First glance at Blekko

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Blekko is a new search engine with a lot of cool tools. It is currently in closed beta and looks very promising. Blekko started in 2007 and was covered in a number of tech blogs such as Techcrunch very soon after. This blog post is only my first impressions based on just over a day of use.

Slash the web

What makes Blekko unique in an industry dominated by a giant and littered with the corpses of both startups and mature brands is user driven search segmentation, through something called slashtags.

Slashtags limit a search to a preselected group of sites or APIs, determine how the results are sorted, the information displayed ( /rank is the prime example ) and much more. Slashtags can be private or public, and are transparent in what they do to the search results. There are a number of broad catagories that slashtags fall into: User, Built-in and Topic. Built-in slashtags include tools such as /date (listing by date), /noporn (remove porn), and /weather (five day weather forecasts for a location) and a number of other tools, filters and third party APIs like /twitter.

User generated slashtags can be made to search within a specific group of sites and other slashtags. User created slashtags can be ether private or public. Public slashtags can be seen and used by other users.

Why things rank

If you want to know what influences the rankings of a particular query, Blekko will tell you. There is a built-in slashtag, /rank, which lists ranking criteria and weighting available in their search. Known in and outbound links are also available on any domain within the search engine.

When you consider their founding principles, this is not too extraordinary.

  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

I suspect that the Blekko SEO and link tools will become as popular as Yahoo! Site Explorer used to be for SEO analysis. The fact that Blekko is no more likely to replicate how Google crawls the web and what content and links it finds than Yahoo! was won’t dull their enthusiasm.

Why Blekko?

Blekko is far more transparent in what influences which sites appear in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Google is providing a more personalised search experience, and most users are not in a position to judge why something ranks and how much their own behaviour has influenced its position.

Slashtags will probably be the killer app for Blekko. Creating specific sharable groupings of sites for searching has a lot of applications for managing information and removing content farms from a SERP when they are not wanted. Adding an element of human curation to search is very cool and deserves at least one more follow up post.

One response to “First glance at Blekko”

  1. […] lot of the links relating to this are in my blog post from August on […]

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