Coupon Codes Gone Wild

For pretty much every etailer name I type into Google’s search box I get a prompt with a variation of “coupon code” in it.  Screenshots-

These are literally the first five companies I ran the test for.  Start typing the name of your favorite etailer into Google and see what happens.

So, what is the solution?  Is there a SEO workaround?  Should the etailer accept reality and develop/enhance their coupon code strategy?  If we ask Google to remove coupon variations from the prompt list would they comply?

Update: Get Elastic blog suggests that retailers create dedicated landing pages optimized for their own coupon codes because there’s a good chance the store’s domain will outrank the affiliate sites.  Another suggestion was given by Dan Barker (a commenter to their post).  Dan suggests creating a ‘coupon codes’ page that can’t be indexed, and *only* publicize it via PPC.

My suggestion is to do what Get Elastic recommends but instead of listing all your coupon codes list 10 and market it as that week’s promotion.  Most coupon hunters will scan the list and if they don’t find their coupon they’ll just buy the item at full price.  Some might leave the site and hunt other coupon sites.  One easy way to test this strategy is by running a split test where 50% see all coupons on the landing page and 50% just see the 10 promoted ones.  Let the test determine which performs better.

EMO (Email Marketing Optimization)

As I start this post I must confess my SEO knowledge is limited so if you see any gaping holes please point them out.  Ok.  For this example let’s consider a gourmet popcorn e-tailer called kukuruza.com.  Here is the situation (all made up)–  The key phrase gourmet chocolate popcorn is important for KuKuRuZa.  It has a high conversion rate and isn’t part of their PPC.  Googling gourmet chocolate popcorn lists kukuruza.com as the first result on page two.  Problem is that while this phrase has has high click-to-conversion ratio majority of potential customers simply don’t look beyond page 1 on Google.  Kukuruza has an email list of 12,000 customers.  They brainstorm on ways to improve ranking for gourmet chocolate popcorn and agree to break the customer list into 3 buckets of 4,000 ids and send the email below to each bucket once a month over a three month period.  The email:

From a marketing perspective this makes sense for the following reasons:

— This is a non-typical email so it will capture the attention of the recipient.
— There is a fun element to it (hunting for a discount).
— Time based limit creates sense of urgency.
— There is a clear 5% off benefit.

Here is the question- if 30% (i.e .3*12,00 = 3,600) of the recipients opened it and 15% (3,600*.15 = 540) participated would those 540 organic search queries improve kukuruza.com’s ranking for gourmet chocolate popcorn?