Think Google and Bing are the only ones fighting for your queries? Think again. Blekko, a new search engine, is now available to the public. Why would you use Blekko instead of the superpower Google? The answer is slashtags.

Blekko’s claim to fame is that they offer a more personalized vertical search, meaning that you can search for a term in a niche of websites. For example, if you wanted to search for Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy routine, but you don’t want to know about his TV show statistics or latest tweets, you could search in a group of websites devoted to comedy.

To do that, you would type in the search bar “Jerry Seinfeld /humor” and that would bring up results from websites that Blekko has categorized as funny. The top result are his remarks concerning Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga–now that’s funny.

The example from Blekko’s own website is global warming. You can take that search term and add a slashtag to get a one-sided argument. Type in “global warming /liberal” and you’ll get very different results than when you type in “global warming /conservative.”

If this were the only cool thing about Blekko, I’d pass, but they also offer the option to permanently remove a result from your searches. If you click the “spam” button next to the link, it will never show up again.

If you’re an SEO professional, you’re going to drool over the information Blekko offers you when you click the “seo” button above any link in the organic results. It opens up a screenshot that looks like this:

This screen tells you where your links are coming from, how many there are, and a lot of other data.

Here’s another cool SEO feature. If you type in “search engine optimization /rank” you can see Blekko’s ranking page. On this page you can see the final score that was assigned to each keyword, to determine why it ranked where it did.

You’re also told broadly whether the site ranks because of domain factors (is the word in the domain name?), anchor factors (is the word in the anchor or link text pointing at the page?), title factors (is the word in the page’s HTML title tag?) and URL factors (is the word in the page’s URL?).

That’s something that Google and Bing don’t offer, and SEO professionals are wondering if Blekko’s unique features are enough to keep them alive in the jungle of search.

Jamie Bates