Blekko has changed its previously free SEO tools into a paid service, putting it in competition with the likes of SEOmoz.org, Ahrefs.com, MajesticSEO.com, SEMrush.com and other SEO data/tool providers.
There’s been no official announcement of the change, but Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta confirmed to us that the company’s SEO tools and data now require a $99 monthly subscription.
Users trying to access the SEO data — either by directly using Blekko’s /seo slashtag or by clicking on the “SEO” link that appears beneath each listing on a search results page — have been surprised to be prompted to sign-up for the new paid service. This is the messaging that Blekko shows to anyone trying to access SEO data.
Blekko is currently offering only one price point, and its $99 monthly price is comparable to other paid SEO data/tool providers. At SEOmoz, plans range from $99/month to $499/month. At Majestic SEO, the range is $50/month to $400/month. Ahrefs has plans that range from $49/month to $499/month. And paid plans at SEMrush range from $80/month to $150/month.
Skrenta explained via e-mail why he believes that Blekko’s data and tools are different:
We offer the only web-wide set of ranking, backlinks, anchortext, duptext, and other associated raw ranking data which is validated by an associated search index.
He also tells us that the team is currently working on a set of upgrades that should be complete later this year.
Blekko has been offering SEO data since 2010, and industry reaction to it has generally been positive. But that was when it was free. And as SEOs have been noticing the switch to a paid model this week, there’s already been pushback, particularly to the lack of announcements about the change. (I’ve also seen some SEOs say that the switch to a paid model doesn’t fit with No. 7 on Blekko’s “Bill of Rights,” which says “Search engine tools shall be open to all.”)
The SEO industry has clearly shown that there’s plenty of demand for paid data and tools so, while the switch to a paid model is logical from a business sense, the lack of advance warning won’t help Blekko’s cause. But ultimately what matters the most is whether SEOs find enough value in the data and tools that Blekko offers and the price that it’s asking.