I just had the opportunity to read through a post at SEOmoz about Search Engine Scraping. For those of you who do not know what this is, it’s the practice of scraping search engine results to get information that you need, such as your current rankings for key terms, and to get accurate link data.
The post is by Rand Fiskin, the company CEO. Hear, hear Rand, I couldn’t agree more. SEO involves a process of continual tweaking and experimentation on your site, and it’s critical to measure the results you are getting. This means seeing how your ranking is affected by what you have done. How else can you be sure that you are making progress?
In addition, links are the currency of SEO. Good SEOs are continually spawning marketing campaigns designed to bring in new links to their web sites. Having the tools in place to get accurate link counts is critical. Even Yahoo!, which provides by far the most accurate links counts when you do a query, presents miserable data through their API.
Google and Yahoo have made great strides, with Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer, in offering great new tools to the webmaster community. But guys, getting the data we need to be effective marketers would be a powerful next step. As Rand points out, this will provide great promotional benefits for your search engines as well.