Our first entry in this series explained how niche search engines rely on differentiation to attract users. Blekko is quite ambitious in this regard by offering a very different user experience, compared to Google or Bing.
Since its launch in 2010, Blekko’s focus has been on user intent and content quality. When we consult with clients about their onsite content, we tell them to write for users – not search engines. If they only cared about their Blekko ranking however, such advice wouldn’t be worth mentioning. Blekko strives to provide the narrowest set of quality results possible by eliminating any page that looks like it’s desperate for clicks. By using a Wikipedia-like editing system in combination with a proprietary algorithm, thin content, ad-filled pages, and duplicate content are blocked.
Blekko helps users narrow down their searches even further with “slashtags.” For example [wine] can return many different types of results. But by using slashtags like [wine /napa] [wine /recipes] [wine /reviews], users can find more relevant content.
In an update last year, Blekko changed its interface to get rid of the “ten blue links” every other search engine seems to use. Now when a user performs a search, they get different categories of curated content, each containing two search results (which can be expanded). The categories presented can vary widely, depending on the search query.
With its curated and categorized results, Blekko can be useful for serious researchers who have time to really dive into the content related to their queries.