Google, Please Copy Blekko

Damn, maybe everybody is right and Google is getting worse.

Blekko (the new-kid-on-the-block search engine) stumbled across my consciousness again yesterday with this article from TechCrunch.  Turns out, Blekko has banned content farms like eHow.com and Encyclopedia.com from its search results.  I used to work for the company that ran Encyclopedia.com and I’m fascinated by Google, so this caught my eye.  I went back to Blekko to see what’s going on (I had visited before, but I haven’t been a regular user).

First thing I did — I Blekko’d myself.  And my blog was right there on page one.  Well played, Blekko.

Second thing I did, I performed one of their suggested searches: cure for headaches.  And my first thought was, “Wow, this looks really good.  WebMD, Mayo Clinic … these are some really solid results.”

Then I tried Google for the same query, and I got WikiHow, home remedies, and shit sites.

My immediate response was: That’s not fair!  Blekko rigged the test.  So I searched for just headache.  Again, great results from Blekko — National Library of Medicine, WebMD, Mayo Clinic.

And I did the same on Google — National Library of Medicine, WebMD … Wikipedia, and some news articles.  I’d call this one a draw.  They both knew what a headache was.

And then I added one more word to my query — headache cure.  Blekko was still high-quality — WebMD, Mayo Clinic, National Library of Medicine, UK National Health Service.

Google jumped in the shitter — WikiHow, targeted domain sites, an ‘artist’ blog, home remedies, junk sites, and made-for-TV offers.  Google seriously failed, and all it took was one word.

So what’s it mean?  Google is still great, don’t get me wrong, but the bad guys are winning on the long-tail terms.  And the long-tail starts a lot sooner than I would have guessed — in my case, Google’s results shit the bed after adding a second search term.  Google has some work to do.  Sorry, Matt Cutts — it’s good you don’t copy Bing, but you’ve got something to learn from Blekko.

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