Hey Media Sites! You Can Still Rank For Coupons Searches…

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by Andrew Shotland

Yesterday, my friend, Jon Henshaw, announced on LinkedIN that he had started a new job as VP of SEO at CNet. I was only being partially facetious when I commented on his post:
Jon Henshaw announces he is VP of SEO CNet
Coupons.CNet.com, like many coupon subdomains on other media sites, had taken a hit in the shorts thanks to Google’s Site Reputation Abuse update. According to Googlers, the update started with manual actions, and it seems like the algorithmic version of this will roll out shortly, if it hasn’t started already. So take what I am going to say next with a grain of salt (a recommended condiment for any SEO blog post, of course).

What if I told you dear news site executive that you could probably still rank for your precious best [brand] coupon & promo codes [month] 2024 searches? I can’t imagine you were making huge $ off these pages, but something about pure profit combined with struggling media business seems like a chocolate + peanut butter combo, no?

How do we rank for coupon queries without abusing our 4th estate site’s reputation you ask? As with most things SEO, the answer lies in the SERPs:

Fabfitfun promo code SERP

or how about:
Girlfriend Collective Discount Code SERP

What is Marie Claire, you mostly white, milennial-to-middle-aged male SEO types might ask? According to Google Gemini:

Marie Claire is a monthly magazine for women that covers a variety of topics, including fashion, beauty, health, relationships, celebrity news, travel, the arts, shopping, lifestyle, politics, finance, and career.

So why can Marie Claire get away with ranking for these queries that clearly rely on its site reputation to rank well while the likes of CNet, USAToday, LATimes, etc. can’t?

Their coupon categories page spells it out (you’re welcome for the link MarieClairers. Mother’s Day is coming up, ahem):

Marie Claire Coupon Categories Text
I am thinking Marie Claire will survive CouponAGeddon because it curates third party coupons and only displays coupons for categories/brands that are relevant to their audience. I don’t see Nord VPN coupons or Vista Print voucher codes. I see a lot of, well, Marie Claire-type stuff:

Marie Claire Coupon Categories SERP
Their pages for each brand don’t look too different than your standard coupon affiliate site. To my eye, the major difference is each page has an author. For example, Becky Spicer knows how to write a pithy copy block about MeUndies:

Becky Spicy, Promo Code Author
Actually, I’ve got to say, Becky’s blurb about MeUndies is pretty lame. It appears to be unique, but it’s super-dry:

MeUndies Promo Codes Copy BlockIf I were advising Marie Claire (ahem), I would recommend Becky add some personality into each of these. At the moment, I suspect the only things saving these from an algorithmic or manual deindexing is that the coupons are relevant to the site and they link to them from actual articles that are relevant such as:
Internal Link to Converse Promo Codes Page From Article About AirJordansThis tactic may be dead in the water, but standing up these pages seems like it would be dead simple. Again, Google may kill these pages next week, but for now, I think you could credibly make a case that this is helpful content for your audience. I mean, come on:

Southwest MeUndies Promo Code


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