By the end of this month, traffic to Blekko is expected to almost quadruple since the beginning of January 2012. The site has witnessed a 337% rise in unique visitors – unique IPs checking in at 5.33 million so far this month from just around 1.58 million of them in December, which is indeed a dramatic rise for a not-so-famous search engine! According to research agency comScore, it now gets nearly triple the traffic of DuckDuckGo. The search company has its own logic and reasons to explain an impressive set of numbers.
So what are the factors behind Blekko’s stupendous rise in the last few months? Rich Skrenta, the CEO of ‘slashtags’ search engine, attributes the traffic spike to its following key features:
- Enhanced index quality; an upgrade including a bigger index for better long-tail search results
- Precise and rational curating of the web for relevant results
- Open and transparent approach in making available all of the data to its users, which acts as the underpinning of its search results
- Solid distribution partnerships is another factor; 1-800-Flowers and Lavasoft are among its latest partners that add value to the search site. The latter helps it decide which websites are unsafe. It’s also powering search for ad-aware product of Lavasoft.
- Its savvy marketing and promotion that involves participation in various user-centric events and conferences.
Among other reasons for its sudden rise is the shutting of Yahoo Site Explorer. To capitalize on the growth momentum in the recent times, Blekko has already started vigorous efforts to monetize its traffic flow through search ads. Currently, relying on ad fees from Bing and other engines and still to build its own ad network, the company is in the process of ironing out certain kinks, testing out the RPMs (page revenue per every thousand ad units).
It also recently came up with a FireFox plugin to let some of its popular search features functional on other search engines. The plugin allows users to mark spam sites, to evaluate SEO data/ backlinks, and to sort results date-wise. It always has slashtags – ‘mls listings /real estate’, and ‘resume writing tips /jobs’, being among a few recent ones. Outlining its philosophy, one of its official blog posts mentions:
“Our team of engineers continues to work hard behind the scenes to make blekko the game-changing search engine. We finished the (last) year strong with a new index, increasing the number of slashtags we autofire to 500 and a slick new UI. All the while, staying true to our mission; we believe users will like the results our editorial voice delivers better than the competition. The important point though is that there is an alternative choice. The access point to information is too important and users deserve choice.”
Viewing search engines as editorial products, the tool strives to serve users an ‘alternative editorial voice in the domain’, based on source based, instead of link based ranking (where brands trump links) and a spam free experience. It relies primarily on human curation, leveraging expertise on various topics, to add a holistic touch to it.