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Blekko Adds Over 500 Auto-Slashing Categories, New User Interface, Improved Index

Blekko, the slashtags search engine announced a significant improvements the User Interface, to index quality and relevance which increases their “auto slashing” for over 500 categories. That means users will get the benefit of curated search results (i.e. no spam!) for over 500 search categories, regardless of whether or not they manually append a slashtag to their query.

Blekko Improvements to indexing, over 500 slashtags categories, new ui

New design and user interface
Blekko has launched a new UI with a black menu bar across the top of the screen. “We are excited about the look and feel; it’s a sleek, nice way to produce search results and we think users are really going to like it,” Mike Markson, co-founder and VP-Marketing said.

Automatic slashtags (“auto slashing”) for over 500 categories
Blekko says it’s now automatically applying slashtags to more than 500 new categories, even when the searcher doesn’t actually use a slashtag. Markson, explains “believes you’re better off as a user not searching the entire internet, but the top sites, because that’s where the quality content resides.” When they first launched, said Markson, they “autofired” slashtags on eight categories. When the engine could tell which category the query belonged to, it automatically applied the slashtag to limit the query to just the top 50 to 100 quality sites within that vertical.

Blekko users will notice this on queries like gucci handbags and planning a baby shower.

Significant improvements to index quality and relevance
Skrenta says will help surface relevant results for more long-tail queries than before. “These are searches where there doesn’t tend to be a lot of spam, the needle in a haystack kind of queries.” “We don’t think a search engine can ‘win’ on these queries, but it can definitely ‘lose’ on them. We do substantially better on these queries, with fewer misses than before. The result is a substantial quality boost on blekko for queries in the top 500 spammiest categories, and vastly improved results for the rest of the search tail.”

Markson says our goal is to give users the benefit of an alternative editorial voice in search, here is our approach:

  • Quality: We purposefully bias our index away from sites with low quality content.
  • Source based, not link based ranking: regardless of how many people link to healthspamsite.com, we believe sites like the Mayo Clinic, NIH.gov, etc. are better sites. On blekko, brands trump links.
  • Spam Free: blekko hates spam. We want users to get their information from quality sites designed to inform, not just monetize.
  • Human Curation: Their are subject matter experts in the community that will know more about specific topics than anyone in this office or any other office for that matter. We want to include these experts in our search experience, not exclude them.
  • Open and Transparent: blekko makes freely available to its users all of the data that provide the underpinning of our search results.

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