Shop Codes California Dreamin

Shop Codes visitors arrive from 96 different countries. So as well as promoting those in Great Britain I’ve trialled diversifying into other lucrative markets.

Outside of the UK and USA, my visitors are mainly from Europe, Canada and Australia. Germany and France make up most of the European market.

I contacted Webgains to see if they could help me find a few European merchants I could promote. Their German counterpart got in touch and was keen to send me lots of promotional coupons for merchants in that market.

So using Babelfish, I translated the offers and built a couple of pages. Now I had a dilemna. Was the wisest thing to try and translate the German into my own English version or paste verbatim the German text. I ended up with a mish mash and the page promoting a Coupon Code is the 5th result in the German Google for the same search term.

I’ve been building pages in German yet the closest I’ve come to learning German is from episodes of ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet‘ and those seventies movies with the American ‘actors’ with German voices and English subtitles. So I quickly realised that promoting European merchants may not be the wisest choice. Geographically I should expand there but I have to follow the quick wins. So USA was the next target.

This morning I noticed in my referrer logs that I had two visitors searching for “20% code classiccloseouts” and “coupon code”. As this screen grab shows I am top result in for the term “ $10 code”. This is a US only merchant on the CJ network that always has coupons to promote.

Both visitors came from California but the stats also show that they didn’t stick around for more than a second, if that. All the same, World domination has started with that red speck to the left.

If Google UK decide to drop my site in the rankings in the coming weeks, I’ll be doing some ‘California dreamin on such a winter’s day’.

It pays to sign-off properly

On 16th April I started a thread on the affiliates4u site about the launch of Google checkout and how sales weren’t being tracked. The post included my signature which had a link to my Shop Codes site.

Later in the day ‘Qui Gon Jinn’ a moderator of the site moved the post to the ‘Affiliate Marketing – Moderators Choice’ section. As a result, the post was featured on the home page of the popular site.

It was a hot topic that got heated at times and the thread was viewed by members and guests over 2,300 times.

While the debate was in full flow, I stepped back, as I noticed another pressing matter – my site traffic was increasing exponentially. For more than a week, the site’s influential homepage was linking directly to my own.

I know this had a positive influence on how Google then looked at my site. Here’s a screengrab of how my traffic grew.

It’s no coincidence. I’ve mentioned in my own blog that May 2007 was a record month for my site and I have not looked back since.

Qui Gon Jinn, aka Moose, I’ll get you a drink if I have the time to attend an affiliates get together.

Meanwhile, if you write subtle page signatures, you never know what results it may bring.

BedStar site in Google includes my tracking code

If you perform a search for “BedStar” on Google, their site is the number one result in the organic listings. The title, description is exactly as it is from their site. However, the display url is a webgains one and includes my affiliate tracking code.

Beds are expensive purchases and so I quickly noticed some high commissions being received and with Webgains statistics you can see the referring page for the sale.

The stats show that this has been present since 1st September which coincides with Shop Codes gaining a lot more respect in Google. My discount code site is currently receiving fantastic traffic at the moment and so it looks like the search engine is giving my links a bit more weight.

A quick search on Google shows that BedStar are not the only merchant to experience this issue. There’s a discussion at Google Webmaster help on Affiliate Links in Natural Search Results“.

“Recently we’ve noticed that our affiliates’ links have replaced our site links in natural search engine results. However the Title and Description listed is not our affiliate’s but our own. It appears that Google is following links on affiliates’ sites to our site. Indexing our site based on our site optimization, but listing referring URL (affiliate’s) in their database.”

I don’t use paid search to advertise Shop Codes. It’s just too costly. Instead I optimise my pages so that they appear as high as possible in the organic search results pages, to attract shoppers searching for a merchants discount codes.

I also don’t use redirects, framing, popups or pulldown menus. I just link to merchants with standard text links and creatives supplied by the networks.

All in all it’s a well opimised site and ethical site. So, open question to any readers out there, which may or may not include BedStar or Webgains themselves. Are the sales legitimate? Would BedStar have a right to cancel any sales? I personally think they’re legit as in theory having that link on Google is no different to having it on my own blog. It’s just that the volume of numbers and that it’s Google make it a unique case.

It’s worth pointing out that I’m not making many sales out of this. BedStar will be the losers, who may see a drop in traffic and therefore sales as visitors may not be happy with clicking an unrecognisable display url.

I predict that Google is going to change my own rankings on the 30th of this month. Assuming they’re spidering my pages daily I could help BedStar by removing all affiliate links and just linking straight to their site? If that would make a difference or not I don’t know. It would mean I miss out on any commissions though.

Anybody want a bed? I know of a great metal bed shop that could do with some link juice.

12% drop in available discount codes

I know of at least 25 merchants that are currently not offering discount codes whilst they did last month. This included a dozen merchants that offered an exclusive code to me. I’ve emailed and got positive responses from 4 of those but I haven’t taken the time out to contact all 12.

I’ve looked at my top 20 performing merchants to see whether a lack of codes generally or lack of Exclusive codes will make an impact on my profits. The answer is a clear YES.

  • 35% of the top 20 merchants have kindly provided an exclusive voucher code.
  • 20% of merchants offer a discount voucher to new customers, which all affiliates can promote.
  • 20% of the merchants have not offered a code recently or do not have a code facility.
  • 15% of the merchants have discount codes available to all affiliates.
  • 10% of the merchants currently have no code but have had one just expired.

In October 2006, I wrote “Exclusive Discount Codes Wanted” on Affiliates4u. I had 22 Exclusive codes at the time. Today, it’s that number plus another 100.

Exclusive codes are a staple diet of Shop Codes and they’re often the only merchants who you’ll see on my most visited page.

As I reported in my last post, September is going to be a strong month for Shop Codes as I’ve got a 400% increase in traffic. I’m happy for merchants to take advantage of that uplift.

This post is not a plug for more exclusive codes though. I just want to see more merchant codes made available to all affiliates. Only four days ago I had at least 60 more on my site to promote.

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