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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Lovin' It, But Not Findin' It

On ClickZ today, Pete Blackshaw makes a good point about the inadequacy of the site search on Mcdonalds.com. If they're all about the salads, then how about some smarter results when you go type in "salads" into the site search box?

I've been pondering the McDonald's salads example for awhile, and even worked a lengthy discussion of it into a draft chapter of my forthcoming book. This got mixed reviews at my publisher. An editor wondered why I was so eager to toss in examples from huge companies instead of focusing on "real life" stories about smaller businesses using Adwords. (One might as well ask Machiavelli why he wrote The Prince instead of "The Profitable Baker," but anyway...)

McDonald's could really use some search marketing to go with their marketing. I know they can do it, because along with other large companies, they're no stranger to bopping users over the head with big banners at sites like ivillage.com.

A Google search for the term "salads" turns up Subways.com in the first organic position. And few if any advertisers. Nice going!

McDonald's is up to something with AdWords, though, at least in Canada. If you type in "McDonalds" you see an ad for mcdealcanada.com, which is an official McDonald's site that outlines the daily "inexpensive sandwich of the day" ($1.69 Cdn.) for each day of the week. ($1.79 in Thunder Bay. Sorry.)

That's a head-scratcher right there. McD's is trying to create floor traffic by marking down Big Macs and other lower-margin products, when the business pages tell us that McDonald's new-found profitability is attributable to their salad lineup, which would be extremely easy to promote! But maybe people drive up to the window motivated by the cheap Big Xtra offer, and change to a salad at the last second.

Who knows what they're thinkin'. But I might have to make a trip to Subways tonight to reward them for their excellent ranking on the term "salads." Call it search karma.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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