Words, Words and More Words

This past week in IMC619 we studied search engine optimization. Our task was to choose a Fortune 500 company and then choose three words to describe them. After choosing the words, we were to do searches on a desktop or laptop and our phones to see what we found. Results varied throughout the class.

I looked at Kroger as my search target. I chose three words, two of which I felt would definitely come up in searches. Those two were pharmacy and grocer. On the first page of my desktop search, Kroger was located tenth from the top for pharmacy. It appeared after CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and Caremark to name a few. My phone search did not show Kroger as being listed even when I clicked on the option of pharmacies in the Morgantown area.

The word “grocer” did not yield any results on either search. Some commentators even questioned why I would use that word because it’s not a “typical” word people use although it is a word that is associated with grocery stores, especially ones that sell produce. The term “green grocer” was used quite a bit when I was a kid and I have always called employees of local grocery stores grocers. Maybe it is relevant to my geographic area.

So what’s my point? How far should a company delve into search engine optimization? Should they be connected with any and all terms that relate to what they do? Should they only pay attention to words used today or should they figure out what words the various target markets they want to touch would use? Do these so called “obscure” words matter to a big company that may already be known?


I’m not sure there is a clear answer for these questions. The jury seems to be out as to whether keywords are as important as the placement of them. One thing I’m sure of is that companies need to continue to find the best way to connect with consumers via social media. If it’s through search engine optimization then it would seem to me that they should try to connect with words that most relate to what they do. Do you think it matters?



One thought on “Words, Words and More Words

  1. Hi Pam. Good points. I just would say that even big companies have limited resources and must focus efforts. The big question here is whether any company should the spend time and money optimizing to any broad, generic term for grocery whether it is grocery, grocery store, super market, food store, etc. Most local grocery stores spend a lot money on traditional advertising to create general awareness of the brand through TV, radio, newspaper, billboards. To pay to optimize and buy PPC on general broad search terms may not be an effective use of their resources if it is not going to get them new customers or is repeating an area they already have covered in other marketing communication. To get new customers and capture search they may be instead focusing on long tail search terms such as gluten free food or organic vegetables. Here someone may be on a new gluten free diet and are looking for a place to buy food. They may not know that Kroger has a good selection for them.

    A similar thing happens with Lowes and Home Depot. Should they spend time and effort optimizing to a broad term like hardware store when they spend and have spent a lot of advertising money establishing awareness for the brand as a hardware store? A search of “Hardware Store” reveals that Lowes appears as the number 10 search result and Home Depot doesn’t appear at all, even 10 pages in! What does appear are smaller Hardware stores that don’t have a lot of locations and a big general advertising budget to build more awareness.

    SEO is complicated. May companies hire SEO managers and this is there entire job.


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