Jan 15th, 2009 by Joel McLaughlin
No beef, just advice
I love Foot Locker, and enjoy shopping at their stores; heck you might see me walking down the street with some fly Adidas or Nikes once in a while before I get ready to play some B-Ball. However, being a search engine optimization Guru – I feel that they have dropped the ball when it comes to SEO and search engine friendliness. This obviously is nothing against them, yet simple advice that can save them lots of money!
They have a great looking website, but no search friendliness
Their website is very appealing (appearance wise) to the users, however unfortunately the search engines natural crawler could really care less to give them top rankings – even though a website of their caliber with large amounts of popularity should have top rankings. I also understand that they probably invested a huge amount of money in to their website application, and it may not be easy to change; but I am almost positive that they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on PPC advertisements, and that could be greatly reduced if organic results were producing better returns.
They aren’t coming up in Google search results
I searched for Mens shoes, womens shoes, nike shoes, adidas shoes and michael jordan shoes. They are nowhere to be found in Google, and that presents a major problem! A website with such massive Google trust and website popularity should be able to easily dominate most of these terms.
Now let’s get to the problem areas
Now I want to break down areas that they failed. The main problem is link flow, and navigation! Plain and simple! The website is pretty easy to use from a users standpoint, however if they changed around some words “here and there” and made some other adjustments, in a few months they would be livin’ large and selling lots of Jordan shoes through free search results!
I understand it’s easier said than done
I understand that they want to keep the top navigation simple and they probably don’t want to change around text. I also know that changing the structure of a large software application isn’t cheap. They need to implement more descriptive links within their website – like Zappos has done (they don’t even need to go to the extent that Zappos has to make an impact)
I personally would recommend they give it a trial run by creating a quick links section to popular areas low on their page, with links like this:
Mens Shoes | Womens Shoes | Nike Shoes | Michael Air Jordan Shoes
Long URLS many categories deep
Now! Next issue that needs to be address, they are using extremely long URL’s that are many folders deep, and Google doesn’t seem to like that – because they aren’t even passing page rank to these pages. An example URL I found for their Mens Shoes section is:
Solution – They should have a url like this (in my opinion): footlocker.com/mens_shoes or footlocker.com/nike_air_jordan_shoes – This can be done with advanced mod_rewrite techniques
Lack of Title Tags
If you visit the mens shoes link, they don’t even have Title Tags – which is a big mistake as many of you know.
Solution – Find or invest in a way that will allow the use of title tags in sub categories.
Bad navigation within sub-categories
Linking to their search engine instead of categories
Another major problem that I found is this; They almost always link to their products using their search engine as a functionality to link to products. I understand that they can probably show their website visitors more relevant results doing this, however it is ruining their website’s search engine friendliness. Instead they should be creating new “hidden” categories that link to the products and that link back to the main categories to help improve the websites link rhythm. In all reality, the best methodology is to link to main categories – passing on the “link value” to the important pages so the search engines deem them credible. This is not necessarily a bad thing, unless it is over done and used as the only internal linking method.
Solution – Do away with linking to their search engines, start creating categories for individual product lines. If a product applies to more than 1 category, place it in both categories.
Just found another issue, that I would do away with personally. I am not sure if it makes an impact, but I am always careful of this. They have a lot of junk CSS code sitting on their pages, that should be thrown in to files that are fetched from the server.
Now, let me get a few links promoted in this article that I am working on obtaining top ranking for. DataFlurry is your Professional search engine optimization experts and some of the best SEO consultants out there!