Don’t waste time blocking Open Site Explorer (SEOmoz Linkscape)

  • 1
  • October 20, 2008
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

There is a lot of discussion today about Open Site Explorer (formerly SEOmoz Linkscape) and whether you can/should be blocking it. Here is my advice – don’t bother.

Unless your site is only linked to from your own websites and you can block them all (in which case adding a big footprint by adding a meta tag is a bad idea) then there is no point in blocking the spider/crawler/indexer/scraper (or any of Moz’s competitors like Ahrefs or Majestic that have sprung up since this article was originally published).

The simple fact is that you can only block your own websites. There is no way of stoppingĀ Moz getting your link data because they can quite easily spider all the websites that are linking to you and find your websites that way.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing, just something to be aware of before you panic about blocking them.

My question to Rand:

Ok so assuming I did block my own websites surely all my competitors could still see my link information because I am unable to block crawling of all the sites that link to me? Correct?
If so then there seems little point in blocking it.

Rand answered:

@patrickaltoft – yes, that’s right. You’d need to get all of your link partners to block in order for us not show links to your sites/pages/

Since this post was originally published in 2008 there has been a further development: link penalties. What might have originally been a way to prevent your competitors from learning about your link profile now prevents you from learning about your link profile too. Google Webmaster Tools provides you with only a small amount of data in comparison to the size of your link profile and you’ll want to augment this with link data pulled from every available platform, including Moz’s Open Site Explorer.

Finally – there are much worse bots to be worrying about if you’re trying to save your bandwidth.