Tag Archives: Blekko

Yet another irritating Google feature

There was a time when Google would aggregate pages from the same website in your search results. There might be just a couple of entries for the site with a “More from….” link next to the result.

Google More From

Alternatively you might see a mini sitemap:

Google result for UKeiG

This has the advantage that you are not swamped with results from a single website but are given instead a variety of options that might provide you with a better answer to your question.

Not any more.

You may have noticed that multiple entries from single websites have started appearing in your results. For example, rather than just one Wikipedia entry you see 4, 5, 6 or even more. On the other hand, you might not have noticed anything at all. Some of my colleagues are seeing this and some are not. Google tests new features and algorithms on a small percentage of its users to see how they react so new or test features are not seen by everyone (see How Google makes improvements to its search algorithm – YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5RZOU6vK4Q). As far as I’m concerned this particular “improvement” is a disaster.

I was running a very general search on the use of biofuels by public transport in the UK. I just want to get an idea of some of the issues that were being discussed before refining my search and went, by default, to Google. My first screen had nothing but results from the UK government Department for Transport (DfT).

Google search DFT

I scrolled down and saw more DfT pages. I scrolled down further and yet MORE dft pages. OK, Google, so dft.gov.uk is a good place for me to look at biofuels in public transport. I get the message. STOP! There were 27 DfT pages in total flooding the top of my results page, which I have set to display 100 entries at a time. Creeping in at number 28 came the Guardian with 5 results.

Google biofuels search Guardian

The Friends of the Earth website had 7 results, and then at last I started to see more variety in my results at around number 40, but still with a lot of repetition.


Google Biofuels

Google may think that the DfT is a very important source of information on the topic but I want to decide whether or not to explore more of a particular site. Spamming my results list annoys me and makes me want to go elsewhere. So I did.

DuckDuckGo (http://www.duckduckgo.com/) is my main Google alternative and it came up with a decent and varied set of results without repetition, hesitation or deviation.

Duck Duck Go biofuels search

Bing (http://www.bing.com/) and Yandex (http://www.yandex.com/) came up with similar, non-repetitive results.

Blekko (http://www.blekko.com/) came up with some interesting alternative pages for me to consider. These would not have been that useful to me in the earlier stages of my research but this test confirmed my feeling that Blekko is good at pulling up information that explores more than the mainstream issues.

Blekko results for test search


If you want to stay with Google how do you deal with multiple listings of sites? The most obvious approach would be to incorporate a ‘-site:’ command in your search, for example:

biofuels public transport -site:dft.gov.uk

If you are conducting in depth research and are likely to be running many variations on a search, incorporating ‘-site:’ each time can become a chore. Google’s own browser Chrome has a Personal Blocklist extension that enables you to block selected sites from results (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nolijncfnkgaikbjbdaogikpmpbdcdef). Once installed a block link appears next to each entry in your results. Click on the link to block the site from all future results. A message appears at the bottom of searches that would normally contain pages from the blocked site warning you about exclusions.

Blocklist message

The ‘show’ link displays and highlights the previously blocked pages and offers an option to unblock them.

Unblock option

Neither the -site: option nor the Blocklist approach should be necessary. There was nothing wrong with the previous ways of offering additional pages from a site in search results. It wasn’t broke but Google did break it by trying to fix it. For me, there are now several Google alternatives that produce quality results and with less irritation. I shall be using them more in future.

Presentation: Search Turns Social – Resistance is Futile

The presentation I gave to CILIP in Hants & Wight yesterday (Search Turns Social – Resistance is Futile) is now available on authorSTREAM at http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/karenblakeman-1392940-search-turns-social-resistance-futile/

It is also available on Slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/KarenBlakeman/search-turns-social-resistance-is-futile and temporarily on my web site at http://www.rba.co.uk/as/

Yahoo Site Explorer closes – try Blekko instead

A reminder that Yahoo Site Explorer is closing down tomorrow (November 21st ) and I assume that the link and linkdomain commands will go with it, although they are not specifically mentioned (http://www.ysearchblog.com/2011/11/18/site-explorer-reminder/). Webmasters are being told to use Bing Webmaster Tools. This enables you to analyse links to your own domains but is no use if you want to find who links to other web sites as part of research. Bing, or Live.com as it then was, removed its link and linkdomain commands in November/December 2007 and Yahoo was left as the only reliable alternative. The link command enabled you to find who linked to a specific page on the web and linkdomain found links to anywhere on a specified web site. Both were useful ways of finding other sites containing similar content and discovering what others were saying about a page. Google’s link command is useless as it picks up a minuscule number of results, which now leaves Blekko (http://blekko.com/) as the only realistic alternative.

Blekko enables you to track down linked pages in two ways but both lead to the same results. The first is to use their slashtags ‘/links’ and ‘/domainlinks’ with a URL or domain name. For example http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/registers.htm /links will find pages that link to my official company registers page whereas http://www.rba.co.uk/ /domainlinks finds all inbound links to my site rba.co.uk.

The second route is via your search results. Below each entry is a downwards pointing arrow. Click on this and select ‘links’ from the pop-up box.

Blekko Lonks


You will then see a list of sites that link to that page.

To view inbound links to the whole of the web site click on the seo option below the result and you will see some statistics together with the total number of inbound links.

Blekko SEO


Click on the inbound links number and Blekko presents you with a list of domains containing links to yours and how many.


Blekko Domain Links


To see exactly where the links are located and where they go to on your site just click on the number in the links column.


Blekko inbound links


I have only looked in detail at a couple of sites but Blekko seems to do a good job and is certainly far superior to Google. The Blekko data on my own site seems to correspond with that available from Bing Webmaster Tools but of course I cannot compare other sites in the same way. My initial thoughts are that for link searching Blekko is definitely worth adding to your research toolkit.