Export Data From The Moz Competitive Link Finder With This Hack
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Export Data From The Moz Competitive Link Finder With This Hack

Export Data From The Moz Competitive Link Finder With This Hack

TL;DR – Skip to The Hack

Why Hack Moz’s Competitive Link Finder?

I love the Moz Competitive Link Finder! What a fantastic and simple tool to find where competitor’s link profiles intersect. Why would you want this information? For quick and easy link building and outreach opportunities of course! Seek out high authority membership directories, event sponsorship opportunities, local website listings, resource pages and communities that are linking to your competitors, and publications that have covered your competitors so you can pitch those publications too. I’m not going to cover the many ways you can use this tool, that’s a topic perhaps for another blog post. Today I just want to share a quick hack to help export data from the tool.

For a while the Moz Competitive Link Finder stopped working and many of us feared that it was going to be decommissioned. During that time I explored recreating the tool using Open Site Explorer data in Excel, but before I completed my solution Mihai Aperghis wrote a great tutorial on how to achieve this over on the Moz Blog: http://moz.com/blog/competitive-link-analysis-link-intersect-in-excel. Thankfully Moz did bring the tool back with a fresh new look.

For those of us that don’t want to spend the time recreating the Moz Competitive Link Finder in Excel, how can we get all of the linking URLs out of the tool in to a spreadsheet, where we can work with the data further? One way, of course, is a whole lot of clicking, copying and pasting. Not going to happen!

Here’s a screenshot of what a Moz Competitive Link Finder results page looks like:

 

Moz Competitive Link Finder

We can see that Moz lists out linking domains, but to see each URL we need to click on the “Show” link. It looks like the linking URLs don’t even get loaded in to the page until we click on these “Show” links. So how on earth can we export all of these linking URLs relatively easily? A little source code hacking 🙂

The Hack

To carry out the following steps you can use Google Chrome’s DevTools functionality or the Firebug extension for Chrome or Firefox. These features allow you to do many things such as real time editing of the source code of a web page.

Update: If you just want a Bookmarklet to help you to expand the links without going through these steps then head to the bottom of the page. Note, even if you use the Bookmarklet you will still need some of the steps below to help you scrape the data and get it into a spreadsheet.

    • Hover over the first “Show” link, right hand click on it and select “Inspect Element” or “Inspect with Firebug” from the context menu.

 

    • The developer / firebug console should show you the following code for the first “Show” link in the table:

 

<a href="#row-1" data-parent="#row-1" data-toggle="collapse">Show</a>

 

  • Right hand click on the above code and select “Edit as HTML”. (Firebug in Chrome doesn’t give this option but it does in Firefox. Chrome DevTools gives you this option too.)
     
    Moz Competitive Link Finder Hack

 

  • Replace that link code with the following code:

 

<a href="#row-1" data-parent="#row-1" data-toggle="collapse">Show</a>

Moz Competitive Link Finder Hack

  • Now click on the first “Show” link that you just edited in the table. All of the table rows should expand to show you all of that lovely linking URLs data on one screen, with no further clicking required!

 

Moz Competitive Link Finder Hack

  • The final step is to extract our link data into a spreadsheet. We could copy and paste from here, but if we grab a browser scraper extension such as Scraper for Google Chrome we can just Scrape the data we want. Once you have installed Scraper, right hand click on the first linking URL and click on the “Scrape Similar” option:

 

Moz Competitive Link Finder Hack

  • Scraper will now suggest an XPath selector for you in order to pull out links like the one you just selected. I’d suggest using the following XPath selectors depending on your needs:
      • Scrape Page Authority and Linking URL: //tr/td/ul/li (if you use this option you can use Excel’s Text to Columns feature, and set the delimiter as a space character, to break your data into columns.)

     

    • Scrape Linking URL only:  //tr/td/ul/li/a

     

  • Now you can either opt to export your data to Google spreadsheets or you can select the data within the Scraper window and past it (as plain text) into Excel.Moz Competitive Link Finder Hack

 

  • The final result…a nice spreadsheet full of link prospects!

 

Moz Competitive Link Finder Hack

That’s it. It’s faster to do than it is to read about it, I promise. Give it a try! Leave your comments below if you have feedback or questions.

p.s. Moz product team, could you make this so much easier and just build in an export feature? Thanks 🙂

Bonus update: To make the whole process a little easier here’s a Bookmarklet that you can run on the Moz Competitive Link Finder results page to take care of expanding the table. Just drag the following link to your Bookmarks bar and click on it when you are ready to expand the links in the Competitive Link Finder:

 

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Matthew Shepherd
[email protected]