SEOmoz Hands Off Consulting Biz to U.K. Firm, Doubles Down on Software and Tools

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Don’t think of Seattle-based SEOmoz as a consulting firm. It’s all about software and tools now—and pretty much has been for a couple of years.

That’s the message from founder and CEO Rand Fishkin, who spoke with me last week about the search engine optimization company’s strategy. SEOmoz announced today it is officially handing over its consulting business and existing consulting customers to Distilled, a small search marketing firm based in London, U.K. As part of the deal, Distilled is setting up a Seattle office in the next few weeks, its first in the U.S. The estimated revenue from the consulting business for the first year is $1 million, according to the companies. Meanwhile, the former SEOmoz consulting team is switching over to marketing within the company.

SEOmoz and Distilled have worked together informally since 2007. Their mutual customers include Microsoft, RealNetworks, Avvo, Evogear, Etsy, and Scribd. The new partnership will allow SEOmoz to focus solely on its core software products, which should please its investors. “We have an impetus to maximize the shareholder return and investor value,” Fishkin says. He adds that the move is being made, at least in part, to “maximize the multiplier on an exit.” (Since consulting is essentially a steady fee-for-service business, it has less growth potential than software, which can tap into a much bigger market and therefore command a premium from investors.)

Some quick background on SEOmoz: The company was founded in 2004, originally as a consulting shop, and is backed locally by Ignition Partners and Curious Office. It has 21 employees and generated just over $4 million in revenue last year, up from $1.4 million in 2008. And it has been generating more than 85 percent of its business from its software and tools, which it offers primarily to small and medium-sized businesses to help improve their marketing and Web traffic. (One differentiation from companies like Seattle’s Optify and San Diego’s Covario is that those firms … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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