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November 1, 2010

Blekko for Dummies

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There’s a chatter online today that seems to be repeating the same thing: blekko. The search industry is weighing in heavily on this new search engine. The general consensus around Bruce Clay, Inc. is that it’s really a non-issue as far as huge controversy goes; if anything, it offers up a new way to do research with some cool stats and tools. And perhaps it’s just one more place people and businesses can go as Google continues to change the face of search with things like Place Search.

Some of our staff here has been using blekko for some time. General accolades go to the company for making some research easier through the data it offers up on websites. Other things people around BCI have been saying:

  • The link data is probably the best SEO link tool available.
  • SEO/rank information is very good.
  • Duplicate content information is very useful.
  • blekko as a company is very responsive on Twitter.

Who Is blekko?

blekko’s team behind the dream is a mix of industry pros:

About Blekko

But what is blekko? blekko is a search engine with its own index that seems to have a good sample of what Google does. The difference is that blekko is offering up a lot of stats upfront to everyone; the type of stats (and then some) that are only available via Google Webmaster Tools in Google. And its selling point is “slashtag search.” Slashtag search allows you to use the slashtag key (/) to refine your search (note: click on any of the following images to be taken directly to that page in blekko):

Slashtag Search

And, of course, blekko is on the personal/social search bandwagon, with features like the ability to create your own list of slashtags and share them with your friends. You can also jump into a chat with other users or see a feed of updates of other users’ activity globally:

blekko Chatter

If you’re looking for a step-by-step, check out the blekko demo.

What Does it Look Like?

I’ll show you just a couple features so you can see some of the data blekko offers up on websites to facilitate research. I’ll use TheOatmeal.com as an example. A search for The Oatmeal serves up these results:

The Oatmeal blekko

Compare that to the same search in Google:

The Oatmeal Google

Once on the SERP in blekko, you have the ability to find data on that website by using the tabs underneath the title of the site. You can even modify which tools you’d like to see in your search result:

blekko tools

If you select the “SEO” tab, you are served up information such as the following:

The Oatmeal blekko SEO

If you select the duplicate content tab under the SEO page, you can see how many sites raise duplicate content issues for that particular site:

The Oatmeal blekko Duplicate Content

Does blekko Matter?

As far as the blekko-Google comparison goes, a recent article by Andy Beal that talked two huge problems that will prevent mainstream success for blekko had a closing point that I think hits the nail on the head:  blekko might not be trying to go mainstream. It might not be intending to rival Google. It may just end up being a place users can access different information than Google and a place for SEOs to get some great data on websites in its index.

What are your thoughts?

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16 responses to “Blekko for Dummies”

  1. Klaus Junginger writes:

    Killer post.

    One of the main complaints around Blekko in Brazil is that it´s hard to use. We´re looking forward over here to see this engine growing in a consistant way as users become more familiar with it.

    Tchau

    Klaus

  2. Patricia Skinner writes:

    I think that Andy Beal is only partly right. I think we’ll all be totally surprised by how many people like Blekko better than Google. I like it better already!

  3. LinkMünki writes:

    This is exactly it! This is a great post.
    All I have heard from people is that it isn’t google, oh it won’t replace google, this and that google, without realising that those of us who have playing with it in beta, like it for that reason.
    I hope it never is like google, it gives me so much more information that google hoards, it is a fantastic tool, it will need decent numbers of users in order to keep its head up in that cut-throat world of search engines, but I’m gonna stick with it.

  4. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hey Klaus, yeah it took me a few minutes to get around it but once I got used to the features, it seems a lot simpler. We’re so used to Google doing all the thinking for us! Thanks for the comment!

  5. David Blizzard writes:

    It is sad to think we might only have 2 players in search, Bing and Google, so I hope Blekko can succeed. Others have tried and failed even before getting out of the gate, so why would Blekko succeed? For one I think their approach is semi-new. In their early days Google was picked up by techies and that helped them with their initial growth. I think Blekko has improved on that angle and this gives them a chance. The SEO and Internet Marketing community have a strong voice and it carries far and wide. Blekko.com as an SEO and PPC tool is competitive on day one, and it’s free. News travels fast…

  6. Jessica Lee writes:

    Yes, we will have to see! I do like the ease of data it gives upfront, but not sure if it’s going to replace Google per say. Could be a fad. Thanks for the support, Patricia!

  7. Jessica Lee writes:

    I think you’re right. Trying to compete with Google against what it does best would be silly. Instead, blekko is trying to offer something different for its users. Thanks for joining the conversation!

  8. Andy Kuiper writes:

    I was really wanting to like Blekko, but after playing with it for two days, I have to agree with Andy Beal… I’m really disappointed.
    Andy :-)

  9. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hey Andy, thanks for the comment — do tell — what do you like/dislike?

  10. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi, David. Thanks for the thoughtful insight. I think it would be really hard for the “average” user to shift focus from Google to another search engine; but you’re right, if it becomes a really useful tool to the industry, it could grow fast.

  11. Rob Metras writes:

    Tools that don’t take on 800 lb gorillas have a much better chance of not being extinct shortly. The gorilla sometimes may be pervasive but it cannot move as swiftly as a different animal.Variety and different viewpoints strengthen the arsenal. Thanks for the post Jessica

  12. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi Rob, I’m glad you liked it and thanks for weighing in!

  13. Chris Wheeler writes:

    I have been going round Blekko, but cannot see what all the fuss is about?

  14. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi Chris, did you find it helped you with research at all?

  15. Jessie Reynolds writes:

    Blekko is definitely a cool new search engine. The slash tag feature is unique and gives it an edge that people will be interested in. However, I do not think it will ever reach the popularity of Google due to it’s complicated nature. I think Google’s greatest strengths is it’s simplicity; it’s so easy anyone can use it to it’s full potential. Blekko is not like that.

    Coming from someone who doesn’t have a lot of time on her hands, having to learn how to use a search engine does not appeal to me when I have Google available. Of course I took the time to learn about Blekko, but I’m in the industry. I don’t think the average person will want to do that.

    I’ve done some research and I think the best new search engine is Bweezy. Similar name, but very different from Blekko. Bweezy offers Google results, which I love. It also lets you open search results in the same window as the search, which eliminates the need to open a ton of tabs! I’d check it out if you’re into new search engines.

  16. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi Jessie, thank you for the great feedback! I agree with you that the average person probably would still choose Google — unless blekko invests a ton of effort in advertising to generate awareness and teach people all the great features. I will definitely check out Bweezy … thanks for the tip!



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