It’s horrible when your company’s Web site appears in search results BELOW a site that has simply scraped your content and filled the page with ads from an ad network.
How the heck did they get ahead of you?
Blekko launched to the public last November, and while it doesn’t have many users yet — about 1 million queries per day, compared with over a billion for Google — it has been relentless about tracking search spammers. The site uses human editors to remove obviously worthless sites from its index. Also, every search result has a “spam” button underneath it, which allows users to vote on spammers.
In the process of trying to stamp out spam, Blekko tracks a lot of information about who is linking back to a particular site. For instance, some businesses hire workers to leave meaningless comments on forums all over the web, with links back to the company’s Web site — a process that Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta calls “human astroturfing.”
Now, Blekko has licensed its API to BrightEdge, which will be able to give you all this information for your own site — and for your competitors’ sites. So, for instance, you’ll be able to see exactly where that ripoff site is getting all its traffic and links from.
What you do with that information is up to you — you could try and get the ripoff artist to cease and desist, or you could figure out “white hat” SEO tactics that will help you compete. Or you could engage in some astroturfing of your own.
Google and Bing also track this information, but don’t share as much of it with Web sites — particularly when it comes to measuring competitors. Yahoo Site Explorer also offers a similar service, but the company’s deal with Bing to provide search results and its recent strategy shifts make it an uncertain bet.