I recently bought some new memory foam pillows on groupon – I get a very stiff neck from spending my life on laptops, actually the first item I’ve ever bought on groupon, and when redeeming the voucher I began to wonder if groupon is potentially detrimental to SEO (in the short term at least)
Geeks might remember the days of slashdot (/. to the geeks) – which would routinely take down a website with massive amounts of traffic. More recently credit card companies were taken down with distributed denial of service attacks. Back in the old days you could do a denial of service attack with a single machine, but these days it takes many machines around the world with their own high speed internet connections.
Sometimes social news sites such as digg still manage to take down sites on cheaper hosting, but its rare these days.
The difference between slashdot/digg traffic and groupon traffic, is redeeming voucher codes is a lot more server intensive than simply serving content.
One of the most damaging events for SEO is site down time – you can recover from it, but often your site can get completely nuked for an unknown period of time. It rarely takes more than a month to re-establish some positions, but often it takes up to 3 months to recover previous traffic figures.
So when I came to redeem my groupon voucher for the memory foam pillows (£15 each, total bargain) I noticed the homepage of “cloud memory foam” displayed the following message:
So partially by choice, probably in response to being taken down by excessive traffic, cloud memory foam decided to take their homepage offline. I’m not sure they’ve ever generated traffic from SEO, but whatever SEO they had is taking a hit as we speak.
One school of thought might be “yeah but they made a bunch of money from the groupon offer” but remember they are selling their products for a massive discount, and potentially aren’t making more than a few £’s per product, and as a direct result they have had to compromise their SEO, the sales of which would earn £45 additional profit per sale…
I wonder if it’s worth it? Maybe if they make the most of their newly acquired list, maybe if SEO wasn’t a core part of their business… but in this particular case groupon was bad for SEO. (in the short term at least). Arguably longer term the additional exposure and potential links might benefit their SEO… potentially…