Nike and SEO


Nike - MotivationThis week we looked at different Search Engine Optimization or SEO tips. We learned how companies excel and how they really drop the ball sometimes. I decided to look at a huge company, Nike and see how they were doing when it came to SEO. I chose Nike, since when I think about the company it inspires me with a whole host of motivational thoughts when it comes to working out and bettering myself through physical fitness.

These are the key words I chose to look up:

1 – Fitness clothing – did not show up on the first 20 pages

2 – Sneakers – showed up on page 2

3 – Just Do It– showed up on page 1, second link down and at the top of the page showed this

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 8.17.38 PM

4 – Athlete – Did not show up on the first 20 pages

5 – Athletic Clothing – Showed up on page 4

6 – Fitness Accessories – Did not show up on the first 20 pages

7 – Workout Accessories – Did not show up on the first 20 pages

8 – Workout Clothing – Showed up as the last link on the first page

9 – NFL Clothing – Showed up midway through the first page

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 7.39.59 PM

10 – Sportswear – First link on the first page

So what does this mean for Nike? Well, honestly it is a bit disappointing. I can’t figure out why so many keywords wouldn’t be in the keyword section of the HTML coding when it should be. All of the key words and phrases I looked for are things that pop to my mind when thinking of workout clothing and accessories. Here is the actual HTML coding for Nike’s website:

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 8.49.18 PM

The coding is showing keywords such as “sports, training, athletes, shopping, Just Do It.” I am really shocked that there were not more keywords about clothing or accessories. Nike mainly sells sneakers and clothing and yet even for sneakers they showed up on the second Google result page. Most people who search, 92% only stay on the first page of Google results. If you aren’t on the first page of results when looking up a keyword you are losing a lot of possible consumers. While Nike is doing really well and may not be missing the extra business, I highly doubt that they would be okay with knowingly turning customers away, which is what they are doing when they don’t show up at the top of Google search results.

I would highly recommend that Nike take a second look at what they are putting forth as  a priority when it comes to their website coding so that they show up higher in rankings moving forward.

11 responses »

  1. I was wondering when this would come up. You noted that “sneakers” did not produce a result until the second page. That is a word for athletic shoes I hear my father use once in a while, but they’re always tennis shoes to me, and that’s regardless of what I do when I wear them. Other people might call them gym shoes or high tops.

    Any organization working across a wide geographic area or one with a diverse population needs to be aware of regional linguistic differences and make sure the various terms their audience might use are included. They might be leaving a lot of potential customers behind otherwise. I just did a Google search for gym shoes and Nike was the first hit. Adidas was the first result for a search of high tops.

    Take a look at some of these maps showing regional linguistic differences in the United States:

    You’ll see that most of the country calls those rubber soled shoes shoes tennis shoes. And you can be sure that if I were selling sweetened carbonated beverages I would be sure to cover all my bases, even though every sane person know it’s all Coke.

  2. It almost seems snobby — like Nike only wants to market to athletes and not to the common person who is just looking for a pair of tennis shoes or some running shorts. Obviously, they’re not going out of business any time soon, but like you said, they are missing out on lots of people searching for basic Nike gear. You know, the non-Olympians. This reminds me of Gatorade. I haven’t really played competitive sports since I got out of high school (unless you count basketball in the driveway), so now, rather than a post-game thirst quencher, Gatorade is usually a hangover cure or a dehydration-staver-offer after mowing the lawn. But their CEO publicly said, that people like me “didn’t really have a right to exist in the Gatorade world” ( Instead, they choose to market to serious athletes, which is fine if they want to miss out on marketing to those of us who are shorter than 6 feet and can’t bench much but still drink Gatorade.

  3. Hi Amanda!

    I was right there with you on all of your keywords! It’s crazy that not many of them were actually included in their HTML coding! I came across the same situation when I looked up the keywords included in McDonald’s coding – I was shocked! Golden Arches didn’t appear even once – I mean come on! I think what we are finding is evidence that large well-known companies and brands are not that concerned with including a wide variety of keywords in their webpage coding. They seem to get plenty of business and recognition, so why spend that extra time doing the little things like increasing your SEO potential? Clearly these larger companies and brands need to reevaluate some of their marketing approaches!

    • I agree! I think that some companies either feel that they have enough business, or get too detailed in their keyword searches. It does seem shocking that Golden Arches wasn’t there for McDonalds or that Athlete didn’t show up for Nike. I really think that sometimes companies go for what they think about the company, and not realize what the public thinks of when they think of the company. I think if they asked in a quiz what keywords people thought of when thinking about a specific company they would realize how different some of the keywords actually are. Thanks for commenting!

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