You would think multi-billion dollar companies would hire or use the best SEO resources, right? That doesn’t seem to be the case with Apple or Dell. Search the terms “computers”, “laptops”, “notebook computers” at Google, Yahoo! or MSN and the results of the top rankings are a bit surprising.
In the case of the Google results, both companies scored top ranking spots for “computers”, in the middle page in Yahoo! and not even the 1st page in MSN. “Laptops” and “notebook computers” provide even less-impressive results.
This tells me they didn’t SEO their website seriously for such common terms. They are getting the top ranking in Google, more so based on Google’s advance algorithm and page ranking system, then by a smart SEO strategy. In other words, plenty of websites link to those brands, but the content of the sites does not help with SEO.
So is “computers” really a search term worth targeting? Not particularly, since it’s well known such broad terms don’t convert to business as often as more-targeted terms. But why pass up the positive association you brand will earn with such a core term if you are a company as large as they are?
Think of the marketing potential a company like Apple could boast by leveraging this top position, “when you search for computers we are at the top” (with a clever ad agency spin and wording of course!).
Of course, people don’t set out to buy computers, instead when it’s time to shop in their minds (or search expressions) they are looking for a “desktop computer” or “laptop computer”, or even a specific brand or model to purchase. So a good target search term with positive conversion potential would be terms of that liking.
Check the search ranking for Apple and Dell for the more-targeted terms and their poor results (inconsistent from company to company and from search engine to search engine) clearly illustrates a fairly weak SEO strategy. So now their search marketing strategy is failing on two fronts. They are not capitalizing on the success of core brand terms, and completely passing up great sales conversion terms. This provides an excellent example of how even large well-established websites, should pay close attention to how search will define their business in the future.