Automating search engine optimization with IBM Watson services
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Clearscope wanted to remove the manual effort involved in analyzing its customers’ web content to help them achieve higher search rankings with less effort. It used the IBM Watson® service to analyze the top-performing pieces of content and provide actionable recommendations to help customers create highly relevant content in less time.

Business challenge

To help its customers create better-performing, highly relevant content with less effort, Clearscope wanted to create a product that could automate the previously manual content optimization process.


Clearscope, owned by Mushi Labs, uses IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding software to automate analysis of top-performing pieces of content for keywords and provide actionable recommendations.

Results 52% increase in organic traffic
to content that Optimizely, a Clearscope customer, updated using the solution
15% month-over-month revenue growth
for Clearscope after developing the solution
42% month-over-month increase
in organic search traffic for another Clearscope customer
Business challenge story
Identifying a business opportunity

Mushi Labs, the parent company of Clearscope, began as a search engine optimization (SEO) consulting firm. Very quickly, Bernard Huang, the co-founder of Clearscope, and his colleagues saw that the real work of SEO optimization is not only identifying what its customers need to do to make their content highly relevant for potential readers, but also to make it easy to take those actions effectively. Content that ranks high in online searches does more than make a reader want to share, click, or read it. High-ranking content provides more specific information based on the reader’s search that engages the reader more than a competitor’s content and keeps the reader engaged for longer periods of time.

It can be time-consuming to manually evaluate individual pieces of content that rank higher than yours and then identify ways to improve your content experience. Clearscope sought to tackle this challenge. “We said okay, what if we could automate the content optimization process and give data to content marketers in near real-time to help them create higher quality, more relevant content?” says Huang. Mushi Labs wanted to create a product that could help automate the content optimization process. To do that, the business needed a robust natural language processing application.

With Watson, we can rapidly sift through top-ranking articles and put near real-time data into the hands of content experts. Bernard Huang Co-founder Clearscope
Transformation story
Automating content optimization

Mushi Labs created the Clearscope using the IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding service. The Clearscope product helps customers analyze high-performing content and identify actionable recommendations on relevant terms, word count, readability and content type. The Watson service provides a set of natural language processing capabilities that analyzes content to extract metadata such as concepts, entities and keywords.

Clearscope uses the Watson Natural Language Understanding service in three ways to analyze top content and advise customers how to improve their content. First, when determining the top 30 pieces of content for any given keyword, the Watson service performs document extraction, removing any irrelevant web page components, such as sidebars, footers and navigation bars. Next, the Watson service extracts all of the concepts that are relevant to the keyword. Finally, the service scores each concept on salience, or how important each one is to improving search ranking.

Results story
Achieving impressive results

Clearscope customers are achieving impressive results with the solution. Optimizely, a provider of an experience optimization platform based in San Francisco, achieved a 52 percent increase in organic traffic to content it optimized through Clearscope by following the tool's recommendations.

Denis O’Dwyer, the Chief Executive Officer of Wide Open Media, reports that his company has also seen drastic improvements to its organic traffic. “Clearscope has fundamentally changed how we optimize our content for search. Our sites less than 18 months old are seeing organic traffic double every two months, while our more established sites are seeing monthly organic growth of 15–30 percent,” says O’Dwyer.

With such a successful product, Clearscope has grown its business rapidly. “We're serving over 250 organizations in 30 different countries, generating half a million in annual revenue,” says Huang. “And we’re currently growing roughly 15 percent month over month.”

Clearscope logo

Clearscope (link resides outside was founded in 2016. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the business has approximately 10 employees. Clearscope is a subsidiary of Mushi Labs LLC, an SEO consulting business that was founded in 2014 in San Francisco.

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Produced in the United States of America, April 2019.

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