Yodle Doubles Down on Search

While several large, national retail chains, along with their partner search engine optimization agencies, have been taken to task by Google for trying to game the search engine ecosystem, SEO agencies that specialize in assisting small businesses have been making inroads in the space, growing both through sales and through acquisitions.

Yodle, an online marketing company that specializes in search engine marketing has acquired the Austin-based ProfitFuel, which, last year was named one of Inc.’s  fastest growing private companies. The company specializes in SEO for small businesses and is one of the largest such agencies in the country, with more than 11,000 small-business clients.

The new company will have a sales force of more than 300 and a client list of 22,000. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.

According to Yodle CEO Court Cunningham, the acquisition gives the company access to a new clientele. Cunningham said that the average Yodle client is spending $1,000 each month for SEM services. The acquisition, he said, accelerated the company’s entrance into the small-business category. ProfitFuel’s clients spend an average of $175 each month. Cunningham said that the newly configured company is now able to offer “three columns of services: high-end SEO and SEM and low-priced SEO.”

Cunningham said that the company’s goal is to develop a fourth column: affordable SEM services for small businesses. “We want to start democratizing high-priced agency work.”

Although there has been a lot of attention paid lately to seo companies that use what Google considers shady tactics to increase their clients’ rankings, Cunningham said that effective SEO is not rocket science. “Since Google released its Panda update we’ve seen our average ranking increase,” Cunningham said.  “[Google] wants rich content out there. You need to have useful content. Most of these small bias don’t even have a website. So we help Google in their mission by creating a great consumer experience.”

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