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specialty search enginesWhat’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words ‘search engine’? That’s right, Google. Lets face it, Google has such a stranglehold on the search world that you probably forgot that other search engines even existed. That being said, Google is very good at what they do, mainly because their search algorithm is good at what it does.

Enter Blekko, a highly anticipated specialty search engine that was built with the intention of letting us do the kinds of searches that simply can’t be done anywhere else.

They’ve integrated a feature called slashtags, which basically lets you “slash-in” the sites you want in your searches and “slash-out” the ones you don’t. If you’re looking for a specific set of websites, this is your search engine.

In this article, I’ll show you around Blekko a little bit, discuss how the search engine works, what its features are and how it can be useful to you. If you’re at least a little skeptical about the idea of using a new specialty search engine, I don’t blame you, but rest assured when I tell you…Blekko’s legit.

Blekko: How To Slash The Web

specialty search engines

Before I get into how Blekko works I think its best that you watch this video. Below I’ll be using some terminology that you might not fully understand at first (I know I didn’t) if you’re new to Blekko, so viewing this should fill you in on how this all works.


To get a better idea of the thought process that went into creating Blekko, take a look at the “web search bill of rights” as displayed on their website:

  1. Search shall be open.
  2. Search results shall involve people.
  3. Ranking data shall not be kept secret.
  4. Web data shall be readily available.
  5. There is no one-size-fits-all for search.
  6. Advanced search shall be accessible.
  7. Search engine tools shall be open to all.
  8. Search & community go hand-in-hand.
  9. Spam does not belong in search results.
  10. Privacy of searchers shall not be violated.

What Exactly Is a Slashtag?

Now that you have a high-level view of how Blekko works, lets get into some of the specifics.

specialty searches

As you may have gathered from the video, Blekko allows you to search the web using slashtags. A slashtag is a tool to filter search results. Rather than searching the entire web, you can use a slashtag to filter the results just the way you want them. In Blekko, there are different types of slashtags, including:

User Slashtags

These are the slashtags that are made by you and every other user of Blekko. They are your own personal tags for what you believe to be the best sites on the web for various topics.

Built-In Slashtags

These are slashtags that tell Blekko to search a specific type of site, like blogs, news, specific people, etc.

Topic Slashtags

Topic slashtags are created by Blekko to search only the top sites for specific topics. Examples of this would be things like health, conservative, liberal, tech, VC, etc.

What You Can Do With Slashtags

Once you start searching with Blekko,  you can make your own slashtags. You can make a slashtag as narrow (e.g. /scuba) or as broad (e.g. /favorites) as you like and they can include all of your favorite sites.

specialty searches

You can also find a friend’s slashtag to get an idea of how they use Blekko. While Blekko has hundreds of topic slashtags already created, they say you can tweet them (@blekko) if “you think any are missing sites or if you have ideas for other topics.”

Main Search Bar & User Profile

Blekko search results return the title of the site, the associated URL and a snippet from the site that contains the relevant keyword(s) you searched. You can sort search results by relevance (/relevance) or date (/date) to get the most relevant or recent results.

specialty search engines

As Blekko crawls the web, it gathers a variety of data about specific sites. You can access all of this information from various buttons, like links, RSS, IP, cache, etc.

If you create a user profile (you should if you want to create your own slashtags), you can view a list of the slashtags you’ve created, as well as a list of other users’ slashtags you’re following and the edits you’ve made to your slashtags.


There is a lot more you can do with Blekko but perhaps it’s best that you get out there and try it for yourself. You can find some examples of quality slashtag searches on their About page, along with other various information and Help with anything you are curious about.

What do you think of this new search engine? Do you see a use for it?

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  1. Tina
    November 15, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Great article Steve!

    • Steve Campbell
      November 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks, Tina!!

  2. RefBra
    November 13, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Dang, this is great!

  3. MuscArto
    November 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    1000 x thanks for this real cool & handy tip about Blekko.

    i have already try this out............. and i just loved :)

    especially 4 the fact of good search result and without all that trash of adds (like Google do)

  4. MuscArto
    November 13, 2010 at 12:45 am

    1000 x thanks for this real cool & handy tip about Blekko.

    i have already try this out............. and i just loved :)

    especially 4 the fact of good search result and without all that trash of adds (like Google do)