Although much less popular than Google and Bing, Blekko popularity is growing rapidally. At first glance, Blekko is quite similar to these major search engines, however its added value lays in its 'slashtags'. Slashtags are simply filters that limit the search results to predefined websites or domains. These websites usually have a common topic, that is implied by the slsahtag name (For example, the slashtag '/vegan' includes only websites about vegan food).
In addition, Blekko has some 'built-in' (i.e. reserved) slashtags like '/blogs', '/forums', and '/people', that supposed to filter search results automaticaly (i.e. without predefinition). Also, some of these reserved tags is used for other purposes like account managment and SEO (the latter are available only for premium users) .
- Slashtags directory -- Blekko has a list of their favorite slashtags. These slagshtags usually created by Belkko team or major specialized websites like Triporati or Stackoverflow (these slashtags are usually created trough the Blekko team user). In order to see this list, one should use the reserved slashtags [/directory] or [/tags].
- Auto slashtags -- Blekko has an algorithm that tries to match the best slashtag for a given query. After matching the apropriate slashtag, Blekko auto-boosts the results that related to this slashtag. However, this algorithm is far from perfect. For example, the keyword 'jaguar' is interperated by the algorithm as kind of vehicle, and therefore trigger the slashtag '/car '. In order to get results that related to other meaning of the word, like the animal or the football team, one should use the reserved slashtag '/web' ( i.e. [jaguar /web]) , that disables the auto-slashtaging. Also one may use other slashtags like '/biology' or '/football' to limit the search results to the desired category.
- Combine slashtags -- one may combine two slashtags (or more) in order to limit the search results only to domains or websites that are included in both slashtags (e.g. [jelly bean /tech /forums]).
- Sort by date -- The '/date' slashtag sorts the search results. One may also limit the search results to specific date range (e.g. [(ses OR pubcon) /seoblogs /date=2012]).
- RSS feeds -- one may combine the '/rss' slashtag in order to get RSS feed for a given query (e.g. [google updates /seoblogs /date /rss])
- Negation -- Like Google search, one may use the "'-" operator to exclude web-pages that contains specific words (e.g. [jelly bean -android]). Similarly, one may eliminate search results from specified slashtag. For example, the query [hugo winner -/top10/top100] will yield the results for the query [hugo winners] whithout the results from Blekko's top 100 websites.
- Slashtag 'Overview' -- Every slashtag (except for the reserved slashtags) has an 'Overview' page. This is the place where one can review and edit the slashtag (The latter is avalable only for the editor in chief and the co-editors of this slashtag). One may switch to the slashtag 'Overview' page simply by using the reserved '/view' slashtag (e.g. [/small-business /view]).
- Create Slashtags -- After creating a user account, one may create his own slashtag by using the reserved slashtag [/add]. However, you don't have to build it from scratch. Just go to an existing slashtag (e.g. [/sem /view]) and click on the 'copy this tag' link on the bottom right. One may also include others or his own slashtags in a given slashtag (e.g. [/travel /view]). The latter will pull the websites from the included slashtags dynamically.
- Edit others' slashtags -- One may ask to edit slashtags by switching to the slashtag 'Overview' page (e.g. [/seoblogs /view ] and click on the link 'apply to be an editor' on the right column.
- Private slashtags - By default, every slashtags is visable for all users (includes unregistered users). However, when creating new slashtag one can choose to 'Make this slashtag private' so only he will see and use this slashtag.
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Yaniv is an independent writer that inquires search engines in general and topical search engines in particular. He also explores methods for optimizing custom-built search engines.