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UPDATED: While Forbes’ contributor Ken Krogue has been generating a heated debate with his “Death of SEO” story, Russian iTech Capital spent $10 million for a minority equity stake in Russian SEO technology company SEO Pult.
SEO Pult helps businesses manage white hat SEO strategies, such as automated link building as well as contextual advertisement. The company was founded in 2008, has Alexa rank #83 in Russia claims to have over 200,000 clients. With this first round of funding the company plans its international expansion to the European and Asian markets. Its press release also covered social media marketing, although I have not received response to my questions about it.
SEO market is fairly crowded. Earlier this summer I covered the launch of Polish startup Positionly.com, which is a cloud-based search engine ranking reporting service. The rank reporting is also a part of the SEO Pult offering. Amongst other players in Internet marketing space there iCrossing, Innovation Interactive, Adobe’S Omniture and Efficient Frontier and iProspect, all large companies.
Krogue’s article talks about Google’s increasingly relying on social media signals rather than links with its Penguin algorithm. So now, social sharing statistics such as tweets, likes, shares and +1’s mean more than backlinks. It is still possible to buy backlinks in bulk, but “faking” social media “love” is harder: according to the story, all of the fake Facebook accounts created by SEO expert Adam Torkildson have been banned.
Management of contextual advertisement is another side of the company’s offering and this is where the company claims to help improve ad efficiency by up to 30 percent, while providing analytics for search engine marketing and social media marketing tools. The SEO Pult website has never been touched by UX designer it seems, which did not stop the company from being valued north of $100 million according to an anonymous source close to the deal.
I caught up with the co-founder of SEO Pult Igor Artemenko, who confirmed the company’s focus on automation of routine SEO- and contextual ad-related tasks. He also said that social media marketing optimization practices have not matured yet to be ready for a large scale automation. So the company will continue with SEO-management techniques where it has established know-how. As for the “Death of SEO” debate, Artemenko says that in Russia paid links produce good results, and the most effective SEO techniques vary from country to country.
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