Big Retailers Flunk Search Test

Can someone, ANYONE, show me the camera aisle?

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[ Technology]

So, while perusing Google’s Hot Trends today I noticed a particular brand of digital camera was one of the top gainers in search queries: the Polaroid T730 Compact 7mp digital camera. Curious as to what’s so special about it, I googled it, only to embark on one frustrating journey.

Google Maps
 Google Search Results For Polaroid T730 Compact 7mp Digital Camera

Two things I learned: 1. When writing a review, don’t be an ass; 2. If you’re going to spend a lot of money on competitive keyword advertisements, it’s likely a best practice to give the searcher what they are actually searching for.

The top organic spot for those keywords doesn’t belong to Polaroid, as one might expect. Actually, Polaroid is nowhere to be found on the first page, organic or paid. Way to be in charge of your brand, there Polaroid.

Had the company been more proactive about SEO – yes, they actually have a website, and even a product page for the T730—interested customers would not have to suffer through number-one-spot squatter Woot.com’s excruciating review by "WOOTBOT," which earned the number one ranking as of midnight this morning. Despite the stupidity of it, I was still miraculously interested in learning more about the camera*, mainly because WOOTBOT didn’t mention a price.

Back to the search results, then. Not willing to brave another organic, non-Polaroid page on the product, I turned to the retailers who popped up for the keywords, who surely would have detailed (unbloviated) product information that included pricing, especially since I had to spend their money to find it.

Top result: Circuit City. Of course they’ll have all that. No, they don’t. In fact, clicking on the top paid search result directed me to a listing for Bissell Pet Odor & Removal Formula with Scotchguard, which retails for $12.99, in case, unlike me, you actually have a pet or find yourself in need of that information on The Price Is Right.

Google Maps
 Circuit City’s Paid Search Destination

Good job capitalizing on that ad spend, Circuit City. I’ll bet Office Depot knows how much it costs. Nope. Their paid link takes me to a landing page advertising 10% off, well, anything I guess. So if I ever actually find the camera and learn the price of it, I can save some unknown quantity of money.

Shopping.com? Close. Polaroid T730 memory cards, but no camera.

Amazon? Blank white screen. Service unavailable.

BizRate? Everything but that particular product.

Target? Enter your zip code to see the Target Weekly Ad. No thanks, and go screw yourself.

Google Maps
 Target’s Sign Up For The Weekly Ad

Wal-Mart? Polaroid TVs, cameras that perhaps are similar, but no trace of the T730.
Back to the organic results, then. Byrev.net had a much less BS-ified review, but still no price. DealsPlus: jackpot. $74.99, $5 shipping. Too cheap for me to be proud of as an expectant father, and I’m way too invested now to be disappointed with general affordability. I’ll dream about that $850 Canon listed below, and eventually buy something in between.

But here’s the point: Every one of the major, corporate retailers failed the search marketing test. None of them SEO’d their sites well enough to pop up in the top 10 organic rankings where searchers automatically associate credibility—until they read something written by WOOTBOT—and none of them actually capitalized on an interested buyer via great, relevant, and/or useful landing pages.

Lesson: Shoppers, especially during the discovery process, will give you, maximum, ten seconds (more like four) to earn their visit and/or business. They need information, not fluff, redirection, malfunction, or similar/related product pitches. Give them the right landing page and you’ll not only not waste your daily ad spend, but you may just earn a loyal customer who’s very tired of the BS.

*My best guess was that the review overall was positive, after sifting through stories of fat men and vacuums, and obscure Latin and German phrases nobody searching for camera information on the English version of the Internet needs to ever, EVER know.  


Big Retailers Flunk Search Test
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  • http://www.dreamworldstudios.com/work/interactive Minneapolis Web Design

    Things like this fasinate me to no end.

    This is where I see the real problem lies. If you were to present this "rabbit hole" you went down to someone in PR at Polaroid they would most likely roll their eyes and say that "people will just go to our website".

    Your lesson is something that is very difficult to explain to clients unless there was a proof-positive way to show all the times a searcher does NOT click on your link.

    Thanks for this!

  • Guest

    Wow. So Jason Lee Miler is a WebPro editor for technology and business and he doesn’t know woot.com? He accuses them of "squatting" and refers to their ad copy as "an excruciating review"? How exactly does one get to be a technology editor for a "webpro" site without being familiar with a website as popular as woot – did you just have to send in some box tops from your cereal boxes? While you set out to write an articel about SEO and big retailers, all you did was show your ignorance of the internet. I’d suggest you brush up on the web before pretending to know what you’re talking about.

  • http://www.rankbetterseo.com/Website-Design-Portfolio.php Law Firm Web Design

    Well most large brands have a more traditional approach to marketing.  They use the distribution channels to drive sales but now with the emerging affiliate programs, which are the new distribution channels, they need to really focus on protecting their brand or it will get smeared by greedy affiliates who care only about the bottom line.

  • http://www.seowebdesignfirm.com/seo-company.htm seo for ecommerce sites

    It is definitly a topic that needs to be talked about. Big brands seem to be relying on more of a distribution marketing model than an SEO model. This, in my opinion hurts the brand by leaving the marketing of such a powerful medium (online) up to amateurs.

  • Guest (Not a WPN reader)

    Maybe the listings have changed over the past month or so, but when I search: polaroid t730, I first get an Amazon lisiting (with prices!), and next polaroids own website lisitng for the product.   Tough stuff.  Also, the lack of listing on that camera might be becasue polaroid is going out of business, so maybe they don’t really care about advertising much, eh?

  • Guest

    A site called Web Pro News with people unable to use the "web" … Or have I stumbled upon a site regarding those who professionally pursue spider webs?


  • Guest

    The reason it was hot on Google is woot was selling it.  Wooters were doing their homework.

    If woot is selling it, likely no big name is, including the manufacturer.

    But wooters do manage to woot out the information on the web.  Read this.

  • http://wiaderko.net/tags/rapidshare/ rapidshare

    very nice tests

    now im going to make own tests :)

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  • http://www.lightingsupply.com/lighting_related_products/lutron_dimmers.aspx Lutron Dimmers

    very interesting…all those wasted dollars!!

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    hahaha… you are right Lutron.. All people wanted money…

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    nice shop site promotion… Like Ebay site..

  • http://www.internetmarketingindonesian.com/ internet marketing indonesia

    where can i buy a cheap digital camera in online shop..?”?

  • http://www.ofertastrabajomadrid.com/ ofertas trabajo madrid

    buy Nikon D60 Digital SLR Camera Body +2 Pro VR Lens +16GB
    4 Lenses, 16GB, BackPack, 3 Filters, Hard Case &More! at ebay just… $839.00..

    That is a good digital camera product like jason say…

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