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AnswerThePublic Sold! What’s Next for the Keyword Tool

The world Sold! in red agains a cartoon like background featuring the AnswerThePublic logo.

Popular keyword research site AnswerThePublic recently sold to NP Digital, the SEO agency run by Neil Patel. But NP Digital already offers the search tool Ubersuggest. So, what’s next? Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute searches for the intent behind the acquisition – and declares this a deal unlike any other.

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Aired: June 10, 2022

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Hello everybody, Robert Rose here with the news. It’s what’s new and what’s important in the world of Content Marketing. It’s the news you need to lead in the practice of Content marketing and content strategy.

For the best in best practices – you can always go to

One very interesting item in the news is about SEO.

NP Digital (the search agency owned by SEO thought leader Neil Patel) announced it acquired the search marketing tool AnswerThePublic.

As the announcement says, AnswerThePublic has been one of the most popular SEO-oriented tools for the last half a dozen years. The site, created by PR firm CoverageBook, started out as a content marketing project and link-building exercise.

In December 2021, Gary Preston, CEO of CoverageBook, called AnswerThePublic one of the best digital campaigns he’s ever worked on. He tweeted that the project had gotten:

  • More than 65,000 inbound links
  • 500,000 users per month
  • More than 1,500 actual paid customers (at about $1,000 a year, that equals ­–, well you do the math).

That’s real money for what started as a link-building initiative. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This acquisition makes perfect sense for Neil’s agency, which makes a compatible tool called Ubersuggest that offers some of the same ideas in looking at SEO metrics.

Related: 7 Free Keyword Research Tools

Our take: You’ve heard me talk about how acquisitions are becoming more commonplace. I’ve started to see more and more companies make acquisitions to bolster their content marketing efforts.

We’ve seen Hubspot acquire media startup The Hustle. We’ve seen JPMorgan Chase acquire restaurant review site The Infatuation. Software company Zapier acquired Makerpad and, most recently, Pendo picked up the product development community Mind the Product.

But here’s the difference – and it’s meaningful. The list I just mentioned includes companies acquiring entire companies. The AnswerThePublic acquisition is one of the very few instances – the first that I can think of ­– where one company is purchasing another non-competitive company’s marketing platform because it’s useful in their portfolio.

The @AnswerThePublic acquisition is a rare example of one company buying another company's #ContentMarketing platform because it’s useful in their portfolio, says @Robert_Rose. But it won't be the last via @CMIContent. Share on X

Think about that for a moment. This would be like Pepsi going to Red Bull and saying we’d like you to consider selling Red Bulletin. Or Apple going to Peloton Studios and buying up all their original programming, instructors, and media operations. (That’s something I could see happening).

More and more, I think you’ll start to see content marketing platforms treated as valuable assets that should be considered part of the asset portfolio of any company – not just a marketing platform.

Use history as a guide here. For example, would it have been better for Intel to sell their digital magazine IQ by Intel to Hewlett Packard instead of just killing it as if it were just a marketing campaign? Likewise, should Adobe have sold to Salesforce instead of killing it outright? Or should Dollar Shave Club have sold MEL Magazine to another men’s grooming product company – instead of the media venture company that eventually bought it?

The sale of AnswerThePublic tells us that marketing platforms can become assets. And as my colleague Joe Pulizzi and I discussed in our book, Killing Marketing, they can become additions to the bottom line.

AnswerThePublic’s acquisition is an excellent example of creating marketing so good that it pays for itself. I think we’ll see a lot more of that in the future.

@AnswerThePublic acquisition is an excellent example of creating marketing so good that it pays for itself, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Share on X

And that’s three minutes of news you need to lead in content marketing. I’m Robert Rose. Remember, it’s your story. Tell it well. I’ll see you next week.

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