What is Blekko?
Blekko is a new search engine. I know what a lot of you are thinking; is there room for another search engine? There have been a number of search engine startups that have gained buzz in the launch period but ultimately don’t succeed. Remember Wolfram Alpha or Cuil?
Blekko is striving to be open and has set a web search bill of rights from the start:
- Search shall be open
- Search results shall involve people
- Ranking data shall not be kept secret
- Web data shall be readily available
- There is no one-size-fits-all for search
- Advanced search shall be accessible
- Search engine tools shall be open to all
- Search & community go hand-in-hand
- Spam does not belong in search results
- Privacy of searchers shall not be violated
Many of these rights address the problems and concerns that users face with the big players in the search landscape. Openness, privacy and spam are the main issues that Blekko aims to address.
Slash the web!
To stand any chance of competing and building a strong user base it needs do something different. It needs to be unique. Blekko aims to do this with the slashtag. Slashtags are used within a search query to narrow down your search results and cut out the sites you don’t want to see. Let’s go through a few examples of using slashtags in Blekko:
|global warming /date||Returns global warming related search results sorted by time ascending|
|cats /images||Returns a image search for cats|
|seo /twitter||Returns the latest tweets on Twitter including ‘seo’|
|ipad /shop||Returns products relating to ‘ipad’|
|tony blair /blogs||Returns blog posts on the subject of ‘tony blair’|
|iphone reviews /tech||Returns ipod reviews from tech websites|
Blekko has created 100’s of slashtags ready to use, however users are encouraged to create their own and share them. A search query can contain multiple slashtags so if used effectively it can really help return relevant results. If you do come across a site you don’t like, each result has a ‘spam’ link so when this is clicked you won’t this site again. Simple really!
Blekko as a SEO tool
Blekko has been creating buzz in the SEO community recently for the data it provides – making it a great SEO tool in its own right. How can we see this data? Well we can kick off by using the slash tag ‘/rank’ on a search query. For example the screenshot below shows results for the query ‘used cars / rank’.
Their ranking data is completely open. This is something we aren’t used to in the SEO industry with the current leading search engines. Clicking on ‘more detail’ allows us to dig a little deeper. This is statistics galore. It’ is useful for getting a competitive overview for a keyword.
On top of this each search result within Blekko has a ‘seo’ link. Clicking on this returns a wealth of useful information.
Inbound link data is presented to give us the following information:
- Inbound link distribution by country
- Inbound link anchor text distribution
Duplicate content allows us to see issues both on and off site. Need to know if someone is stealing your content? This section lists the URLs of sites which may be doing this.
URL visualisation is available too. This is a great alternative of presenting key SEO metrics for a website. It allows 4 websites to be added so visual competitive analysis is possible.
I’m impressed with Blekko. The slash tags seem a natural extension to a search query. As a SEO professional the openness to their ranking data makes it a great SEO tool too. If their community grows and the quality of their index improves I can see it becoming a key player in the search landscape.
It is important to note that Blekko is in private beta so in order to use it now you need to follow them on Twitter for an invite.Tweet