailers to plan for the holidays.

But, Shopping Insights helps them stay up to date on what shoppers want and follow trends in their category.

How can Google provide these shopping insights?

According to Think with Google, in 63% of shopping scenarios, shoppers go online to conduct research before they make a purchase decision, regardless of whether they end up buying online or in a store.

With daily search data for 55,000+ products, 45,000+ brands, and nearly 5,000 categories across the U.S., Shopping Insights helps you better understand customers’ shopping intent online, and make more informed merchandising and marketing decisions across online and offline channels.

For example, the top brands in the Toys & Games category, based on data from July 17 to August 16, 2023, are:





Hot Wheels.

So, if you are planning for either Small Business Saturday or the entire Holiday Season, you know which brands to stock on your shelves.

5. Market Finder

Google launched Market Finder in November 2023, but I’ve rarely used the tool in the past.

But, it has now become a game-changer when helping clients navigate the “new normal.”

For example, I’m working with the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) to generate applications for its Online Professional Masters in Human Resource Management program.

By entering SMLR’s URL into Market Finder, I was able to calculate which regions offer the best opportunities for growth, based on key metrics for my chosen categories.

Within the United States, they are California, Texas, and Florida.

For Rutgers, which is the State University of New Jersey, this came as a major surprise, because it represents a significant shift from the geographic trends before the pandemic.

6. Google Surveys

Google Consumer Surveys was launched in March 2012. It was renamed Google Surveys in October 2023.

It’s become one of the essential tools in my toolkit for getting valuable insights into the minds of my clients’ target audiences.

If you haven’t used it yet, Google Surveys is a market research tool that gathers data from survey questions that you write.

Web users answer your survey questions in order to access high-quality content on the Google Display Network.

In turn, content publishers get paid as their users answer your questions. Google then aggregates and analyzes the responses through a simple online interface.

Yes, I also use Search Console and keyword tools. But, those tell me “what” people are searching for.

They don’t tell me “why” people are conducting those queries.

Only now, Google Surveys help me uncover search intent, which is much more valuable.

I have frequently used screening questions to ensure that the respondents to a particular survey represent the niche audience that my client is targeting, instead of anyone and everyone who used a search term.

And Google Surveys has enabled me to get answers within days instead of weeks with more traditional survey methods.

Oh, and did I mention that it was cheap?

No, it’s not free, but prices start of $0.10 per completed survey, although I typically pay about $1.50 per completed survey because I use surveys with 2 to 10 questions that are targeted at respondents of specific ages, genders, or locations.

For example, keyword research will generally help me select a keyword phrase to optimize the title and headline of a landing page.

But, Google Surveys will help me to ensure that the content on that landing page actually addresses the consumer intent behind the query.

Why is that valuable?

Because you can do more than generate organic search traffic.

7. Google Trends

Google Trends was launched in May 2005, so it’s the oldest tool on this list.

And many SEO professionals don’t use it that often because it doesn’t provide data on organic search volumes.

But these aren’t normal times.

And finding insights that can be processed within minutes of an event happening in the real world can get SEOs a seat at the table where strategic decisions are made.

For example, I just taught a course for the New Media Academy (NMA) on “Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy” to a group of more than 100 business professionals in the United Arab Emirates.

And one of the recent articles that I shared with my NMA class was entitled, How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey.

It was written by Alistair Rennie and Jonny Protheroe, who both work on Google’s consumer insights team, and it was published last month in Think with Google.

Rennie and Protheroe used Google Trends to take a look at worldwide search interest for “best” vs. “cheap” from January 1, 2004, through July 1, 2023.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never done this particular comparison before.

And I was surprised to see that worldwide search interest for “best” has increased steadily over the past 16-and-a-half years, while worldwide search interested for “cheap” had decreased steadily over the same period of time.

Oh, and the Great Recession of 2007-2009 didn’t impact these trends at all.

Now, that’s in insight worth taking to the next Zoom meeting of your entire marketing team.

As your company or clients deal with these “extraordinarily uncertain” times, this is not time to create and optimize new content for “cheap.”

You should create and optimize new content for “best,” instead.


Because that’s what your customers are searching for.

And, even though we’re facing an unprecedented crisis, it’s worth remembering that a crisis represents both a threat and an opportunity for your company or clients.

That means this unprecedented crisis represents a threat and an opportunity for you, too.

That’s why this is no time to continue using the same old tools that you learned to use five, 10, or 15 years ago.

It’s time to explore some or all of the alternatives mentioned above.

Who knows, they may help your company or clients bounce back from the COVID-19 recession more quickly, or they may even help you bounce forward to your next promotion in a shorter period of time.

More Resources:

Top 7 Ways To Increase Link Popularity With Content On Your Site

Building links is still a big topic with SEOs and site owners alike and we’re all a bit fed up with trying to get reciprocal links. While it may be more fun, using social media channels to build links take a lot of time and may not suit everyone. So it’s time to get creative and come up with some content you can put on your site that attracts more links to your site.

Here’s my Top 7 Ways to Increase Link Popularity with Content on Your Site:

1. Top 10 Lists (or Top 5, 25, 100 or maybe just 7)

From the FBI’s Most Wanted to Dave Letterman’s Top Ten, people love these lists! They also love to pass the information on to their circle of friends or colleagues.  Pick a topic that will be of interest to your target market and do a bit a research to come up with the definitive list for that topic.

2. Videos

We all know YouTube is hot, a popular search engine in itself, but if you embed good videos on your own site, it will attract visitors and links to the page. If you have an interesting collection of videos others have done, people will be more likely to link to your page, rather than to the source video site.

You can embed other people’s videos on your site, making sure that they are relevant to your topic (and to get permission and provide attribution, etc.) but it’s not so difficult to produce your own videos.  Digital webcams have come down in price and are easy to use, but you could even just create a nice slideshow from images you have that will highlight your products, work you’ve done, etc.

Yahoo’s Dirty Tackle blog has been very popular during the World Cup, mainly for its regular posts with videos of highlights and funny moments in the sport.

3. Images

Not as dynamic as video, but people do like to look at ‘pretty pictures’. Whether you create them yourself or get permission to use others images, look for those related to your topic and reinforce the points you are trying to make.  Think beyond photographs – relevant diagrams and charts will also be of great interest.

Sites like Nielsen use charts and diagrams on a regular basis to provide an easy way for people to take in the stats provided.

4. Interview an Expert or Industry Leader

Don’t we all want to know what the experts think and how they do what they do?  You’d be surprised how willing most industry experts/leaders are to do a quick interview; whether it be in person or over the phone/Skype, etc.

Make sure you are prepared and professional. Agree on topics (try to find something that’s timely and hasn’t been covered a million times) and keep to the time allowed.  It’s a sure thing that the person interviewed will link to your interview, giving your site even more exposure.

5. How To’s / Tutorials

These days the internet is a person’s main way to find out how to do things, whether via an article or a video.  You can easily write step by step tutorials or articles about an area that you are knowledgeable in. Even better, do a quick How To video, even if just a screencast.  Besides showing people that you know your business and providing helpful information for people, it’s very likely that people will then link to your page.

People can’t resist free stuff!  Have you created (or commissioned) an app or a script that you can provide for free?  Less technical? Then you can you create helpful checklists or other articles as PDFs that people can download.

Australia’s NRMA provides a FREE Used Car Buying Guide Checklist for visitors to download as a PDF.

7. Commission a Study or Report

People love statistics! Do your own market research or commission an agency or university and put together a study or report that’s relevant to your industry.

Ireland’s Mulley Communications commissioned a Facebook Study by a division of the National College of Ireland, “made possible” with an “Innovation Voucher” funded by a government agency. (This is also a good example of providing a download and embedding a video!)

When deciding on content make sure you are focused on your target market and what will be of interest to them to ensure that it will also be something that they’d want to share by placing a link on their own sites.  What to consider:

Is my market more likely to link to content that’s funny, serious or informative – or a mix?

Is the content fresh and original?  Don’t just copy a list or article from someone else’s site, even if you give attribution.  If you don’t have original information on a topic, compile interesting information from a number of relevant sites and put it together in a new way, making it your own.  There may be times when it’s best to include a quote or excerpt from the original site, but be sure to give proper attribution and you may get a [link] friend for life!

Do I make it easy for people to link to my content? Are the URLs on your site not only SEO friendly, but people friendly?  Yes, it’s easy to copy and past a URL, but if your URL is particularly long and doesn’t reflect the content of the page it may put someone off from doing the link.

Does my overall site merit getting links from others?  Is it overloaded with AdWords?  Is the site user friendly? Does the site look professional?  Even if you have the most interesting article ever, people will be less likely to link to it if the rest of your site doesn’t live up to it.

Are you being generous with your link love?   As they say ‘give and ye shall receive’ and the same is true with links.  Just make sure the links you post are relevant for your visits and that the sites are high quality.

How do I get people to link to my page in an SEO friendly way? Short of telling people how to put the link, you can influence the link text people use in the link to your page. They are likely to use your keyphrase in your link text if you are using them properly on the page yourself. Some may still just put the URL as the link text, so if you are using keyphrases in your URL, that will help.  Some may use the title of the page, video, image, download, etc., so be sure to use your keyphrases in any of these areas as well.

As you build up the quality content on your site you will find that more people are linking to the homepage of your site, as well as the pages with specific content, as the site itself will be seen as a useful or interesting resource overall.

Rather than obsessing over what’s going to get you the most links; keep focused on providing good, interesting, relevant content for the visitors to your site and the links will follow.

So Long, Truecrypt: 5 Alternative Encryption Tools That Can Lock Down Your Data

Open-source legend TrueCrypt may be gone, but the usefulness of full disk encryption carries on. So what’s a crypto fan to do now for their encryption needs?

Well, you could continue to use older versions of TrueCrypt if you already have it installed. While the security community was shocked earlier this week when the anonymous team behind the open source encryption tool seemingly shut down the project, leaving a neutered version 7.2 build of the tool that’s only good for decrypting existing TrueCrypt volumes, a public audit of the TrueCrypt source code for version 7.1 was already underway and that effort will continue, according to the Open Crypto Audit Project. 

The first phase of the TrueCrypt audit found no serious problems with the Windows build of TrueCrypt. If TrueCrypt 7.1 gets a clean bill of health it would continue to be a viable encryption option, though it’s not clear if the encryption tool’s development can or will continue under new management.

But if the brouhaha has you feeling skittish, or if you want to move on to encryption software that’s actively being developed, options abound. As popular as it is (was?), TrueCrypt is far from the only encryption tool around. In fact, many mainstream operating systems already come with an encryption tool built-in.

Here’s a look at a few full disk encryption options that can take the sting out of TrueCrypt’s sudden disappearance.

BitLocker is built into select versions of Windows.

The most obvious alternative for Windows users is Microsoft’s built-in utility, BitLocker. The encryption program is included in Windows 8 and 8.1 Pro editions, which means anyone who switched to Windows 8 during the $40 upgrade deal has BitLocker on their PC. BitLocker is also available on Windows Vista and 7 PCs running the Ultimate or Enterprise editions.

Check out our tutorial on BitLocker to get started with Microsoft’s encryption tool.

If you don’t have the right flavor of Windows, another choice is Symantec Drive Encryption. While this program is just as closed-source as BitLocker, it implements PGP, a well known encryption method.

If you need further reassurances, security expert Bruce Schneier recently told The Register that Symantec’s tool is what he’s going to use post-TrueCrypt. That’s good enough for me. SDE costs $110 for a single user license.

TrueCrypt was free and worked with all flavors of Windows, though. If you’re looking for an encryption tool that can match those prerequisites, check out DiskCryptor. We have a review of the free software and a guide to locking down your files with DiskCryptor available, as well.

Mac encryption options

For OS X users, Apple provides FileVault.

OS X also has its own built-in encryption tool called FileVault 2 for users of OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later. Apple’s solution is another closed source program, but we do know it uses the XTS-AES 128-bit cipher—and the National Security Agency recommends using it for their own employees using Macs. So unless you’re really into conspiracy theories, FileVault is probably a good choice. 

For more tips on how the NSA locks down its OS X machines check out “How the NSA snoop-proofs its Macs.”

Linux encryption options

For Linux users, the best choice is to use a distribution with a built-in Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) implementation. Ubuntu uses LUKS, and the various distributions based on Ubuntu should all have full disk encryption options available during installation. Here’s how to get started with Ubuntu’s full-disk encryption, courtesy of Ubuntu’s community help documentation.

It’s a sad day if TrueCrypt has truly disappeared, but at least there are a number of alternatives open to users who need or want to continue encrypting their stuff.

Toyota Introduces Generative Ai To Design Cars

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has made an announcement in the world of vehicle design. They have unveiled a revolutionary generative artificial intelligence (AI) technique to transform how Electric Vehicles (EVs) are designed. With this new technology, Toyota aims to overcome the constraints that often hinder the manual development of EV designs. Let’s delve deeper into this exciting breakthrough.

Also Read: Tech Mahindra CEO Accepts Sam Altman’s AI Challenge

Enhancing the Creative Process

Designers can now leverage publicly available text-to-image generative AI tools as an early step in their creative process. TRI’s innovative technique allows designers to incorporate initial design sketches and engineering constraints into this process, significantly reducing the number of iterations required to reconcile design and engineering considerations. This not only saves time but also enhances the efficiency of the design process.

Also Read: Meta Launches ‘Human-Like’ Designer AI for Images

Faster and More Efficient Designing

Also Read: zPod, India’s First AI-Driven Autonomous Vehicle

Optimizing Performance Metrics

One crucial aspect of EV design is the optimization of performance metrics. For instance, reducing drag is vital to improving the aerodynamics of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and maximizing their range. The new AI technique developed by TRI takes these performance metrics into account. Toyota Motor Corporation’s BEV factory president, Takero Kato, emphasizes the importance of reducing drag to improve the efficiency of BEVs. This new technology allows Toyota to optimize performance metrics such as drag, ride height, and cabin dimensions.

Merging Engineering and AI

Also Read: Mercedes-Benz Cars Get Even Smarter with ChatGPT

Incorporating Engineering Constraints

TRI researchers have released two papers outlining how the new technique incorporates precise engineering constraints into the design process. Key constraints such as drag, which affects fuel efficiency, and chassis dimensions like ride height and cabin dimensions, which impact handling, ergonomics, and safety, can now be implicitly integrated into the generative AI process. This breakthrough opens up endless possibilities for designing vehicles that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also highly functional.

Also Read: Drive Into the Future with Jeep’s Next-Gen AI & Autonomous Off-Road Driving Tech

The Fusion of Optimization Theory and Generative AI

The team at TRI has combined principles from optimization theory, widely used in computer-aided engineering, with text-to-image-based generative AI. The resulting algorithm allows designers to optimize engineering constraints while retaining their text-based stylistic prompts for the generative AI process. This seamless fusion of optimization theory and generative AI empowers designers to balance form and function in their designs.

Learn More: Join us for an extraordinary learning experience! Unlock the boundless world of Generative AI with Diffusion Models at our upcoming workshop at the DataHack Summit 2023.

A Designer’s Dream

Imagine a designer being able to request a suite of designs based on an initial prototype sketch while specifying stylistic properties such as “sleek,” “SUV-like,” and “modern.” This new AI technique makes such dreams a reality. Designers can now optimize quantitative performance metrics, such as aerodynamic drag, while maintaining their desired stylistic elements. The research paper from TRI primarily focuses on aerodynamic drag, but the approach can be applied to optimize other performance metrics or constraints inferred from a design image.

Our Say

TRI’s latest AI technique is a testament to its commitment to harnessing the creative power of AI to amplify the skills of automobile designers and engineers. This breakthrough enables faster and more efficient design of EVs and ensures that engineering constraints are seamlessly integrated into the design process. Toyota continues to push the boundaries of innovation, cementing its position as a leader in Electric Vehicles.


Yahoo Offers Creative Commons Search Engine

Yahoo Offers Creative Commons Search Engine

Yahoo has released a search service for searching the Creative Commons database of content which is available for reuse and redistribution. Most material on the Internet comes with a full copyright, Yahoo Creative Commons search helps developers and site owners find content published by authors that want sites to share or reuse it, under certain conditions. The new search service was announced on the Yahoo Search Blog today, with a special guest post by Creative Commons creator Larry Lessig.

Larry also praised the new Yahoo CC search on his own blog:

Late last night, Yahoo! launched a Creative Commons search engine, permitting you to search the web, filtering results on the basis of Creative Commons licenses. So, as I feel like I’ve said 10,000 times when explaining CC on the road, “Show me pictures of the Empire State Building that I can use for noncommercial use,” and this is the first of about 13,000 on the list.

One nice addition is the check boxes for selecting to search content available for commercial reproduction or content which can be modified upon.

More from Yahoo:

Copyright applies fully and automatically to any work – a photograph, a song, a web page, an article, pretty much any form of expression – the moment it is created. This means that if you want to copy and re-use a creative work you find online, you usually have to ask the author’s permission.

This “all rights reserved” protection is good thing for many authors and artists. But what about those who want you to use their work freely without permission — but on certain conditions?

This search engine helps you quickly find those authors and the work they have marked as free to use with only “some rights reserved.” If you respect the rights they have reserved (which will be clearly marked, as you’ll see) then you can use the work without having to contact them and ask. In some cases, you may even find work in the public domain — that is, free for any use with “no rights reserved.”

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