SEO Done Wrong: TJ Maxx

A Case Study on What We Can Learn From TJ Maxx and its SEO.

TJ Maxx is an American department store chain under TJX Companies based in Framingham, Massachusetts. Stanley Feldberg first founded Zayre Corp in 1956 and was president until 1978 and only retired in 1989. Once the company sold its Zayre name, the core brand of TJ Maxx remained. The next year began a series of expansion, beginning with TJX, HomeGoods, and TK Maxx in the European market. TJX acquired Marshalls and doubled in size, landing it on the S&P 500 in 1996. Following further expansion, TJX was 141st on the Fortune 500 in 2004. Ernie Herrman just recently took over as CEO at the beginning of 2016. TJ Maxx has over 1000 stores across the country, and a new TJ Maxx recently opened off of Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and the company shows no sign of slowing expansion.

In the online world, their URL is http://tjmaxx.tjx.com/store/index.jsp. Ew, right? Momentology offers a case study on what TJ Maxx is doing wrong and how other businesses can learn from it.

Although TJX is the parent company, the subdomain approach is odd since TJ Maxx is the primary location for visitors and customers. Typically, if a business decides to use subdomains, it is to simplify navigation for visitors. For example, business.com might use shop.business.com or blog.business.com. This ensures visitors are reaching the content they want. Here, TJ Maxx customers typically will not be interested in corporate TJX. Why bother?

Looking at metrics, no one is linking to tjx.com and they are instead linking to tjmaxx.com since the retail site is more popular than the corporate site. Local listings even still include links to tjmaxx.com. While it still redirects, there is no purpose in this and should be avoided. Local listings lead to the TJ Maxx homepage after a redirect.

Macy’s, another leading department store, takes a different approach. When listing local stores, the Google link is directly to the local store’s webpage. This makes sure that searchers are finding exactly what they need, and not just a general posting.

This is just another reason why businesses should optimize their websites not for search engines but for visitors. The user experience needs to be seamless, or else they won’t return. Similarly, if the user experience is subpar, then search engines will not benefit the website.

In addition, TJ Maxx websites often aren’t indexed enough to be crawlable.

Source: Momentology.com

Source: Momentology.com
Source: Momentology.com

Macy’s again beats TJ Maxx in providing crawlable links that are easily indexed by Google, allowing customers to easily find what they need regarding Macy’s website.

If we can see that TJ Maxx could use a lot of improvement, then why does TJ Maxx continue to do this?

The website tjmaxx.com used to be the domain when the website “peaked” in March 2013 in terms of web traffic. Maybe after that, TJ Maxx was looking for ways to improve their SEO and were simply unsure of how to improve them again.

Momentology offers a tutorial on how TJ Maxx could potentially fix and improve their crawl efficiency and SEO which could in turn result in millions more in revenue annually. Think SEO wasn’t a big deal?

If you’re wondering why few SEO case studies exist, it’s because most SEO providers don’t want to publish their true results. Unfortunately, there are more often dissatisfied clients than satisfied, making it difficult to publish positive case studies, especially while maintaining confidentiality.

While there may not be too many reports on what hasn’t worked for individual businesses, there are many resources with general SEO advice. While always changing ,they offer guidelines to optimize your website and improve your SEO in a dynamic environment.

Have you ever personally came across a website with poor user interface? How has that experience shaped your own SEO pursuits? Share your story in the comments below!

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