Dec 30, 2010 116 reads by Navneet Kaushal

Blekko, the new search engine founded by Rich Skrenta has finally been launched to the public on November 1, 2010. The goal of this new search engine is to be able to provide useful search results without the irrelevant links. It claims to offer results collected from 3 billion trusted websites and exclude materials from content farms. With slash tags to let the users “slash the web” and other SEO related features, Blekko seems to have enough tricks to interest casual users and webmasters alike.

The slash tags (Blekko's unique feature) will let users filter their search results based on a user- or Blekko defined list of websites. It has already maintained over 250 slash tags in the beta version, including some like:

  • /beer
  • /christianity
  • /green
  • /startrek
  • /blogs
  • /traffic
  • /flickr
  • /define and so on.

You can create a slash tag and do a search against them by typing the slash tag followed by your search query, the format is: “/<your-username>/<your-tag-name> <search>”. Danny Sullivan's in his post “Blekko: New Search Engine Lets You “Spin” The Web” goes in to an in depth explanation with examples of using slash tags. Danny searched BP (its Gulf Coast oil spill), and what websites are discussing using slash tags. In the first first he typed in bp /liberal (indicating that the result expected are the ones with liberal slants). The result of the search looks like:

In the next search for the same topic (BP), he used another slash tag, this time for a conservative view – bp /conservative (indicating that the result expected are the ones with conservative inclinations). Now the result looks like this:

In the first search result, sites like the Huffington Post or Mother Jones were returned while in the next one, the result looks totally different with Fox News topping the list.

Thus it is evident that much of the usual clutter that a user has to go through while using other search engines are done away with at Blekko. It is like using the regular Google search for images and then later using the Google images for the same. Google images is solely for images, likewise, using slash tags your search result can be made much more specific and relevant. That’s what Blekko is offering, the ability to apply a viewpoint to search results in a way that is impossible at the major search engines.

However, it would be inappropriate to call the slash tags at Blekko – perfect. Although it is easy to do slash tag searches on Blekko than on Google, there are other searches where Google's “searching across the entire web” proves more relevant than Blekko and its use of slash tags. Blekko knows this and readily acknowledges that it has imperfections.

Blekko also offers different information about websites and provides some interesting tables and graphs to help the user visualize and analyze a website's on-page and off-page SEO. At Blekko, you will be able to see charts for inbound link distribution, crawl stats, the number of inbound links, and the number of site pages. You can also compare two domains and see what other sites are duplicating this site’s content and so on. Blekko also reveals all the factors that drives their rankings, and let you get behind any URL or site to see what their web search footprint looks like. It doesn't “believe security through obscurity is the best way to drive search ranking quality forward.” Here's an image for example:

In their "Search Bill of Rights", they list the following that:

  1. Search shall be open
  2. Search results shall involve people
  3. Ranking data shall not be kept secret
  4. Web data shall be readily available
  5. There is no one-size-fits-all for search
  6. Advanced search shall be accessible
  7. Search engine tools shall be open to all
  8. Search & community go hand-in-hand
  9. Spam does not belong in search results
  10. Privacy of searchers shall not be violated

Based on the above bill, thinks that they will appeal to:

  • anyone who submits themselves to the open ideology
  • journalists who hate content mills
  • searchers who hate junk search results
  • SEOs & webmasters who like free data
  • programmers who like to hack and tweak
  • people interested in personal freedom & privacy

Tremendous talks and tests on this latest search engine is already circulating on the web. Experts from various sites throwing in their views with a mixture of pros and cons, with in-depth analysis, offer a good reading for all. Webuildpages notes some SEO information that Blekko offers:

  •  inbound links
  • anchor text distribution data
  • duplicate content data
  • site comparison feature
  • pages indexed by Blekko
  • crawl data

Another interesting feature of Blekko is the duplicate content feature. It allows you to see if you have any duplicate content on your site, and helps you find out who is jacking your content, ranked by who jacks your content the most. You can even use this feature to see if you can contact these people to see if you can get them to link back to you. Blekko makes this even easier by also providing the domain tools with information next to the website name.

Yet another feature that can be used for a variety of SEO purposes is the site comparison feature. You can use it to estimate the problem-size of authorized URL issues on your site. For example, when you click on the compare tab, Blekko automatically compares the www. domain with the non – www. domain. You can use this to see how many links are going to the www. , as well the non – www., side by side. Also while comparing two sites for Domain Link Stats, you can compare inbound links, inbound domains, and cross links too. Blekko also compares the Domain Top Ranked pages for the two websites being compared and give you comparative Domain Crawl Stats, and Top Inbound Sites By Host Rank.

There are a lot more at Blekko that is definitely worth exploring. Although the information it provide cannot be called complete, there is no doubt that it does provide great information on trusted links one can use. Therefore, even with its (Blekko) visible flaws, any user or webmaster would be easily impressed by the daring efforts Blekko has put in.

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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