Newfold Digital Acquires SEO Powerhouse, Yoast

Newfold Digital’s power play continues. After coming out of the gate strong with a mega-rollup of web hosting and online marketing companies, it has spent the last few months maneuvering into strategic position. The latest comes with Thursday’s acquisition of popular WordPress SEO Plugin Yoast.

Specifically, Yoast powers SEO functions for more than 12 million WordPress websites (localogy.com being one of them). It’s known for its no-code interface to apply SEO functions like search snippets, keyword management, and overall SEO friendliness. That plays out on structural levels (links, etc.) as well as content.

“Yoast is an authority on search engine optimization with more 12 million active installs of their WordPress SEO plugin,” Newfold Digital President and CEO Sharon Rowlands told Localogy. “By combining forces, we’ll be able to expand Yoast’s mission of SEO for everyone, and help more SMBs reach their online goals.”

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Adjacency and Synergy

One reason for Yoast’s traction, beyond inherently democratizing SEO, is its freemium model. It has free and premium tiers, the former being notably feature-rich (speaking as a user). It then attracts power users with more robust functions like support, advanced redirects and deeper keyword optimization.

In addition to its popular plugin, Yoast has expanded over the past few years into adjacent delivery channels such as an online academy for SEO training courses. This function, plus the core plugin, will likely be integrated in various ways that deliver monetizable SEO to Newfold’s nearly seven million customers.

But the keywords here (excuse the pun) are adjacency and synergy. SEO and websites go together — just like eCommerce and social marketing dovetail with websites. Having these functions under one roof enables one-stop-shop appeal to customers, while engendering economies of scale for providers.

Moreover, adjacent website services can boost spend levels per user (ARPU) and retention. The former happens as bundled pricing and convenience incentivize greater spend. The latter happens as customers want to avoid the costs and headaches of switching providers for functions like eCommerce and SEO.

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Margin Play

Joining the above reasons for expansion, website companies over the past few years have experienced margin compression. That’s because web hosting has become commoditized, leading to “race to the bottom” pricing. So margins can be boosted through bundles and upsells to adjacent products like SEO.

Or, as we wrote recently:

“Smart website hosts are expanding their offerings to boost retention and higher-margin upsells. The latter can include website-adjacent functions like eCommerce, SEO, and social marketing.”

Furthermore, all of the above synergies and strategic drivers are amplified due to Newfold’s roots in the WordPress ecosystem. A cornerstone of its portfolio for example is Bluehost, which is one of the most popular WordPress site and domain hosts. Among other things, this will enable some cross pollination.

Meanwhile, it’s unclear how Yoast will be specifically integrated with Newfold — both organizationally and product-wise. But we do know that all Yoast employees and leadership will join Newfold Digital in the near term. We’ll keep our eye on the integration, and others surely to come from Newfold.

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