Yodle, the third-party SMB reseller, has now divided its business into “Yodle Sponsored” and “Yodle Organic.” The formation of the latter division, which has been live for a month with 150 clients, is a recognition that SMBs are increasingly relying on organic search as much as paid search — and they need help driving exposure to their Web sites, blogs, YouTube, and social sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
For $400 a month, with six-month initial contracts, Yodle Organic is set to pump up its clients’ organic search rankings. It will provide personalized consultations, design and code Web sites to maximize search rankings; help create and syndicate video; distribute local business profiles to search sites and directories; and provide a dashboard that allows SMBs to measure goals.
Yodle CEO Court Cunningham says the timing feels right. “SEO’s price-per-lead and price-per-click is substantially lower than SEM. But it isn’t ‘either-or.’ They complement each other,” he says. “SEO takes time to build your site so it becomes visible and builds authority in the eyes of the search engines. It is about building equity in a brand that is long lasting.”
The challenge is to properly scale the effort for each client and make money — Yodle gets an average of about $1,000 per month from its 7,000 paid search clients. “No one has productized and automated and put clear accounting” around something like this, he says. But “we’ve been building Web sites for three years. We’re experts in automation.”
Still, it is an ongoing experiment as Yodle works to get clients non-paid traffic in such new areas as maps, article sharing sites and even Google’s 7 Pack. “We look at these things as organic distribution,” says Cunningham.
Content production is probably the biggest question mark for Yodle (and for any company entering this space). Out of the gate, Yodle is using a combination of external contributors, internal editors and curated content from other sources. It hopes to provide at least 10 fresh pieces of content a month to each client.