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RetailMeNot Crushed by Panda in Q2, But Partially Recovers

jessica-lee
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Google Panda 4.0 rolled out in May and several websites were crushed in the process.

Searchmetrics came out with a report following the announcement to show some sites were experiencing an absolute loss in “SEO visibility” up to 75 percent. Among those sites was online coupon giant RetailMeNot.com, which experienced an absolute loss of 33 percent, according to Searchmetrics data. 

retailmenot-home-page

So what does that equal in traffic and dollars? Apparently, it’s worth noting. RetailMeNot came out with its Q2 2014 earnings this week, and according to MediaPost, the company experienced a loss due to Panda.

The report quotes RBC Capital Markets Analyst Mark Mahaney, who said revenue came in slightly below the street because of the "well-publicized Google SEO algorithm (Panda) changes."

RetailMeNot CEO Cotter Cunningham said during the earnings call that organic search represented 64 percent of the total traffic to its websites for the quarter and that they were partially recovering from Panda.

“We did see our organic search rankings impacted beginning mid-quarter and while we’ve seen a partial recovery over the past two months in overall organic search rankings, we're not back to the growth levels we were seeing in the first quarter," he said.

In a January 2014 article for Search Engine Watch, Chuck Price pointed out that RetailMeNot was backed by Google Ventures (GV), the venture capital arm of Google, which provides seed, venture and growth-stage funding to "the best companies,” the GV website says. 

retailmenot-on-google-ventures

But just because it’s backed by GV doesn’t mean it gets special treatment from the Google Search algorithm, as evidenced by RetailMeNot’s decline and a comment on Price’s article from another company backed by GV, CustomMade.

“GV does not provide any special treatment to its portfolio companies as it relates to search, I can assure you," wrote CustomMade Co-Founder Seth Rosen. "The integrity of their algorithm vis-a-vis its ability to rank the most relevant content is far more important than any returns they would get by artificially juicing the SEO of their portfolio companies. They do provide us with numerous other benefits (i.e. access to lots of interesting talent).”

Although desktop revenue grew 27 percent year-over-year to $49 million in the June quarter for RetailMeNot, MediaPost notes it was “slightly lower than RBC estimates of $50 million, mainly due to lower desktop revenue per visit, ‘likely due to the Google algorithm change,’ per Mahaney.”


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