Priceonomics

Yesterday, RetailMeNot, the promo code aggregation website, had a very bad day. Google updated its algorithm, which negatively affected RetailMeNot’s position in search results. As we previously pointed out, RetailMeNot gets most of its traffic and revenue by dominating the Google search results for coupon codes. As the market got wind of early reports of Google’s update (code named “Panda”), RetailMeNot’s stock plummeted 20% yesterday and today.

So, what happened to RetailMeNot in Google’s search results after the update? We have the data.

Priceonomics Data Services tracks the search engine results for 263 of the most important keywords for RetailMeNot. After the Panda update, RetailMeNot fell in the Google rankings for 52% of these searches. It stayed in the same position 44% of the time and improved in 4% of search results.

A key metric for RetailMeNot is how many times it earns the #1 position on Google for its most important search results, such as “Walmart Coupons,” “StubHub coupons,” etc. Typically, the first result in Google searches gets the lion’s share of the clicks and RetailMeNot turns those clicks into affiliate referral fees very efficiently.

Source: Priceonomics data crawling

For these coupon keywords, RetailMeNot used to be in first place 71% of the time. After the Panda update, it is now the top position only 37% of the time. This is very bad for the company because its very good to be first in the Google results.

Who’s on top now? Well, retailers are increasingly ranking first in the Google Search results for coupons. For example, if you google “Avis coupons,” Avis now shows up as the number one result, replacing RetailMeNot. Also, across the board, Coupons.com is rising through the ranks and taking share from RetailMeNot.

And so, this has been another installment of "what Google giveth, Google shall later taketh away." If you’re interested in the full data, you can contact us here

This post was written by Rohin Dhar. Follow him on Twitter or Google Plus. To get occasional notifications when we write blog posts, sign up for our email list. 



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