The SEO Tip Online Retailers Still Are Not Taking Advantage Of!

A while back I posted about the opportunity most retailers miss out on – optimizing their own websites for their store names plus “free shipping.”

Related searches in Google indicate the suggestions are highly searched, and therefore valuable to optimize for.

Add to free shipping searches for “promo code(s),” “voucher code(s),” “coupon code(s),” “discount code(s)” et cetera. Customers are actively Googling these terms, and guess who’s cherry-picking the traffic? Affiliates, and collecting a nice commission along with it.

I suggested 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. Have I ever seen it in practice? No. I got excited when I spotted Macy’s linking to a list of codes off its shopping cart review page…

…which links to:

But, because the coupon codes are in JavaScript, Macy’s special page is not crawled or indexed in search engines. It misses all the organic traffic it could capture from the searches on “macys coupon,” “macys promo codes” etc.

I’m still keeping my eyes peeled for a major brand to take advantage of this low-hanging fruit. In the mean time, why don’t you use this trick for your own online store and create an optimized landing page for your coupons and free shipping offers? Hint: Make sure your title tag includes the keywords “free shipping” and “coupon codes” at a minimum.

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15 Responses to “The SEO Tip Online Retailers Still Are Not Taking Advantage Of!”

  1. Jessica says:

    That’s a really good idea. I might float it past my clients…

  2. Great tip. Taking advantage of this kind of “long tail bargain searches” is a great point.

  3. Good tip Linda,

    Having this a page optimized with coupons would be one of the few reasons to have that “promo code” box so visible in the first place.

    My thought is that, for those who don’t have this kind of coupons page, it’s not the best idea reminding buyers that they can leave the site to search for a promo code in the first place.

    I lean towards making that “Have a promo code” very subtle. If you have the code, you’ll look for it until you find it. I know I would :)

    What do you think?

  4. Jacob Maslow says:

    You can make the page noticeable.

    You can put a bunch of coupons to cover numerous price points and categories.

    If your average order is 100.00 a coupon for 5% off any orders over 300 or 400 is safe.

    Certain brands can be more affordable. Free shipping on some or all items. Many sites offer free shipping coupons for items that already have free shipping.

    Amazon gives free shipping for anything over 25 dollars. Nevertheless, you can find coupons to get the free shipping

  5. hi, Linda, how are you?

    I actually would not do this. The reason being it’s too risky. If the page is very popular, it will make it into your google sitelinks (the little sublinks under the main listing) when someone searches for your brand. ie, you will end up giving away discounts on a large proportion of brand searches that would have resulted in a sale anyway.

    You can exclude individual pages from sitelinks, but (in my experience) the more popular ones then tend to show up as the additional link google shows below the sitelinks.

    Instead, I’d create a ‘coupon codes’ page that can’t be indexed (as macy’s have done), and *only* publicise it via PPC. The cost of a click will be tiny as it’s your brand, and this allows you to control it more tightly.

    Let me know if you think I’m missing something here!


  6. Interesting strategy by Macy’s. I know when I’m making on online purchase, my workflow often goes something like this:

    (1) On the eCommerce site, find the item I want
    (2) Add item to the cart
    (3) Go through the check-out process until I see the “Enter Promo Code here” field.
    (4) Think “oh yeah, I should see if there’s a coupon,” open a new browser tab or window, google for “(SiteName) promo code”, and check out the top couple of results. Usually there’s nothing relevant, but occasionally there is — enough to make it worth the 60 seconds of my time to check.
    (5) Enter the promo code (if I found one).
    (6) Complete the check-out.

    It might make sense for retailers to experiment with trying to keep me on their own site in step (4), as Macy’s is doing. Maybe there’s opportunity for upsell?

    I don’t think I’ve ever personally abandoned a purchase due to not finding a promo code in step (4), but I have saved some money (and cost the retailer some margin) in a few cases when I have found and applied a promo code. I wonder if a valid strategy would be to not have a visible “enter promo code” field at all at check-out, and instead to offer only “click through” coupons that are automatically applied at check-out, to avoid triggering the “reminder” to customers to go off-site and search for a coupon code as part of check-out?

  7. Good points made by Dan and Jon above. Initially I thought this seemed like a good idea. But then the more I thought about it the more I struggled to see the real benefits. As Jon stated, most people tend to look for discount codes once they are already at the checkout… and therefore going to buy anyway. So would there be any real benefit in creating a landing page to outrank others for discount code searches on your brand?

    And as Dan stated, you wouldn’t want this page showing as an additional link in regular (non discount code) searches.

  8. The key point here… if the shopper is behaving in this fashion (leaving site to search for a code after adding items to the cart) it is best for the merchant to own the top search engine listing for ‘brand + coupon’. If an affiliate owns those spots, it erodes the margin by another 5-15% + the discount granted by consumption of the coupon. The merchant would just be hedging against affiliates sniping easy to convert customers.

  9. After posting this, I received an email from a large multichannel retailer who has been using this tactic effectively since last holiday season. The coupon page ranks #1 in Google and has “converted very well.”

    I have posted a couple other articles on coupon tactics if you’re interested:

    How to Grow Your Email List from Your Shopping Cart

    How Much is Your Coupon Box Costing You?

  10. its good stuff you’ve got in here. Been looking for it all around. Great blog

  11. @jason i agree entirely. the sad downside is you risk giving away 5-15% on purchases that wouldn’t even use a discount if/when this leaks into your main brand SERPs. managing it through PPC allows you to control & avoid that risk; managing it through natural search gives you no control.

    • @dan barker, that’s the evil side of coupons. You either offer them and they run out of control, or you don’t and you keep all your margins at the expense of sales. Interestingly, the latter might be the better strategy for many retailers :) But that’s fodder for another post :D

  12. Nice information, many thanks to the author.I agree with your thought.Thank you for your sharing.Great post! It’s very useful for me.

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