Helpful SEO Promo Codes September 2023
From Google Search Central’s post on its Helpful Content system:
“If you host third-party content on your main site or in your subdomains, understand that such content may be included in site-wide signals we generate, such as the helpfulness of content. For this reason, if that content is largely independent of the main site’s purpose or produced without close supervision or the involvement of the primary site, we recommend that it should be blocked from being indexed by Google.”
From Gary Iilyes, Google’s Chief House Elf and Analyst:
“We’ve heard (and also noticed) that some sites “rent out” their subdomains or sometimes even subdirectories to third-parties, typically without any oversight over the content that’s hosted on those new, generally low quality micro-sites that have nothing to do with the parent site. In fact the micro-sites are rarely ever linked from the parent sites, which don’t actually want to endorse these often questionable sites. The only reason the owners of these shady (?) micro-sites rent the sub-spaces is to manipulate search results.”
From ahrefs, the estimated US organic Google traffic from coupon subdomains on various news sites:
Here’s the estimate for how many weekly Google clicks these sites get:
These subdomains are 100% third-party content, with zero oversight from the site owners. Often these “micro-sites” are strongly linked from the parent sites, because the parents know links will improve SEO performance and make them a lot of affiliate revenue. In fact the only reason sites like BusinessInsider and CNN partner with the providers of these coupon sites is in fact to manipulate search results (and make money from said manipulation).
While the trend for these particular subdomains appears to be downwards, they are still generating millions of clicks and dollars. These sites have been manipulating search results (and SEOs have been complaining about them to Google) for years.
For the record, I have no problem with these sites existing and ranking. It’s all part of the SEO game. In fact, after doing SEO for Coupons.com for years, I published this ridiculous Harbor Freight Coupon Codes page on our site just to show them how easy it is to rank for these queries on another domain (I was trying to convince them they had to get into the subdomain game in order to survive). I think I put the page up in 2018-19 and haven’t touched it since. It doesn’t rank great, but SEMRush shows it is showing up for at least 27 keywords:
Imagine if I linked to that page from one of the top news sites in the world…
Now you can make the case that pre-Internet, newspapers were the primary source of coupons so these subdomains make sense. And yes, I know, it’s possible that tomorrow Google will kill all these sites, but for now, this September algorithm update doesn’t seem particularly helpful, at least for those sites that actually provide coupons as their primary business.
Oh yeah, and apologies for the messed up blog organization on this site. We launched it before it was fully baked and have been busy with other cookies and cakes.