Forever 21 Search Engine Optimization Report

“Finding Forever 21”

For Business and Technical Writing 490, April 2018

By Indira Midha and Nora Halleran

Website Design

The menu design is effective in terms of the fact that it has the different categories of clothes well organized and it is clean at the top of the site. It is functional. That being said, I think there is way too much going on in the menu. The menu at the top of the desktop site is separated into the categories of “women,” “accessories,” “plus size,” “men,” “girls,” and “sale.” This division is well-organized, but when you hover the mouse over “women,” for example, the menu is divided into 3 overarching categories, “shop by category,” “shop by edit,” and “shop by brand.” I would make it so that customers could filter through edits (ex. “ the basics shop”) and brands on the category page that they click, not within the homepage menu.The graphic design and visual display features bright colors and is in theme with the design of the images featuring the products. It gives off a youthful, fun, adventurous, trendy vibe – which is tailored perfectly to the target consumer.

The site is organized effectively. Each photo does have a comment or title. The photographs show forever 21 clothing that is for sale. Most pictures are accompanied with the price. However, I think all items should be labeled with the price. There are only brief captions so there are no real paragraphs and the sentences are short and concise. Everything is spelled correctly with no errors. This is a shopping website, so people are not coming to it to read paragraphs. The content is and must be short blurbs of necessary information or one to two word descriptions of a piece. Forever 21 does the short descriptions effectively, but they could expand their use of descriptive words. Currently frequent words are “Trending”, “Occasion”, “Best Seller” and “Sale”. I think they can also use keywords like “College Style”, “Affordable”, “Budget-Friendly,” “Chic” etc. Using these keywords is important for rankings on search engine result pages.

While the website offers visual and written content, it also offers the option to play videos. I think making the videos an option is important, but they must be placed at a strategic place in the user’s trajectory when experiencing the sire. When somebody visits the website if they are bombarded with a video that they did not visit the website to watch they may be inclined to exit the site. The content has variety and it does periodically change. The shopper has the option to watch videos showcasing new clothes. There are links to interact with the company’s social media accounts and even to see tagged normal shoppers wearing these clothes as well. The website is effectively organized so if the shopper was looking for Women’s Shoes they can interact with the categories and find the selection fairly quick.

Appealing To Target Audience

The Forever 21 website has beneficial visual content that makes the products look appealing to potential buyers. Once a shopper comes to the website page they immediately see multiple photos of a variety of clothing, shoes, accessories and more. The photos range in clothing for different sizes and genders. It offers images of a wide variety of style as well. There are photos of casual and formal clothing. Including a variety is important to appeal to a variety of shoppers. If the site only included photos promoting one style, for one gender and for one body type, this would turn people away. The variety is enticing for everyone to continue to stay on the site and shop around.

However, the written content can be targeted better. I think placing a stronger emphasis on affordability and trends would benefit the website. Forever 21 is a brand that offers trendy clothing at a price that is reasonable for the average college student. A combination of visual and written content seems best. Offering a photo with a short caption promoting the price is key. The content could be more effective if it placed emphasis on being inexpensive for a younger budget, as well as fashionable. The content is correctly formatted and grammatically correct. Continuing to use short and direct phrases will fare well.

Search Engine Discoverability

The URL is quite sleek and easy – just does the job perfectly. It is easy to remember for customer retention. That being said, we had issues finding Forever 21 under the categories of “college clothes,” “cheap clothes,” or “trendy clothes” when we searched on Google. We did not find the store linked within the first 50 results on the Google search other than in the “shop” section, not within the actual linked results. The website can be accessed easily if you know that you want to get to Forever 21, which is effective for current customer retention, but lacks in terms of gaining new customers outside of through social media. The page titles are seemingly accurate and reflective of the content that customers are able to purchase on each page. The issue here is that we want the site to be bumped up on the Google searches in the above-mentioned categories. We suggest making alterations to make the site easily accessible. A goal upon improvement would be to come up within top 15 Google search results for “trendy clothing,” “cheap clothing,” “affordable clothing,” and “college clothing.”

Some meta tags that we suggest are “college-clothing,” “college-outfits,” “going-out-clothes,” “affordable-clothing,” and “trendy-clothing.” The current meta description is as follows, “Forever 21 is the authority on fashion & the go-to retailer for the latest trends, must-have styles & the hottest deals. Shop dresses, tops, tees, leggings & more.” We created a revised suggested meta description with only slight changes, “Forever 21 is the authority on fashion that won’t break the bank & the go-to retailer for the latest trends, must-have styles & the hottest deals. Shop dresses, tops, tees, leggings & more.

Include and emphasize the price of each item in the photographs. Really emphasize the affordability aspect but also the trendy aspect. Forever 21 offers the newest trends at reasonable prices and that it what many people in their demographic are searching for. The site should target “21” year olds, and ages surrounding 16-25. Emphasis should be placed on college (a place where many 21-year-olds are at in their life), going out clothing, and the affordability of it all so that it is appealing to this demographic.

Social Media

Shoppers have the ability to access Forever 21 through website on a computer, laptop, tablet and phone. Also there is an app. The format across these varies slightly, but overall it is user friendly. The website loads quickly, which is key in user friendliness, so we would not make too many changes or else this may be affected.

The following are our ideal Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for social media improvements.

  • Increase Twitter following to 4 million in 1 month while posting more often and expanding upon solely product-centric content
  • Increase twitter conversion rate by 15% in 1 month campaign while posting more often and expanding upon solely product-centric content
  • Steady increase in Instagram conversion rate by 5% in 1 month (already doing quite well, so we would like to continue to do this steadily) – indicative through more purchases from users directed to the site through Instagram, as well as more images of people wearing and styling the products tagging Forever 21 in the image
  • Steady increase in Facebook conversion rate by 5% in 1 month (already doing quite well, so we would like to continue to do this steadily) – indicative through more purchases from users directed to the site through Facebook

Social Media Post Analysis

Forever 21 has an overwhelmingly large and engaged following of 14.5 million users on Instagram (as of April 2nd, 2018). They are posting on Instagram multiple times a day, which is appropriate for a brand with that large of a following. The average amount of likes on an image posted is in the large range of 35 and 95 thousand likes. Videos posted on the page within the last month (similarly in the previous months as well) have received at a minimum 150 thousand views. Some videos are even approaching 3 quarters of a million views within a few weeks of viewing!

Something that we found effective was Forever 21 posting fun, non-product heavy content one to two times a week. These posts fare extremely well, and they are something that a Forever 21 shopper who follows the Instagram page would be likely to send a friend. If the friend finds this dog photo (this one has close to 164,000 likes in a matter of just one day, as of May 7th, 2018) great and appealing, they are more likely to click through Forever 21’s page, and they may stumble upon the other majority of the page’s posts featuring the store’s merchandise. A well-deserving round of applause is due to the people who run the Forever 21 Instagram.

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Instagram Likes Comparison Graph

Forever 21 Chart

We compiled the data for the chart above from the following tables accounting for the number of likes per post in two back-to-back 30-post cycles on Forever 21’s Instagram page.

We found that, while they are much less frequent, Forever 21 posting fun, non product-heavy content every once in a while fares well in terms of page engagement on the Instagram account. While these posts don’t seem to affect the following posts in any consistent manner, they are still beneficial in increasing account traffic, and helping attract new customers, as we discussed above.

2.3 million is the current following on Twitter for Forever 21. This page is posted on at least once a day, which is something I think should be increased. The Twitter page is also mostly just product-heavy content. Incorporating the same strategy as the company has done on Instagram, posting fun memes and videos, would make Twitter users more likely to retweet posts drawing attention to the brand, and their page. People on Twitter are always looking for a good meme. There are 15.2 million likes on the Facebook page. The page is being posted on multiple times a day, which is appropriate for the large following size. I would, however, suggest similar content updates like the ones suggested for Twitter in order to continue growing the following size.