using SEO to reach your potential:

a look at Target: Hit or Miss?

Have you ever wondered what happens when you type a word in the google search bar? Did you know that little digital robots and spiders are sent crawling all over the internet looking for keywords to bring you viable search results?  Well, it’s true!  Making the most of that process is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.  SEO is one of the most important online marketing tools companies can utilize.  Businesses and organizations should focus their efforts to make sure that they are ranking high in searches performed by their target audiences. If you can’t be found, you will be lost in pages and pages of search results and most likely you will lose out to another company that can fill the need of the user.  Let’s take, for example, Target.  According to Wikipedia, Target is a multinational retail company, with stores in America and Canada. The first Target store was opened in 1962 in Minnesota. It is the second largest discount retailer in the United States.  Walmart is the largest. Target operates 1,916 stores in the United States alone. (

To reiterate, Target is the second largest discount retailer in the UNITED STATES!  If anyone should be successful in online marketing and reaching their public, Target should. So, I performed a small experiment.  First, I compiled a list of ten keywords that came to mind when thinking about one of my favorite retail centers. I’m an average Joe, and these are the words I would use if I were trying to find Target’s website. Individually I “googled” each of those keywords to see if and how highly the company’s website ranked in the search results.  The results were shocking.  Out of the ten keywords I chose, one of them being TARGET, only 3 took me directly to their site.  Those words were…target, gift registry, and school supplies.  When I searched bullseye logo, I was directed to Target’s blog, which then linked me to the company’s online store.  I could not believe it!

By now, I am sure you are wondering what words didn’t work. Here are the keywords that didn’t direct me to Target’s website: bullseye, shopping, groceries, clothing, children’s toys or electronics. Am I wrong?  Doesn’t Target sell all of those things?  I decided to do a little digging.  I went to Target’s online store and took a look at its meta tags, a type of hidden language, which helps search engines find you.  Here are Target’s meta tags: target,,, target website, target online. Really?! I am amazed that operations as large as Target underestimate the importance of search engine marketing and search engine optimization.  For my search, Target missed the bulls-eye.

More information below:

This experiment, although small, was performed to test one of my favorite companies. I wanted to see if Target would rank in search results using a list of ten keywords that I would use to describe the company and products they sell.  What are your thoughts?  Without searching for anything extremely specific, what keyword’s would you have used?

Name of Company: Target

Search Engine: Google / First page results only

Keywords: Target, Bullseye, Bullseye Logo, Gift Registry, Shopping, Groceries, Clothing, Children’s Toys, School Supplies, Electronics


  1. Keyword: Target – 1st spot

Target: Expect More. Pay Less.

  1. Keyword: Bullseye – 0

Bullseye (comics) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  1. Keyword: Bullseye Logo – 1st spot & 7th spot

1st spot. Bullseye Love: The History of Target’s Logo | A Bullseye View

7th spot. On Target: How the World’s Hottest Retailer Hit a Bullseye ……Bullseye/dp/0471250678

The first was a blog about Target. (Really Cool), with a SHOP button that linked to Target’s landing page.

The second was an amazon link for a book about Target.

  1. Keyword: Gift Registry – 4th spot

Gift Registry: Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s showed up in top 5.

  1. Keyword: Shopping – 0

HSN and QVC both showed up in top 5.

  1. Keyword: Groceries -0

Wal-mart and Amazon showed up in top 5.

  1. Keyword: Clothing – 0

Zappo’s and Forever 21 showed up in top 5.

  1. Keyword: Children’s Toys – 0

Hearth Song, Melissa and Doug, and Ikea showed up in top 5.

  1. Keyword: School Supplies – 4th spot

School Supplies & Office Supplies: Target

Office Depot, Walmart, and Amazon also showed up in top 5.

10. Keyword: Electronics -0

Fry’s, Overstock and Walmart showed up in top 5.


On source page:

Target’s website listed the title as: Target: Expect More. Pay Less.

Keywords: target,,, target website, target online

<title>Target : Expect More. Pay Less.

<meta name=”keywords” content=”target,,, target website, target online”

On their landing page, you could find their name, their logo, a list of categories that included: clothing, shoes, and jewelry; electronics; toys and video games; grocery, household and pets; and back to class.  It also had a link to registries.

In content:

© 2014 Target Brands, Inc. Target, the Bullseye Design and Bullseye Dog are trademarks of Target Brands, Inc. All rights reserved.



The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.

Sydney J. Harris


3 thoughts on “GET FOUND or GET LOST

  1. Hi Kaitlin!
    Thank you so much for replying.
    I thought that too, that maybe my keywords were just too broad. Target does a great job marketing and reaching consumers. They are always listed as a retailer when I search for something specific, especially for my children. What makes me curious though, is that I would venture to say that Walmart and Target are competitors, and Walmart showed up on first page results often when Target did not. When considering keywords, I really tried to think of words I would use if I were trying to find their page, without using their name. I was really surprised that the Bullseye search didn’t pull higher rankings for them. I enjoyed reading all the others; Nike and McDonald’s seemed popular. I always learn so much reading the other posts.

    I’m going to try your suggestions, just out of curiosity.


  2. Love that you chose Target…and very daring given the diversity of products they sell. I am also surprised by your results. Maybe this is because of how large they are and that they may target (no pun intended) more specific keywords that attract individuals closer to the final stages of the purchase funnel. I would agree that it is surprising that they didn’t rank for some of the key terms; however, think how many retailers sell clothes….and clothes only (J.Crew, Gap, American Eagle, etc.). While Target is a big name brand, there are other companies that specialize in these items alone. When I think of Target, I often think home related items – I wonder what things like affordable home décor, patio furniture, etc. would come up with. All that being said, Target is they have a lot of ground to cover given the immense amount of products they offer, which I would think could (sometimes) be a disadvantage when it comes to SEO. Great post! I also LOVE Target – thanks for choosing it.

    Liked by 1 person

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