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How Long Can RetailMeNot’s “SEO Empire” Survive?
RetailMeNot is having remarkable SEO success. According to an analysis by Priceonomics, RetailMeNot is first for numerous coupon-related and “promo code” searches — an amazing 71 percent of the time.
This is what the company said based on an analysis of nearly 300 coupon-related keywords:
RetailMeNot ranks first in Google search results for an astounding 187 out of the 263 keywords we track. Dealcatcher.com, the next closest company, only ranks first for 7 keywords. Coupons.com, another recent IPO in this space, only has the number one spot in the Google rankings a single time.
RetailMeNot is now public and has a market cap of $1.7 billion. The company was started by two Australians and acquired by WhaleShark Media in 2010. WhaleShark then rebranded itself (wisely) as RetailMeNot and went public in 2013.
RetailMeNot claims more than 450 million consumer visits to its sites. It made more than $200 million in affiliate revenue in 2013, driving visits to retailer sites. Basically it does a much better job of optimization and ranking for “retailer name + promo code” than the retailers themselves do.
The reason that RetailMeNot, originally a crowd-sourced coupon aggregator, climbed to the top of the online coupon mountain and was acquired is SEO. The following chart from Priceonomics visually illustrates how dominant the site is on Google for coupon-related keywords (RetailMeNot is in red).
While RetailMeNot has some name recognition it doesn’t really qualify as a brand. Most visitors to the site are searching on Google rather than visiting it directly. Its most engaged and loyal users are those of its mobile app.
As the Priceonomics analysis points out a company this dependent on SEO is potentially highly vulnerable to Google algorithm changes. If future updates bump RetailMeNot from its top slot across coupon keywords it would immediately hit the company’s bottom line.
How long can RetailMeNot stay on top?