Semrush, the SEO toolset provider, has acquired SEO training website Backlinko, the company announced Wednesday, for an unannounced sum.
Why we care. Semrush’s acquisition will likely strengthen the company’s own SEO education hub, Semrush Academy. This could make Semrush a more robust source of SEO knowledge and may help it pull away from other toolset providers.
Additionally, Backlinko draws in 500,000 organic visits a month, according to the announcement. Semrush is likely to market to those users to drive them further down its sales funnel.
Why Semrush may have acquired Backlinko. “The desire to acquire Backlinko was fueled by Semrush’s commitment to inspiring both the current and next generation of digital marketers,” according to the announcement.
In an email sent to Backlinko subscribers, Brian Dean, founder of Backlinko, explained that he wanted to further scale his business, but had hit a plateau in terms of what he could do on his own. “Then, out of the blue, I got an email that changed everything,” Dean wrote, sharing that he was approached for this deal by Max Roslyakov, SVP of marketing at Semrush.
Some SEOs have speculated about other potential reasons for the acquisition: “How much was Backlinko worth to Semrush? Breaking down courses, traffic, and estimated MRR from converting that traffic. What if a competitor came in?” tweeted Victor Pan, head of technical SEO at HubSpot.
“That’s what makes the acquisition itself the joke about our industry — A leading, listed tool company, buying a site, purely for the links gained by publishing nonsense,” Peter Mindenhall tweeted, suggesting that one of the motivators behind the deal was the acquisition of Backlinko’s backlink profile. Mindenhall’s remark about “publishing nonsense” refers to the mixed reception that some of the guidance in Backlinko’s content has garnered from the SEO community.
The future for Semrush/Backlinko. “On joining Semrush, Backlinko founder Brian Dean and his colleagues will continue to grow the Semrush community by creating and curating original content for the Semrush Academy,” according to the announcement.
“As part of my agreement with Semrush, I’ll still be working on Backlinko for the foreseeable future on a part-time basis,” Dean tweeted.
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