TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring UK-based cloud-led SEO service for travel, Linkdex.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Linkdex is a company that believes search engine optimisation can be done by any business. We have created a set of cloud-based tools that work together to help companies get to the top of Google and Bing’s natural search results for a fraction of the cost of CPC.
The company was founded by John Straw, an SEO professional and entrepreneur.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
Linkdex has been backed by Amadeus Capital Partners, a venture capital firm and other investors including "super-angel" Dave McClure. Over $1 million has been invested into developing the product and the algorithms that differentiate it from similar services.
VC backing has allowed Linkdex to hire an experienced management team and to develop technology rapidly.
What problem are you trying to solve?
There is a perception amongst many businesses that SEO is hard to do. Many brands feel helpless about their ability to affect where they rank on Google or Bing.
In very competitive spaces, like travel, SEO can allow smaller businesses to attract visitors to their websites by applying proven practises if only they knew what to do and how to do it. Linkdex aims to allow businesses to take control of their SEO.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Linkdex is an integrated set of SEO tools. The tool-set includes a task manager that recommends actions to be taken, keyword research to help identify terms and phrases that have good volume and are not competitive.
The system tracks your rankings in Google and Bing for your chosen search terms over time and shows through annotations when the actions you are taking and the links you are building are having an effect on not just rank, but also traffic. We score your pages in regards to site optimisation and give you actions to fix pages that could be better.
The real differentiators of Linkdex are in our competitor analysis and link building tools. Our competitor analysis allows you to see a snapshot of the SEO strategies employed by the sites doing the best for your search terms and keywords.
You can see at a glance if they are using blogs, forums, PR sites, Social, Wikis or other link building strategies.
We also show you the links to your competitors sites so that you can develop relationships with influential and authoritative domains.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Linkdex launched on the 25th of January 2011. Our customer base is spread over a wide range of sectors and business sizes. Many are small businesses, some are digital agencies and some are large brands who understand the value of our data.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
The Linkdex team have a history of developing successful businesses in this market. The market opportunity was identified through the experience of the management team. Investors saw that the Linkdex product could scale internationally and stretch to provide value to busineses of all sizes.
Investment helped the team to spend time talking to consumers through testing and research to make the first version of the product better.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Linkdex is a subscription service. SEO is a through-time activity that requires ongoing investment rather than a spike of activity and then nothing. Our cloud-based SEO software allows distributed teams to work on the same project and for agencies to scale.
There is an entry level product for $49 per month all the way up to enterprise packages for big brands that want to win in very competitive spaces.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
Linkdex is a strong concept that has been recognised by both investors and others as having a lot of potential. The company won the 2010 Econsultancy Innovation Award for Natural Search and SEO and has captured the attention of mainstream media in the UK.
Having the backing of Amadeus is a great strength. Not only from an financial investment point of view, but also having access to good advice. The team is made up of successful entrepreneurs who have succeeded in the past with exits and experienced product and marketing professionals as well as a strong technical team.
Being a new brand in a competitive space could be seen as a weakness, but that is changing quickly.
There are many opportunities and the biggest problem is prioritising which opportunities to take. There are some interesting things going on in search at the moment which Linkdex is well places to take advantage of.
We are looking closely at trends like Local search and how that affects businesses around the world. There are also some opportunities for our clients to gain competitive advantage from our tool.
SEO is obviously largely dependent on how large search engines like Google and Bing work. There may be threats from emerging technology like social media and the potential of brands like Facebook to play a larger role in search, but Linkdex’s task manager approach allows us to adapt our advice based on what works.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
Linkdex has evolved over time. The company launched a search tool for SEO pros called Influence Finder that helped us shape the product we have now. Being able to adapt quickly is extremely important, so rather than ignore advice, we have tried to address the issues as to why a part of the idea might not work while keeping in mind the vision.
We are still actively seeking feedback of our clients and with 24 product releases planned for 2011, we are adapting the product all the time.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
We have some aggressive goals in terms of customer acquisition and revenue, but the thing that motivates us most is hearing stories from clients who have used the software to get results. In 12 months we’d love to be able to show that Linkdex has had a positive affect on search based traffic for our clients.
Here is a clip:
Linkdex - Take Control of SEO. from Linkdex on Vimeo.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.