H&M reaches sales goals without the help of SEO keywords.
I chose H&M as my multinational company. The Swedish-based retailer, officially known as Hennes & Mauritz AB, is known for selling affordable clothing for women, men and children in 2,500 stores across 44 markets and online. Many of you have also probably seen the company’s minimalistic yet eye-catching advertising campaigns in shopping malls, on billboards or even in metro stations.
I thought it would be interesting to choose H&M for this assignment because the company only started selling its clothes online to U.S. customers last August. Before that, Americans had to visit one of its retail stores to get their hands on these affordable pieces. I was interested in seeing how H&M’s SEO stacked up against that of other multinational companies that have been using online shopping for much longer.
I predicted that H&M would be on the first page of Google for the following keywords, but I was only partly right.
- Discount clothing– Page 1, result #2 out of about 2,270,000,000 results.
- Discount clothing stores- Page 2, result #3 out of about 126,000,000 results.
- Discount men’s clothing- Beyond five pages.
- Discount women’s clothing- Beyond five pages, but H&M is mentioned at the bottom in the “searches related to” section. It’s interesting to note that Forever 21, one of H&M’s biggest competitors, takes the #2 spot for this keyword.
- Affordable men’s clothing- Beyond five pages, but H&M is mentioned at the bottom in the “searches related to” section.
- Affordable women’s clothing- Beyond five pages, but H&M is mentioned at the bottom in the “searches related to” section.
- Clothes on sale- Page 1, result #2 out of about 271,000,000 results. It was beat out only by Forever 21.
- Men’s clothes- Page 1, result #4 out of about 176,000,000 results.
- Women’s clothes- Page 1, result #4 out of about 177,000,000 results.
- Children’s clothes- Page 1, result #4 out of about 69,400,000 results.
H&M Coding Review
The coding for the company’s homepage does not contain any meta keywords, nor does it contain the words discount, affordable, clothing or clothes. The word store, not stores, appears only in the form of “store locator” and “in- store”. Men’s and women’s clothes are referred to as “men’s fashion” and “women’s fashion”, which is why H&M did not rank high for the “men’s clothes” and “women clothes” keywords. The keyword children’s clothing was nowhere to be found. It’s interesting to note that, according to H&M’s coding, the most popular keyword on my list was sale. It was found a total of 62 times, but was not written as clothes on sale.
Based on these findings, I have come to a few conclusions. While SEO is an extremely important part of building a brand’s online presence, H&M realizes that people who are searching for its clothing, shoes and accessories online aren’t typing in keywords such as discount clothing; rather, they’re typing in hm.com and probably have been doing so even before it began selling to U.S. customers online. Once a brand establishes itself as the go-to brand for a particular category, in this case for affordable fashionable clothing, a lack of SEO for certain keywords can’t really take away from its success. In fact, immediately following the opening of its online store in the U.S., the company actually reported massive Q3 profit increase.
Overall, the company is still doing remarkably well for six out of the 10 keywords I selected. Perhaps its due to its presence on Google+, which has been the topic of many marketing case studies. Each day, the company connects with more than 940,000 people through photos, videos and exclusive content that reinforces its brand as a fashion lifestyle.