It’s a funny time to let your search engine loose for public beta, right when another one, cuil, shuts down its servers. I know that there is also a lot of the talk around about Blekko, even on techcrunch and cnet, that it can’t compete with 10 ton gorilla Google. Even CEO, Rich Skrenta, of DMOZ and Topix fame, concedes that, “we’re cool with being number three.” There is also a lot of criticism of slash tags, that visitors must have an account and be logged to fully use the slash tag feature, which is lame. It is also claimed that slashtags are unwieldy for the average user. After all, part of what made Google so popular was that there was no thinking involved, and the people hate thinking. Slash tags are just not intended for the masses. Honestly, screw the masses, this is a new toy for SEO’s. The Blekko rhetoric is an SEO dream; in the spirit of “appropriate dicoverability” it’s search bill of rights makes claims that we can only imagine google asserting in our wildest dreams, “search will be open,” “rank data shall not be kept secret,” oh, and, “search engine tools shall be open to all.” Personally, I think this is the audience that Blekko is catering to, in what seems to be becoming search politics, where searchers are becoming increasingly concerned about privacy and Webmasters/SEO’s feel scorned by the big search engines policy.
Okay, I had to address the blekko-doomsdayers because I like it and I think that it does have a niche place in the world of search, especially for power users. Now I can move on to the cool stuff….
The SEO information that Blekko offers includes:
- inbound links – I’ll talk about how reliable Blekko Inbound link data is and it’s use as a linkbuilding and competitive analysis tool
- anchor text distribution data – you were only able get this information by paid subscription prior to bekko…that I know of…
- duplicate content data – not only shows you where the duplicate content on your site is but also who is jacking your content as well, will talk more about this one more below.
- site comparison feature – useful for spotting canonical issues, comparative analysis, and linkbuilding research, discussed in more detail below
- pages indexed by blekko – Blekko only has about a 3 billion page crawl next to Google that pathetic….I don’t think anyone will be trying to rank in blekko.
- crawl data – this is good for telling how old the data blekko is providing may be, older more trusted sites get crawled more completely and more frequently then small sites. This is a good way of testing the reliability of the data, especially because Blekko’s data is so incomplete.
Accessing Blekko SEO Tools: For the sake of being comprehensive, this data can be found by running the search and looking under the result in the same place where you see the cache for the Google search or typing in ‘webuildpages.com /seo‘ in the search bar or the toolbar search bar. From there you can look at the information by domain or by URL and there are four tabs for inbound links, crawl stats, site pages, compare, and duplicate content.
Inbound Links: How Good is Blekko Backlink Data from a Stand Alone Perspective?
When I first saw Blekko, the idea of having a new place to get link data was instantly appealing. But how reliable is the link data that they provide? I was especially curious about how Blekko’s link data performs compared to yahoo as well as third party link data providers, SEOMoz Linkscape and majesticSEO. The standard by which you would judge the value of link data is singularly how much do the numbers resemble that of the big seach engines, google and yahoo-bing. In a wonderful post by Vanessa Fox, Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land, she evaluates the backlink numbers for searchengineland.com using Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo, Linkscape, and Majestic, alongside the results provided by Blekko. Predictably, Blekko dragged behind the others in the number of links recorded. However, Vanessa Fox notes, other tools are useful because of the competitive data they provide, even if their data is incomplete.
Reading this did not fully satisfy my curiosity about Blekko’s link data, because the analysis was run on only one site, so I decided to run my own little comparative test with three small sites. I did a comparison of Yahoo, MajesticSEO, Linkscape, and Blekko. For all three of my sites, MajesticSEO picked up the most backlinks and Blekko lagged somewhere in the same neighborhood as the Linkscape numbers. Overall, I think the backlink data Blekko provides is definitely not the absolute best but it is not horrible either, it a just gestural data to be used in conjunction with other tools. So what can I use here?
Inbound Links: Given this, how can I still use Blekko Backlink Data?
I absolutely love the way Blekko organizes their backlink information, they are ordered by most trusted, according to their ‘host rank’. This is a huge asset in two ways:
a.) If you’re a linkbuilder looking at backlinks to build your list you’re looking at the most trusted backlinks first. You can dive into a whole link neighborhood, especially a client’s competitors and get a glimpse at their best links and add those site contacts to your email list. Beyond that, you can dive even deeper and see who is linking out to those people, and if that other trusted page has a lot of trusted link, you can take advantage of that as well. Another thing you can do is run the most trusted sites in your space, especially since it looks like Blekko crawls deeper on really trusted sites, and add those websites backlinks to your email list.
b.) If you are doing competitor analysis; that is, trying to analyze competitor backlink profiles to exploit to add to your own link numbers, you can get a neat glimpse of how much trust competitors are bringing in, using Blekko to look at their most trusted links. This way, you can see if the type of links that your competitor has is affecting their ranks and you can also get another identifier for what kind of linkbuilding method they’re using. I personally think any tool you can use to get link data on your competitors should be exploited – and Blekko is such a tool and thus, should be used for this endeavor.
c) Blekko also gives you a neat pie chart on your link distribution by state and by country. I don’t think that this data is the most reliable but there is something about charts and graphs never fails to impress me…
Duplicate Content Data:
Blekko’s duplicate content feature is useful in several ways. The first is obvious, you can see if you have duplicate content on your site. It helps you find out who is jacking your stuff, ranked by who jacks your stuff the most. However, my favorite is using the duplicate content 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 whois information next to website name.
Site Comparison Feature:
The site comparison feature, like the others I have discussed, can be used for a variety of SEO purposes. Pierre Far, of ekstreme.com, talks about using the site comparison feature to estimate problem-size of canonical URL issues on your site. 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.
The site comparison feature gets even cooler when you compare with other sites. For Domain Link Stats, you can compare inbound links, inbound domains, and cross links. Blekko will also compare the Domain Top Ranked pages for the two websites being compared. Although these two pieces of information are the two most useful that I found, Blekko will also give you comparative Domain Crawl Stats, and Top Inbound Sites By Host Rank, (which is one of their valuation tool for the Blekko engine). It’s worth saying that although Blekko’s information is incomplete, it does povide great information on trusted links.
I actually really like the site comparison feature for when you’re starting just breaking into a linkbuilding campaign. Basically, what you do is click on over to the compare tab and fill in your competitors domain name in the “compare ‘ ‘ with ‘ ‘” box and you’ll get some results, with a varying level of link data quality (it is Blekko, not Google). Blekko arranges link data into three lists, your links, your competitors links and links that are common to you both. This is not the cool part though, what I like is that you can click on any one of your competitors backinks in Blekko and it will show you all the SEO data for the site you clicked on. This allows you to really explore your and your competitors link neighborhood and you can let them do all the work and get some of their best links, if you have a sound linkbuilding action plan in place.
- You can search for sites in a google ad network through an adsense ID “site.com /adsense.”
- They have a easy IP search ‘webuildpages.com /ip‘ and view site rss feed ‘webuildpages.com /rss‘, which is cool if you use their toolbar.
- Blekko gives pretty decent on page seo info ‘webuildpages.com / urlseo‘, including the page backlink data and anchor text distribution for that data.
- Bekko A Search Engine which Is Also A Killer SEO Tool: By Aaron Wall, SEOBook, a brief tour of Blekko SEO Features, with a few neat tips between the lines. There is a cool interview that Aaron did with Rich Skrenta that I enjoyed reading, which I thought was worth sharing as well
- Link Data From Blekko: By Dixon Jones, Receptional Internet Marketing Company, analyzing link data that Blekko provides.
- Blekko for Dummies: By Jessica Lee, Bruce Clay Inc, neat basic information that I passed over in writing this article but that you can catch up on here.
- Blekko Update: Mechanical Turk Meets Algorithmic Web Search: By Andrew Goodman, Traffick blog, evaluates the Blekko slashtag, concluding that it does not work. It also provides some commentary on other Blekko features.
- Cloud Computing: Blekko Challanges Google, Yahoo, Bing for Search Engine Share: By Clint Boulton, discusses the use of slashtags and how they target certain verticals.
FYI, I think Comments are fixed…so yay!
-By marketing ninja bonnie