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The new NFL season just started and it’s time to enjoy the game and cheer on your favorite teams. And for us it is time to take a look at the e-commerce website of The National Football League – http://www.nflshop.com/.

This website had sales of $90M in 2007 according to Internet Retailer and, unlike most of our SEO Mistakes picks, no brick and mortar stores. We can assume that any increase in the website’s traffic would generate significant additional revenue for them.

Search engine traffic is coming to this site from both paid and natural search sources, so let’s take a look at the website’s SEO to find some missed opportunities to improve on-page optimization and bring more traffic/revenue:

 

302 Redirect

The website has temporary (type 302) redirect from http://www.nflshop.com/ to http://www.nflshop.com/home/index.jsp. This type of redirect is not SEO friendly. It creates problems with link popularity distribution and shouldn’t be used for purposes other than temporary redirects. It is better to change it to a permanent (type 301) redirect.

 

JavaScript Menu

The website has a navigation menu based on JavaScript. Google has recently started to recognize, extract and follow JavaScript links; however, other search engines and visitors with JavaScript disabled can/will have problems with these links. It makes sense to use navigation menu based on CSS instead of JavaScript.

 

Text content

The website has a very limited amount of unique text content. Many product descriptions just repeat the same (or similar) descriptions located on other websites. Further, some products on NFLShop have only subtle differences in color/style but use a very similar product description. This creates duplicate content problems!

In addition to that the homepage of website also needs more text content.

 

Blocked text content

As we mentioned above the website has very limited volume of unique text content. A great source of free text is user-generated content such as reviews, testimonials, comments, etc. This website has valuable reviews for many products (e.g. The reviews for this game ball). Unfortunately, the search engines can’t view this text content because it is blocked by this “Disallow: /pwr/” rule in their robots.txt.

 

Blog in a Subdomain

The website has a blog. Unfortunately, it is located in a subdomain (just like ours *gulp*). The search engines treat subdomains almost like separate domains. That is why this blog doesn’t bring the same value as blog located in subfolder of the website.

 

URL structure

Their URL strings do not have any targeted keywords. Further they use dynamic variables. Some pages have acceptable number of dynamic variables (one or two). But some category pages just have too many of them. For example: this subcategory page with product listings has pagination URLs that look like an example below:

 

These pages have too many dynamic variables and make problems for the search engine indexing. It makes sense to change the URL structure to use more search engine friendly URLs.

Let’s just assume that implementation of suggestions listed above would increase organic traffic and revenue by 10%. It means additional $9M in sales per year (based on 2007 numbers). Do you think it is a reasonable investment? Would you keep missing the opportunity to make more money?

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