SEO Service BrightEdge Raises $12.6M

BrightEdge, a startup that offers tools for large companies to manage their search engine rankings, has raised $12.6 million in a Series C round of funding.

The round was led by new investor Intel Capital, with participation from existing backers Battery Ventures, Altos Ventures, and Illuminate Ventures. CEO Jim Yu says that brings BrightEdge’s total funding to a little more than $21 million, of which it has only spent $3 million.

With millions of dollars still in the bank, Yu says BrightEdge wasn’t really looking to raise another round, but this seemed like “a great opportunity” to support the company’s rapid growth — he wants to double its headcount (for the second year in a row) and open offices in London and New York. He says BrightEdge is already used by more than 2,000 brands and agencies, including big tech names like Microsoft, Facebook, and VMWare. (Another SEO management company, Conductor, recently said that it’s working with more than 1,000 brands and has an annual revenue run rate of $10 million.)

When it launched in 2008, BrightEdge was focused on SEO (search engine optimization). Over time, it’s been adding more social products, like a Facebook page optimizer. It even worked with Facebook on a study on the SEO of brand pages and has also collected data on the presence of brands on Google+. Yu says all of that is still serving BrightEdge’s core mission around SEO.

“Search is evolving,” Yu says. “It’s completely different than a year or two ago. … One of the fundamental innovations of search was realizing that links are a great signal for authority. Now they’re also liking, they’re also sharing, and I think that’s going to help search.”