Do blekko and Google Completely Disregard Navigational Links?

blekkoI don’t actually think Google completely disregards navigation links. However, after taking a closer look at blekko’s SEO tools, it appears in most cases blekko does and other search engines might too. If it’s that important and easy for a hip new search engine to do, then it makes me wonder EXACTLY how Google and the other major search engines treat navigational and other page links.

Take a look at this detailed analysis to see what I’ve found out about blekko, which probably gives us some insight into how other search engines analyze the links on webpage.

  • Most navigational links get immediately disregarded or “exlcuded” (header, footer, sidebar, etc.)
  • Links grouped together are usually excluded
  • Blog comments are excluded regardless if they are dofollow links

Looking at the screenshots below you can easily see which links blekko marked as “excluded” and understand what I am talking about.

(Numbers in green are links that blekko didn’t tag as excluded, and red numbers identify links that are marked as excluded. Also, links highlighted in pink have the nofollow attributed assigned to them.)

blog post links blekko counts

Detailed Link Attributes

  1. Internal
  2. Internal (excluded)
  3. Internal, Image
  4. External
  5. Internal (excluded)
  6. Internal (excluded)
  7. Internal (excluded)
  8. External
  9. Internal/External (excluded)
  10. External, 302 Redirect, NoFollow
  11. External
  12. External, 302 Redirect, NoFollow
  13. External
  14. Internal (excluded)
  15. Internal (excluded)
  16. External, NoFollow (excluded)
  17. Internal (excluded)

Anything stand out to you here?

One thing that immediately stood out to me was that blekko seems to exclude most navigational links regardless if they are internal or external links. I don’t believe Google completely excludes navigational links. However, they are likely discounted in some way.

What’s also interesting is that blekko seems to completely ignore the nofollow attribute and 302 redirects. Take a look at links 10 and 12 above. Both of those links are nofollowed, 302 redirected affiliate links and neither of them were excluded.

Does blekko Count Web Directory Links

Now let’s examine how Blekko treats outbound listing links coming from the top 5 directories recommended in the screenshot above.

It appears a listing and backlink from 4 of the top 5 directories I’ve recommended count towards ranking in blekko. JoeAnt is the only one whose listings are excluded – which is interesting, because JoeAnt might be the strictest directory of the bunch. Probably an oversight on their part.

Additionally, I found that “most” listings in the blogs.botw.org directory were excluded, except for listings that didn’t include any additional site links such as: [RSS], [AUDIO], [ATOM], [XML], [VIDEO]. Note: blogs.botw.org is a sub-domain and separate directory from the main directory at botw.org. Listings in the main directory are counted. Probably another oversight because links from both BOTW directories should count – in my opinion, anyway.

I believe the engineers at blekko have manually gone in and allowed links from these directories because other directories I checked had their links excluded. But the great thing is you can always check each directory before you submit to them.

Just keep in mind, blekko, Bing and Google don’t use the exact same algorithms and technology. Google may count links blekko doesn’t and vice versa.

Dofollow Blog Comments, Comment Luv and Top Commentator Links

I think most of us assume Google and the major search engines are smart enough to identify, discount or exclude all dofollow blog comment links. However, I thought it would be interesting to see exactly how blekko looks at them since that data is available to us. So I found a site that allows dofollow blog comments and uses the CommentLuv, KeywordLuv and Top Commentators plug-ins.

dofollow blog comment links with comment luv and top commentators

Detailed Link Attributes

  1. Internal, NoFollow (excluded)
  2. External (excluded)
  3. Internal, NoFollow (excluded)
  4. External, NoFollow (excluded)
  5. NOT FOUND
  6. External (excluded)
  7. External (excluded)

In this case blekko excluded every link related to blog comments even if they were dofollow links. I also noticed that blekko didn’t find the URLs listed in the drop down option menus on this site.

Final Observations

blekko appears to be extremely strict in regards to which links they count. Navigational links and links that are grouped together are typically ignored while contextual links are NOT marked as “exluded” regardless of their attributes, i.e., NoFollow, 302 redirect, etc..

What have you observed about the way blekko or other search engines looks at navigational links?

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  • December 29th, 2010 at 6:04 pm Greg Lindahl said:

    Hi. Interesting analysis, but I think you’ve over-interpreted the meaning of our use of “excluded”. Excluded is chosen based on the html source, and it’s the first thing done after crawling; nofollow and link quality and 302 redirects are assessed elsewhere and don’t enter into the label “excluded”.

  • December 29th, 2010 at 6:43 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Hi Greg,
    Thanks for the information.

    I think you’ve over-interpreted the meaning of our use of “excluded”.

    I was hoping someone would clear that up for me….

    I honestly didn’t think it was so black and white, but thought it was important to outline what I saw based on the information available within the SEO tools.

    In simple terms, here’s the only way I can logically make sense of the tools and your notes:

    Excluded links are links that are excluded from further analysis and don’t count toward ranking the target page. Other links are processed further and assigned a score, or excluded based on their attributes.

    Is that right?

    Otherwise I still don’t understand the significance of noting which links are “excluded” within blekko’s SEO tools?

  • December 29th, 2010 at 8:19 pm Greg Lindahl said:

    Yes, that’s pretty much correct.

    We’re being more transparent than the usual search engine, but the information we reveal is what we happen to generate internally, and not all of that is easy to explain. This html analysis system one of the oldest parts of our crawler. It is intended to get rid of the “clamp” around actual web content, without having to know anything about the links themselves. When you look at the “sections” for a page, you’re seeing the raw output from this tool.

    I hope this helps. — greg

  • December 29th, 2010 at 8:43 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Yes, it does! Thanks for clarifying it, Greg.

  • January 1st, 2011 at 1:35 am Ellie Kesselman said:

    Wow, that is rather impressive that your article received comments straight from the source, via https blekko no less!

    I continue to forget about Blekko despite watching Scoble’s video coverage this summer, then reading more in TechCrunch etc. Part of the reason is exactly what you, or one of the respondents to another of your posts said. I am so familiar with getting what I want from Google that I rarely check alternatives. Such as Blekko. Or the sometimes excellent Bing, particularly for geo-searches.

    Anyway, your good post was made great by the copious clarifications from Greg Lindahl, and your responses. Thank you so much. I’m very marginally into SEO. But this is just good information for anyone with an analytic frame of mind, and some curiosity about e-commerce and Web 2.0 in general.

  • January 1st, 2011 at 1:11 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Hi Ellie,
    Yeah, I am very appreciative that they were willing to make some clarifications for us.

  • March 4th, 2011 at 8:03 pm teatree said:

    That’s really interesting. Didn’t realise Blekko was excluding sidebar and comment links. Perhaps this explains why their search results are poor ;-)

    FWIW, I’m convinced Google does take account of everything as I’ve seen sites improve with just sidebar links. Plus they list everything in Webmastertools.

  • March 4th, 2011 at 8:07 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    I also don’t believe Google completely disregards navigational links.

  • July 1st, 2011 at 12:19 am Andres said:

    The few times I used Blekko, I didn’t like their results. I think that you should openly discuss the algorithm, but give clear rules that the ones that make tricks would be penalized.

    In the rules you should tell exactly what needs to be done in order to rank, so small businesses can do it to some extent, but there should be some rules that you can’t touch or you will be burned, so following the rules you should be able to rank moderately well, but should not be the deciding factor of who gets to the top position.

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