By the end of April, traffic to Blekko will likely have quadrupled since January 1st, and the company has a handful of reasons why it thinks that’s happening. More on the explanation later; first, the numbers.
The “slashtags” search engine has already seen a 337 percent gain in unique visitors this year. That’s as of yesterday (Monday) afternoon, and there are still two weeks left in the month.
Blekko shared the chart below from its internal analytics, showing a gain in unique IPs visiting the site from 1.58 million in December to 5.33 million so far in April.
Blekko saw visits from 3.71 million unique IPs in March, the most recent full-month count that’s available. That’s a 645 percent spike compared to March 2011.
On the Blekko blog yesterday, CEO Rich Skrenta posted traffic charts from Experian Hitwise and Compete, both of which also show dramatic traffic increases in recent weeks (Hitwise) and months (Compete).
For the sake of completeness, we asked comScore if it’s also seeing the same trend for Blekko. Although the numbers are different, the trend is pretty much exactly the same — a dramatic rise in traffic beginning in January, 2012. (ComScore’s unique visitor count for March is a little less than half of the unique IP count on Blekko’s internal chart above, but comScore is counting U.S.-only visits.)
According to comScore’s numbers, Blekko is now getting about triple the traffic of fellow underdog search engine DuckDuckGo, which has also seen big gains of its own in user activity.
Why Is Blekko Growing So Quickly?
Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta tells us via email that he thinks there are a handful of reasons for Blekko’s traffic spike this year:
- Improved index quality. Days before Christmas, Blekko announced a “major upgrade” that included a bigger index that improved its long-tail search results.
- Dissatisfaction with Google.
- Distribution partnerships. Skrenta is referring things like Blekko’s recent deal with security software maker Lavasoft.
- Trade show and convention appearances. Blekko has been visible at numerous recent events, from shows like SXSW, Blogworld Expo and our own SMX West conference to many librarian-focused events like the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting and the Internet Librarian Conference.
- The demise of Yahoo Site Explorer. Since Yahoo Site Explorer closed last November, Skrenta says SEOs have been “all over” Blekko’s SEO tools and data.
Google continues to have a near death-grip on search engine market share in the U.S., but the growth that Blekko — and DuckDuckGo, too — is seeing in recent months means that at least some searchers like to keep their options open. (And, much like the rumors of a Facebook search engine, the growth of Blekko and other search engines is also a Good Thing for Google as it deals with antitrust/monopoly concerns.)