¡Yo quiero SEO! Taco Bell’s Simple SEO Failures

¡Yo quiero SEO! Taco Bell’s Simple SEO Failures

Last night I thought I wanted Taco Bell for dinner. Somehow the gastrointestinal torture was an acceptable trade off for that delicious grade D beef that was cooked about three months ago and frozen before being shipped cross country in warm container trucks.

Not knowing what I wanted though, I went to check their menu online.

Do a search for Taco Bell on Google. Here’s what you’ll see:

Yes, their title tag is “tacobell.com”. Once I saw that, hunger subsided and I immediately began critiquing their web site’s SEO. Or, lack thereof.

Here’s what I didn’t like…

META Keywords: I have to start with this because they actually took the time to edit their META keywords tag, but not their title tag. Some of my favorite phrases in their keywords tag include:

  • Taco fu
  • kung fu
  • games
  • fun games
  • action games
  • food fight
  • outside
  • locations
  • drive thru
  • yum
  • bowls
  • food square
  • big box
  • bun
  • Official site

That’s an unfair start since keyword tags are completely useless… But I had to. Anyone thinking that their site is being optimized for “yum” or “taco fu” needs to be acknowledged.

On Page Content
Non existent. In the eyes of the search engines anyway. Here’s the actual on page text that is available:

Get Flash
logo
Taco Bell requires Flash
It appears that the Flash plugin has not been installed on your computer. This site makes extensive use of this plugin and is required for viewing.
Please download the free plugin by clicking here.
If you feel you have reached this page in error, please click here to continue to the site.
Get Flash
logo
Flash Plugin Not Found
It appears that the Flash plugin has not been installed on your computer. This site makes extensive use of this plugin and is required for viewing.
Please download the free plugin by clicking here.
If you feel you have reached this page in error, please click here to continue to the

If you’re going to use Flash to deliver the majority of your content, include some useful HTML or alternative content. It’s only fair.

They could easily put the value of this homepage to use considering the depth of the site that’s inaccessible to spiders…

  • Pages Indexed at Google: 104
  • Pages Indexed at Yahoo!: 424
  • Pages Indexed at MSN: 212

Many of their internal pages are decent, too. At least in the sense that they’re better than the homepage. A great example of that can be found here.

Robots.txt
There isn’t one. See here: http://www.tacobell.com/robots.txt

Omniture Analytics & XML Files
The entire site is obviously tagged with Omniture despite not taking much advantage of the sProps or eVars. Not really an SEO element, but still worth noting.

There’s an abundance of XML files indexed too though and I think they’re not supposed to be.  Here are some examples:

Anyway, just some annoyances I ran across while trying to find some food. Enough with freebie advice.

10 thoughts on “¡Yo quiero SEO! Taco Bell’s Simple SEO Failures

  1. @Justin I caught that after I had posted it, but seeing “yum” was still too funny for me not to use.

    In reality though, if their delusional to the point that they think META keywords are important – why target “yum” and not “Yum! Brands, Inc.” ?

    I know I’m nitpicking… :)

  2. Hey Eric, that example of an internal page you gave also has an issue: no link whatsoever back to the main site. Once you get to the careers section, you can’t get back to the main site! Aargh…..

  3. The site is even worse for humans. Send your friend out to get you some Taco Bell, and then look at the website to try and determine what meal deal you are going to tell him you want….

  4. They’re relying on people linking in, that’s why they rank that well but yea it is a stupid move. But they still have the company name plus they have the domain in there (which is stupid) but they’ll still rank up for their domain in searches.

    The main thing is not the stupidity in optimization, but in the choice of keywords – kung fu…why kung fu? and what’s a Taco Fu? I admit I don’t eat often at Taco Bell, but I’ve never heard or seen that on their menu.

    The flash thing isn’t so bad, because Google has a really good index rate of flash content – they can pick up text inside it and lots of sites are already ranking on the serps for keywords found only in the flash file. I have a case study over at my blog that I’ll be posting soon that proves this.

    Anyways, the keywords is what I find odd …nice find.

  5. But in there defense it is all about how the site looks, and besides they have a multi-million dollar ad budget. Why worry about the little things… no one in the board room will notice.

  6. Ok guys. Time to take a step back from SEO and think outside what we all know is the most important field of knowledge in the world ever.

    Are Taco Bell number one for the query Taco Bell? Yes. Tick. Any other questions? No.

    Why would anyone there care about SEO past that point? They haven’t got a robots.txt blah blah blah. Who cares? Are they suffering from the lack of it? No.

    The person looking after SEO is probably a lot busier creating a flash game for their latest meal deal than worrying about SEO. Oh, TB doesn’t rank for “yum” or “fast food” get optimising…

    Sorry about the rant, but there are times when we have to think of the bigger picture, not everyone cares about SEO and some don’t for a good reason.

  7. @Fugazi I both understand and appreciate your points here. Sure, Taco Bell ranks for their branded search terms – but who doesn’t?

    SEO isn’t always ranking for terms. It’s also about delivering content to those conducting searches in a timely, reasonable and responsible manner. They could be doing things better, that’s all I’m saying. :)

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