Research Your Writing With Blekko – A Review

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 slashtag search 300x59 Research Your Writing With Blekko   A Review

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.

About Guest Writer

This post was written by a guest writer. We've had some great guest posts on writing on Get Paid to Write Online. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Comments

  1. I am going to look at this one. The Google just slapped a bunch of content sites hard last week, though eHow was one that seems to have been left untouched, according to the sites that track this sort of thing.
    James Schipper wants you to read How to Escape your 300-Mile Circle and See the WorldMy Profile

  2. I started using Blekko about a month ago and love it!
    Dana wants you to read Get More Mileage from Your Web Content WritingMy Profile

  3. Blekko sounds like a really practical search engine, Courtney — even if its name is strange! ;-) Thanks for sharing all this helpful info on it. Slashtags sound like they could help narrow our searches considerably, saving plenty of time, effort, and frustration — which is always nice! The ability to use these tags as a tool for eliminating less-than-authoritative content from our results is sure to prove a boon to serious writers everywhere.

    Thanks again! Will definitely have to check this out!

  4. Glad you guys enjoyed the article and the resource! It’s been a neat tool! Interestingly enough, Google decided last week to drop many content farms out of the top search results (although ehow is still ranking well). It will be interesting to see how this all develops – it’s the rise of real content! woo hoo!
    Courtney Ramirez wants you to read My Six Favorite Online Work ToolsMy Profile

    • It’s fascinating to hear that Google is dropping many of these sites from its results, too. That’s definitely good news. Perhaps it will serve to discourage website owners from engaging in this sort of high-quantity/low-quality, low-price article commerce. Let’s hope so! (Sorry to see that eHow is still ranking well, though. That site is one of the worst offenders.)

      • Of course, for those of us who provide good quality articles on those sites, it is a shame, but it’s a sign that our time could be better spent elsewhere. Jenn Mattern made a good suggestion over on Simply Stated Business about offering your good content to newsletters. It’s something I plan to try.

        • Hi, Sharon! Perhaps I should have qualified my remarks about low-quality. I realize that not all the articles on eHow and other such sites are poorly written. Some writers are actually conscientious enough to do a good job even when writing for low wages. I’ve actually written quite a few eHow articles in my time, though they don’t bear my byline but rather the name of the editor of the topic area under which they were published, since they were ghost-written and sold to eHow through a third-party content provider I contracted with.

          Hadn’t thought of what Blekko’s move might do to writers like you and Jenn, who provide quality work and whose bylines are in fact attached to your articles. Yet, Jenn’s idea may just be a good one. Perhaps it will help mitigate any SEO damage that this move might bring to your personal brand. Think I might just have to give the newsletter idea some thought myself, as well. Thanks for sharing it!

        • Ezinearticles immediately sent out some quality changes they are going to demand now that this happened. Hopefully their quality articles will be able to rise back up in the search results.
          James Schipper wants you to read How to Escape your 300-Mile Circle and See the WorldMy Profile

    • The more I use Blekko, the more I like it, Courtney. Since you mentioned it, I’ve been running searches in both search engines to compare results. Often, what comes up in Blekko is what I really need when researching a topic.