Web analytics company SimilarWeb acquired rank tracking and monitoring tool Rank Ranger last month. Terms of the deal, announced on May 16, were not revealed.
I recently had a chance to conduct a Q&A with SimilarWeb VP, GM Digital Marketing Solutions Baruch Toledano, as well as Rank Ranger CEO and founder Shay Harel.
Toledano and Harel discussed what the acquisition means for both companies and their customers. They also discuss some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in SEO right now. Here are the highlights.
The company, founded in 2007, has more than 1,000 employees. It also has more than 2,500 customers around the world, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, including Adidas, Adobe, Booking.com, DHL, Google, MGM and Pepsico.
According to Toledano, SimilarWeb’s mission is to:
- “Empower digital growth by providing decision-makers at all levels with 360° visibility into the digital world. We provide granular insights for any website, mobile app, industry and market globally.”
Why did SimilarWeb acquire RankRanger? Toledano said:
- “Rank Ranger provides SEO managers with search term tracking and monitoring. The fidelity of their data and ability to identify ongoing SERP changes has been instrumental to many organic search marketers. We believe that by combining SimilarWeb traffic analysis features and our datasets with ongoing rank performance, SEO managers will have a complete set of insights to design, measure, report and improve their marketing campaigns. From planning to on-going monitoring to actionable insights to improving rank positioning.”
This acquisition provides many SimilarWeb customers with a comprehensive view into their business decisions, Toledano said.
- “For marketers, this means tying campaign strategy research activities with ongoing performance and improvements. It means expanded topic ideation and tracking of content visibility on search. For other roles leveraging our solution, it provides additional reporting granularity, allowing for close monitoring of companies, products, investments, compliance and competitive insights. For example, consideration for potential and ongoing investments and their digital competitors’ presence; Brand and their affiliates’ compliance and monitoring for marketing the brand’s products; close inspection of trends as they emerge in search or other channels and many other use cases.”
What is Toledano’s favorite thing about Rank Ranger?
- “By far, the ranking granularity and all associated reports. Also, I like the fidelity they have for some of the unique engines like Google For Jobs that allows marketers to optimize across specialty search sites.”
This was the second acquisition for SimilarWeb within six months. In November, SimilarWeb acquired Embee Mobile, a mobile insights provider. That acquisition was meant to strengthen its mobile app intelligence offering.
The company, founded in 2009, has “hundreds” of customers (the company declined to be more specific), including H&M, Reckitt and Motley Fool.
All of Rank Ranger’s employees (more than a dozen developers and SEO specialists) now work out of SimilarWeb’s Tel Aviv office. All that has really changed is that Rank Ranger is now a SimilarWeb-owned company.
Harel views SimilarWeb as a complementary software to Rank Ranger, which allows for new opportunities to develop new SEO tools and analytics (e.g., traffic analysis, competitor intelligence, advanced reporting).
Here’s how Harel summed up what Rank Ranger does:
- “Rank Ranger is an all-in-one SEO and digital marketing tool designed to give businesses a strategic advantage through advanced reporting and analytics.”
For many startups, the goal is to get acquired. But that was never the goal for Rank Ranger, Harel said:
- “We have worked closely with SimilarWeb over the past few years, and the synergies were a fit, and at some point, we saw a great opportunity.”
I asked Harel what he remembered most about the early days of the company. At the time, SEO was still in its early stages and there was a growing demand from marketers for tools that helped them perform daily and monthly tasks:
- “It was very exciting to work with digital marketing agencies, understand their needs and build tools for our early clients that could help them with automation of their daily workflows. The SEO space has been evolving so quickly every year and we had to adapt and constantly innovate with new metrics and insights to keep up with the rapid pace of change.”
Harel also shared a couple of highlights from his time at Rank Ranger:
- “On the technical side, our Insight Graph innovation has become a best-in-class reporting tool, having a blend of sources all-in-one marketing report. As for the business, the most exciting moment in the early days was when we closed Booking.com as a customer in a short timeframe. It was a challenging case of a custom solution where we excelled in our efforts to come up with a solution, which led to a new offering concept and many new businesses resulting from that use case.”
So what is Harel’s favorite thing about SimilarWeb?
- “Without a doubt, the keyword freshness and database is amazing and very different from “our” SEO world. Normal SEO tools are building keyword datasets based on Keyword Planner, Google Suggest/Related, Search Console, etc. These tools, by nature, have so much noise, it’s like an ocean that you need to invest so much time on research to get value. With SimilarWeb’s clickstream data, you get a clean dataset that is also up to date, that can be segmented from a very different angle. I believe that in the coming years, it will become the best common practice used by SEOs.”
The biggest SEO challenges and opportunities right now
According to Toldedano:
- “Aligning and telling this story in the design of every marketing campaign is their biggest challenge but also presents the biggest opportunity. In addition, bringing other corporate roles outside of marketing to benefit from SEO insights, can drive better business decisions and promote its prominence in the organization.”
He added that challenges are opportunities where SEO can become a pivotal role within the marketing team:
- “SEOs can help align cross-channel marketing activities to deliver the most impact with other marketing roles combining paid and organic activities. SEOs can empower CMOs with relevant insights when crafting mixed marketing strategies, particularly for the mid and long-term traffic and brand awareness goals.
Because SEO sits at the junction between creative, analytical and technical disciplines of marketing, it provides the best representation of the voice of customers and what it means to each of these disciplines, Toldedano said.
- “To drive stronger alignment of marketing campaigns activities, the customer needs and expressions on organic search are the most genuine and long-lasting form of marketing that typically deliver the most impactful result.”
Keeping up with Google is the biggest challenge, according to Harel. More specifically, changes to SERP features and the display of organic results.
- “These changes are creating new opportunities and invite more competition on keywords and obviously demotes monopolies on certain keyword spaces. For example, in 2015 there were 10 organic results and one Featured Snippet = a total of 11 domains competing. Today you have 10 organic results, a block of related questions, a featured snippet and new boxes that can take the number of domains to 20 and more! That’s a lot of competition on a single keyword.”