The Remarkable SEO Success of RetailMeNot

May 6, 2014

For a case study on the leveraging SEO (search engine optimization) success, turn to Priceonomics‘ post, “The SEO Dominance of RetailMeNot.” Priceonomics is in the business of analyzing the SEO effectiveness of publicly traded companies for its hedge fund clients. Writer Rohin Dhar makes clear this look at one success story is meant to showcase his firm’s work.

RetailMeNot is a digital coupon site that employs a number of tricks to capture a striking amount of shopping traffic. Note that this write-up is not about how the company achieved its unusual click-through success; Dhar admits he has no idea. Rather it explains the steps one company is taking to make the most from that market dominance. Our main question, though, remains unanswered—what do such steps mean for relevance and objectivity of a searcher’s results? After all, other shopping and promotions sites might decide to copy RetailMeNot’s formula.

A theme that caught my eye is the warning Dhar includes about the shifting fortunes of those who hitch their wagons to Google’s search algorithms. He writes:

“Given Google’s dominance in search, conquering its results page can be incredibly lucrative. But in RetailMeNot’s case, it’s also a lot of eggs in one basket. A shift in the Google search algorithm could cause the entire company to collapse. Traffic would plummet, leading to declining revenues and a flailing stock price.”

Later, the article concludes:

“But SEO is both RetailMeNot’s major strength and its achilles heel. There might not even be a precedent for a company dominating monetizable keywords so thoroughly for an extended period of time. At some point, Google will change the rules, RetailMeNot will trip up, or competitors will catch up. It’s not really a matter of if Google pulls the rug out from under you, it’s a matter of when.”

Will RetailMeNot and similar sites be able to adopt an agile stance, one that will allow them to stay on their feet when that proverbial rug is pulled?

Cynthia Murrell, May 06, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext


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