Blekko is proving yet again it can make a lot of noise despite the fact it is not even six months old. Launching Blekkogear, the search 'upstart' recently released a bunch of publisher tools and online schwag for webmasters to add some bling to their websites.
In an attempt to spur on the wild horses that has become the JC Penney debacle - namely mainstream brands getting outed for buying links - Blekko have released a 'live link roll' (in the form of an embeddable widget that displays the latest inbound link to your site), an embeddable searchbox and a sitelinks badge.
The key message here is transparency and Blekko imagine that web masters will want to wear these widgets with pride, in a bid to show that they are using ethical link building tactics - hopefully webmasters will treat links as a kind of 'badge of honor'. However, transparency may not be your modus operandi, so here are some ways to support Blekko and turn some of their tools to your advantage.
Live Link Roll
I have always been a fan of the live link feed - which can be accessed on Blekko by performing combining these slashtags: /source (e.g. yourdomain.com) /link /date
Blekko's Live Link Roll, or inbound link widget, might float the boat of companies that don't get many links, need many links, or aggressively compete for Google search positions, but if that's not you, you might want to put it to other uses...
Ironically, the widgets build links back to Blekko, suggesting they are also intending to improve their positions on search engines and that highlights a potential use case of the widget. Rather than open your website link profile up to competitor snitching, why not use the widget to create an internal dashboard of incoming links to your competitor's websites and see if you can chase the same links that they are getting.
For example, you can see who is linking to Blekko by configuring the widget to monitor them and potentially track who is installing the inbound link widget.
The question that most of us will be asking ourselves is whether or not rewarding those who link to me (by displaying them on my site via the widget) will cause more people to link to my site in the hope of getting visibility. Counter-intuitively, displaying one's real-time link graph could actually improve your link graph in a more natural way, on a quid pro quo basis.
Being able to easily construct a site search out of blekko and adding it to your site is a great idea and will be useful for many businesses. It is really easy to do.
However, this searchbox actually defaults to blekko slashtags rather than your own, or the universal ones such as /links, /youtube or /flickr.
If you want to change the default to search your own slashtags or some of the more useful ones then you will need to adjust the embed code. Perform a Find & Replace function on the embed code, to look for the section ( document.getElementById('blekkoSearchBox_embed').value + ' /blekko/links' ) and remove the bolded /blekko tag. In this case, I wanted to create a /links search engine, so left /links as the value + '/links' tag.
In the search box below you can now search links to any domian.
Putting a Blekko links searchbox on a company intranet or SEO workflow system could make your link building and PR teams more effective!
Badge of Honor
If you have nothing to fear from competitors ransacking your own link profile, or competitors outing your site to Google, then you might post the Blekko sitelinks badge on your site.
However, a much better use is to create your own competitor dashboard using iGoogle. Simply go to iGoogle and add a tab for all the competitors you are tracking and add the CodeWrapper gadget, which enables you to add embed codes to your dashboard.
For zero-cost you can create a rudimentary dashboard that allows you to monitor inbound links to your competitors, benchmark your site against them and search their inbound links.