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Botify, provider of search engine optimization tools and apps, today announced that it raised $55 million, bringing its total raised to date to $82 million. CEO Adrien Menard says that the funding — a series C, led by InfraVia Growth with participation from Bpifrance, Eurazeo, and Ventech — will enable the company to grow its platform, develop its partner ecosystem, and expand its global footprint as it focuses on product R&D.
With an increasing number of businesses shifting to online as their primary channel, ensuring high placement in web searches has become a priority. There are 80,000 searches done per second, driving 53% of web traffic today. But it’s a moving target. Google alone made 4,500 algorithm updates and changes last year to Google Search.
New York-based Botify provides a platform to discover and fix problems with the aim of making sites more discoverable by search engines. Working with major search engines and internet infrastructure companies to ensure compliance with guidelines, the company develops and maintains AI-enabled analytics and automation tools that leverage more than 1,000 metrics to understand a website’s content, search engines’ behaviors, and users’ intent.
Botify was founded by Menard, Thomas Grange, and Stan Chauvin, who previously worked together at a digital marketing agency. As Menard explained, the trio came to the conclusion that companies were focusing too much time optimizing content and keywords without knowing if Google and other search engines were even crawling their webpages.
“Almost half of the pages of large, enterprise websites are not crawled by Google. When a page is not crawled or seen by Google, it will never rank in search engines, and therefore cannot drive traffic or revenue,” Menard told VentureBeat via email. “This is how Botify was born — some of [our] first customers included eBay, BlaBlaCar, and Expedia in France. [We] entered the U.S. market in 2016. Fast-forward to today, and the U.S. now accounts for more than 60% of [our] revenue.”
According to Menard, Botify uses a 2-petabyte dataset containing raw crawl data, server logs, search data, and conversion and revenue data to train its algorithms. The algorithms power tools like RealKeywords, which helps customers understand what keywords visitors are searching for, how they’re arriving at the pages, and where else they might be heading.
“When looking at a site’s query data, understanding intent can be tricky,” Menard said. “For example, if people are clicking through to the site via the keyword ‘pizza,’ is it because they’re looking for a pizza spot near them or looking for information on how to make pizza? By applying natural language processing techniques and unsupervised machine learning algorithms, we augment our [platform] with features to improve visibility into the millions of queries being searched and analyze daily.”
To help manage its data science stack, Botify built a custom architecture for algorithm development, training, and tuning. To date, the company has used it to develop algorithms capable of automatically identifying “strategic” webpages, spotting critical issues, forecasting drops in traffic, and generating missing links, text, and metadata.
“Since organic search can drive up to 30% of traffic and revenue on an enterprise website, companies need a comprehensive solution to optimize performance,” Menard added. “Brands need to equip their teams with the right capabilities to analyze their performance decide actions plans, and implement the solutions to drive incremental revenue. Botify is the perfect answer as our platform enables organic search teams to analyze, decide, and implement optimizations faster.”
Botify occupies only a slice of the $80 billion search engine optimization (SEO) industry. In 2020, businesses spent $47.5 billion on SEO-related products and services, and the market is projected to grow at a 20% compound annual growth rate by 2025.
But 200-employee Botify reports that annual revenue and valuation tripled since its last funding round in 2019, with annual growth nearing 60% and revenue approaching $100 million. Current customers include Expedia, Macy’s, Marriott, L’Oréal, Crate & Barrel, Conde Nast, Groupon, GitHub, The New York Times, and 500 others across ecommerce, travel, and media and publishing segments.
Botify says that U.S.-based brands account for more than 60% of its revenue; it entered the market in 2016. The company plans to use a portion of the new funding to expand in Asia Pacific, namely by growing operations there and collaborating with “key brands and partners” in the region.
“First and foremost, if 2020 proved anything, it’s that search is an essential part of our lives,” Menard said. “For enterprises, this means that being found in search is a bigger opportunity than ever to generate brand awareness and online revenue — [even as] marketing teams are being asked to do more with less and focus on the most profitable channels.”
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