Despite a name that sounds almost self-parodying, the new Blekko search engine is worth your attention. Currently still in beta testing, Blekko is planning a public debut later this fall. The site seems pretty liberal with beta-testing invites, though, so you might be able to get in early to see what’s coming.
Not a Google Killer
Unlike some other search engines, Blekko isn’t out to dominate the market, but rather to satisfy a specific niche of users looking for specially filtered searches. Using a query-line syntax called “slash tags,” Blekko filters out the junk listings. In their own words:
Blekko is a better way to search the web by using slashtags. Slashtags search only the sites you want and cut out the spam sites. Use friends, experts, community or your own slashtags to slash in what you want and slash out what you don’t.
A slash tag restricts your search to a select group of sites hand-picked to be relevant to your needs. There are some Blekko slashtags built in, but to me these are just examples to follow. The real power of slashtags comes from building your own. Essentially you’re creating lists of authority sites you trust to return useful results.
You can also apply other users’ slashtags. For example, if you’re a beta tester, you can try this search:
The search will cover a handful of sites I recommend and use for copywriting advice. As of this writing, it turns up 22 results, all of which appear (from the page titles) to be close matches for the topic of headlines. Of course, you can combine slashtags to create a super-refined query.
All this sounds neat and useful, especially as more people get involved and their slashtag lists become available. How that will work is yet to be fully explained, but it could be a great asset if it is achieved. Imagine searching with the slashtags from an industry giant or a respected pundit or even a notorious celebrity.
New Strategies for Search Engine Optimization
I know what you’re thinking: Blekko offers some interesting search techniques. So what?
Well, here’s the unadvertised killer feature.
I’m sure you can see why this feature is so powerful. On one hand, you can see what your peers and competitors are doing — right and wrong. On the other, you can check up on yourself and find out who’s linking to you and how they’re doing it. Can you imagine a few ways you could use this information to improve your search engine rankings?
Like I said above, I doubt Blekko is going to become the dominant player in the search industry, but as a specialized niche provider, Blekko offers some powerful and appealing features.