by Courtney Ramirez
Successful content writing is about two things – using the right keywords and creating engaging content. And the second part is where research can really stump you. There are dozens of ways to find the right keywords and in many cases your client is providing them. But where do you go to find great research to create engaging, compelling and (most importantly) accurate content?
The truth is – it can be hard. With websites like ehow.com and other content farms paying writers a pittance to produce keyword rich content, even the simplest of keyword searches can produce poorly written, barely researched and inaccurate information. It’s gotten to the point where the first page of Google is completely unreliable for some keyword terms.
In addition, it can often be hard to get information from the right perspective that fits your client’s needs and individual perspective. Take global warming for instance. If you’re working on an article from a client that is coming from a conservative point of view, how are you going to find the right resources that support that view?
Fortunately, there’s a new search engine that has solved both of these problems for me, and I hope you get a lot of mileage out of it as well. It’s called Blekko.com and despite the funny name (it reminds me of trying to give my kids medicine) it has some great features that make it an excellent research tool for writers who care about accuracy and perspective.
Blekko.com is good for search for two specific reasons. First, it is being heralded as the world’s first “spam free” search engine. The team at Blekko actively works to eliminate spam from their results. In fact, they have completely banned a list of 20 sites from their search engine results that are considered to be content farms (see the list). This reduces my search time significantly because I don’t have to wade through dozens of results from AnswerBag and other similar sites. If you see a site in the listing that isn’t appropriate, you can click the “spam” link and it will be removed from your personal search results.
On top of this, Blekko categorizes results with what it calls “slashtags” – these take a little getting used to but are really helpful when you get the hang of it. A slashtag is a way of classifying information within the search. So for our “global warming” search, we’d use “global warming/conservative” and Blekko pulls up a list of results from websites with a conservative point of view. The same goes for /liberal or /ecofriendly.
Slashtags can also help you organize information by date, which is critical if your content is related to a specific event and you need to get the latest. Other slashtags can be used to narrow down your results to specific websites (like /youtube if you want to see videos on the topic).
Finally, Blekko makes search easier for me because I can create a customized list of my own slashtags with websites and resources that I prefer to use. While I haven’t used this feature as much, I look forward to exploring it more.
There’s a lot of bad content online – so it’s important to choose your sources wisely for creating the original and engaging content that your clients are looking for. Give Blekko a try and it might make your writing process easier. Be sure to watch the intro video and you’ll be using slashtags like a pro in no time.
Courtney Ramirez is owner and head copywriter at Six Degrees Content, where she blogs about content marketing and connecting with search engines and readers. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyRamirez or @6DegreesContent.