posted in search engine optimization  on 27 June 2011
by Andrew Lang 
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Why Blekko Finds It Hard to Compete Against Google

I'm all for championing the underdog, and perhaps I even have a built-in bias against the dominant players in any market. A good example: there's just something wrong when people claim to support Man U just because they're good. It's more interesting to me to see the underdog win and upset the odds.

Having said that, it would be willfully ignorant of me to not acknowledge WHY a team or a company are good at what they do. THAT is useful to anyone who wants to compete with the best.

And so I come to Google. I have a natural antipathy toward them because they control so much traffic on the internet - their influence on the success or failure of your site is huge, no matter what your content and no matter how good your product or service - since so many people use Google to find stuff. This SHOULDN'T (in an ideal world) really be allowed to happen, but in the real world, it does. Why? Because Google are absolute masters at search. The number of servers they use is unknown, but it's thought to run easily into millions of servers spread over several data centres.

Which brings me to Blekko - a relatively new search engine, and one that's had a lot of good publicity with its open-ness (SEO tools for example) and clear stance against content farms and spam in general. This is the underdog I should be cheering, and I'd love to see Blekko become a real player in the search market.

But there's one problem I see that blekko are suffering from: they just don't have enough hardware!

How do I know this? Well, I look at the amount of times blekko visits my sites. is visited several times an hour by Google. I know this because within 20 mins or so of a blog entry being posted, I see it in Google's index. Blekko? Try once every 14 days! If we just assume Google visits my site twice an hour (48 times a day), then we can say that Google have invested 672 times (14 days * 48 visits per day) more in my site than Blekko, in terms of indexing. I checked other sites that I own and the results are similar - between 1 and FOUR weeks per visit. has been around for over 5 years and has some big authority links pointing to it, and it has regularly updated content, so you'd think blekko would visit more often - but it must come down to a lack of hardware. If it takes millions of servers for Google to have the luxury of being able to visit a site several times a day, then you can't expect the owners of blekko to somehow invest literally billions of dollars in an infrastructure that rivals Google.

It would take years for a competitor search engine to compete with Google on such a scale. might have the scale and certainly has the money behind it - but the results are lacking. Let's compare blekko in a year's time - perhaps the indexing will be a lot more frequent then.

update: this blog post was indexed within just 10 minutes by Google.

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