SEO for the Pet Industry: How to Manage Optimization for Online Pet Shop

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SEO for the Pet Industry: How to Manage Optimization for Online Pet Shop
03 October 2023
In 2023, a remarkable 66 percent of American households proudly declared their pet ownership. If you run an online pet store, this statistic suggests your target audience is astonishingly huge. So is your competition, sadly. No worries, though. By following this Pet Store SEO Guide, you can climb the search engine ranks and attract more pet-loving customers. Eager to learn how?

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66% means that in almost 7 out of every 10 houses you pass while driving your car, there is at least one pet that needs the food, toys, and other items that you, as an online pet store owner, offer on your e-commerce website.

Do you even know how many houses actually make up this 66%? It’s 86,9 million homes! This is approximately the whole population of Germany, or to stay within the American borders, it’s more than three times the population of New York City.

So, without further ado, let’s talk about the pet industry to help you realize how to do SEO for your pet store wisely and strategically.

Before Doing Pet Store SEO: The Intriguing Insights of the Zoological Industry

Pet ownership in the US has grown three times since the 1970s. How’s that? There are three main reasons for that:

Reason #1: As people’s lifestyles have evolved, pets have become more integrated into households. They provide companionship and emotional support, which is especially valuable in today’s fast-paced and often isolated world.

Reason #2: There has been a growing awareness of the benefits of having pets, both in terms of physical and mental health. Simply put, Americans have learned that having pets is good for their health and happiness, and that’s why more people are getting pets.

Reason #3: Improved financial situations have allowed more people to afford to have a pet at home. Also, they are more eager to spend their earnings on pet food, healthcare, and housing.

So far, so good, right?

Sadly, there is a slightly darker side to the zoological industry. In the recent couple of years, there have been some pretty significant price increases. Interestingly enough, the annual spending on animals hasn’t decreased.

bar chart showing US pet industry expenditures

source: Forbes

What does it mean to you? Basically, you absolutely must stay competitive – more on that below, but now you need to realize that looking up to big players and learning from their strategies is a good thing to do. Analyze their web design and try to understand why some elements are presented in a given way.

Coming back to our stats, if you’re wondering how much actually a regular cat or dog owner spends on their pets’ basic needs a year, take a look at the table below:

table showing annual spending on dogs and cats in the usa

source: Forbes

The juice is worth the squeeze, right?

So now, that you know the reasons why your target audience has been growing for the last decades and when you clearly see that it is eager to spend money on their dear animals, often compromising their own needs, let’s now take a closer look at who your target audience really is.

Who Makes Up Your Target Audience Among Pet Owners?

Pet ownership statistics paint an interesting picture of generational preferences in the U.S. Among the different age groups, millennials emerge as the frontrunners when it comes to pet ownership, accounting for the largest percentage at 33%. They are closely followed by Generation X at 25%, while baby boomers make up 24% of current pet owners.

graph showing share of pet owner by generation

source: Forbes

Which Types of Pets Are Most Popular in Each Demographic Cohort?

It’s no surprise that dogs are the top choice for households, whether we’re talking about Gen Z, Millennials, or Baby Boomers. Cats are also highly favored, coming in a close second. In the third spot, we find smaller four-legged companions like hamsters and guinea pigs.

a graph showing pet ownership by generation

source: Forbes

By looking at the graph above and taking into consideration the findings of the American Pet Products Association (2023-2024), it appears that the most popular pets in the USA are:

a graph showing most popular pets in the usa

source: Forbes

That being said, before you start with pet store SEO, take time to figure out your ideal customers among pet owners and adapt your marketing to their needs. Decide if you want to specialize in providing essentials for dogs and cats, where the competition is the latest, or become the top choice for niche markets like

  • Aquarium and Fish Supplies: Specializing in fish tanks, aquatic plants, and fish care products.
  • Bird Enthusiasts: Offering a wide range of bird supplies, including cages, feed, and toys for pet bird owners.
  • Reptile Keepers: Catering to reptile enthusiasts with products like terrariums, heating equipment, and reptile food.
  • Small Animal Lovers: Focusing on supplies for small mammals like hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs, including cages, bedding, and accessories.
  • Exotic Pet Owners: Providing specialized products for owners of unconventional pets like snakes, tarantulas, or reptiles.
  • Holistic and Organic Pet Products: Offering natural and organic pet food, supplements, and grooming products for health-conscious pet owners.
  • Pet Fashion and Accessories: Specializing in pet clothing, accessories, and grooming products for pet owners who love to pamper their furry friends.
  • Pet Bakery and Treats: Creating homemade pet treats and offering gourmet pet food options.
  • Pet Travel and Outdoor Gear: Catering to pet owners who enjoy outdoor adventures with their pets by offering travel crates, camping gear, and hiking accessories.
  • Senior and Special Needs Pets: Focusing on products and services for elderly pets or those with special dietary or health requirements.

There are two things you need to realize now:

📌 TIP #1: Choosing a niche market and adapting your marketing communication to the target audience can help you stand out in the competitive pet store industry and attract a loyal customer following.

📌 TIP #2: If your online pet store is struggling to get noticed, try looking at which website pages get the most visitors and which products make the most money. This can help you understand your company’s potential better.

When you know what your customers are and what products you want to sell them, it’s time to design or redesign your e-commerce website.

Things to Consider When Designing Your Online Pet Store

Whether you’re starting your online pet store from scratch or already have one in operation, there are key aspects to consider for a website that positively impacts SEO:

  1. Responsive Web Design
    Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, as Google prioritizes sites with mobile versions. This means your design should work well on smartphones and tablets.
  2. User-Friendly Shopping Cart
    Streamline your shopping cart for a lower bounce rate and increased sales. Make it intuitive and easy to use, reducing the steps required to complete a purchase.
  3. SSL Certificate
    Install an SSL certificate to boost user trust. This not only pleases Google but also reassures customers that their personal data is safe.
  4. Payment Methods
    Offer popular payment options to cater to customer preferences. Consider choices like cash on delivery, credit cards, quick transfers, and PayPal.
  5. Flexible Delivery Options
    Provide varied delivery methods, from parcel machines to door-to-door delivery. Customers appreciate choices and clear delivery information, which can influence their decision to stay on your website. In addition to these, focus on being
  6. Website Optimized for Search Engines
    Continue reading to discover how to enhance your pet store’s search engine optimization efforts.

The Basics of SEO for Pet Store

First things first, before you go knee-deep into pet store SEO, implement Google Analytics 4. Make sure this analytical tool is correctly set up on your website. Later, use it regularly to track your progress, including improvements in organic traffic, the success of specific campaigns, and the most effective backlinks attracting potential customers.

Later, investigate your domain’s history. Determine what website previously occupied this address and assess the quality of backlinks to your website. If you purchased the domain from someone else, these details are crucial before proceeding further.

Once your domain history is clear, check whether your website is mobile-friendly. This is crucial, so if you haven’t checked it yet, now is the time. Making sure that your online pet store is mobile-friendly is essential for delivering a positive user experience, improving search engine rankings, and staying competitive. It’s a critical step in your overall pet shop SEO strategy.

Now it’s time to do some keyword research. Identify the most relevant keywords for your pet store. Consider long-tail keywords and conduct thorough research into your target audience’s interests. This insight helps you create web content that your target pet lovers are eager to read and relate to.

Use Google Search Console to identify which pages on your online pet store receive the most visits from potential customers. It’s essential to determine whether people are drawn to your store by dog bedding, cat food, horse preparations, or riding accessories. While talking about analytics, it’s worth realizing that Google Analytics 4 can help you understand the age, gender, and location of your website visitors.

Finally, explore your competitors’ strategies. Make use of available SEO tools and your market knowledge. Investigate who ranks higher than you for specific keywords, analyze the reasons behind their success, discover where your competition advertises, and monitor their link-building tactics.

How to Add Products to Your Pet Store for Improved SEO

The way you add products to your website has a more significant impact on SEO than you might realize. Let’s take an example: imagine you want to add a new, stylish winter dog harness to your website. Here are the steps you should take.

STEP 1 Take & Upload Only High-Quality Product Pictures
It’s crucial to include high-quality images that show your products naturally and authentically. Avoid using overly edited or manipulated images. Users prefer to see how a product looks in real-life usage.

an example of a good product photo - a dog jacket

an example of a good product photo #1

another example of a good product photo - leash

an example of a good product photo #2

STEP 2 Name the Product Pictures & Write Alternative Descriptions
Google can’t “see” images, but it can analyze them based on the information provided in the code. Using an alt description like “winter dog harness” is far more valuable than something like “DCA120_LD.png.” More on naming the images on Does Image Name Affect SEO? Best Way to Name Images for SEO

STEP 3 Add Keywords to Title & Product Description
Use relevant keywords in both the product title and description. However, don’t over-optimize; aim for a natural balance. For instance, a “winter dog harness” is good enough. Ensure that each product description is unique to avoid Google recognizing duplicate content, which can negatively impact your search ranking.

STEP 4 Provide Customers with Product Availability Indicator
Clearly communicate whether a product is in stock or not to prevent customers from ordering items that are unavailable. This helps avoid disappointment for both customers and their pets.

an icon showing availability of a product
Of course, being low on some products or running out of them completely may be pretty problematic – after all, you don’t want the customer to look for the very out-of-stock product somewhere else, do you? Read the Product Unavailable: How to Deal With It Without Ruining SEO to learn some pretty clever tricks.

STEP 5 Display User Reviews & Ratings
Encourage public reviews and ratings for your products. Customers are more likely to purchase products that have been recommended by others.

an icon showing a star rating

Additionally, make sure to respond to reviews, both positive and negative, to show your commitment. This engagement can build trust and loyalty with your target audience.

Lastly, consider implementing a user-friendly review system (e.g. star rating) that allows customers to easily share their experiences, helping others make informed choices while boosting your website’s credibility.

STEP 6 Create Title & Meta Description
Fill in the title and meta description for each product. This step is beneficial for your overall SEO strategy, as it provides search engines with valuable information about your products.

Content Tips for Better Pet Store SEO

The pet industry offers many opportunities for your website’s content. While achieving a high search engine ranking involves adhering to complex algorithms that assess content quality, it’s just as crucial to consider your customers.

Remember, SEO aims to boost organic website traffic, and the content on your website plays a crucial role in attracting visitors naturally.

One highly effective technique to keep in mind when creating content for your pet store’s website is the concept of E-E-A-T, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. To achieve a high position in search engine results and to attract more organic traffic, it’s crucial to convince both search algorithms and your target audience that your website is a reliable and trustworthy source of information.

To show experience share your knowledge about pets and pet products to build trust.

💡 For example, talk about how your pet store has been serving the local community for over a decade, providing valuable pet products and advice.

To show expertise share your expertise on pet-related topics to establish yourself as an expert.

💡 For example, create guides on specific pet topics, such as “Choosing the Right Dog Food for Your Pup Labrador”

To show authoritativeness create reliable content by citing trustworthy sources and providing accurate information.

💡 For example, when discussing pet health, link to authoritative sources like reputable veterinary websites to support your recommendations and build trust with your audience.

To become trustworthy make your website look legit, use secure payment methods, and protect customer information.

💡 For example, display customer reviews and testimonials on your website to show that real people trust your products and services.

Moreover, while searching for blog post topic ideas, open Google Search Console and check the following phrase “keywords for pet products” for related keywords. Use it as a source of inspiration. Actually, this leads us to a core of web content creation – the selection of the right keywords for pet products. Here’s how you can do this effectively:

TIP #1: Be product-specific. Tailor your keywords to match the unique aspects of your pet products. Think about details like size, breed, materials, and current trends.

💡 For example, pet owners are currently interested in doggy apparel and durable Biothane leads for dogs, while cat enthusiasts might be searching for dietary supplements to improve their pet’s health. Find trending keywords and use these keywords in your product descriptions and blog posts.

TIP #2: Think customer-centric. Pay attention to what your customers are searching for. Are they looking for the latest cat supplements or stylish dog accessories? Use these insights to select your keywords and decide which products to offer.

TIP #3: Stay flexible. Continuously observe the market and customer preferences. Adjust your content, keywords, and product range to align with the latest trends and what customers are looking for.

Naturally, there is way more to content creation, so if you’d like to learn more, be sure to check our Content Marketing Guide.

What Type of Content Can Improve Your Online Pet Store’s SEO?

Think of it as a mix between a blog and a guide. Content like “What Type of Cat Litter Is Best?” or “Do Greyhounds Require Winter Clothing?” or even “Choosing the Perfect Dog Food” and “How to Safely Install a Balcony Net for Your Cat” can effectively address users’ search queries. These articles not only improve your website’s search engine ranking but also have a positive impact on your pet store SEO.

Do You Need Influencers in the Pet Industry?

What do bloggers and influencers have to do with SEO for pet shops? Shouldn’t SEO focus on optimization, link building, and various on- and off-site activities? Well, the truth is that SEO works best when combined with other online marketing strategies.

While it may appear that influencers are primarily suited for cosmetics, beauty, or fashion industries, there’s a growing consensus that they can be powerful advertising mediums in other sectors as well.

Consider the mindset of today’s society. We follow recommendations. We stumble upon something captivating on social media, and suddenly, we desire it.

💡 Just think, when someone suggests that canned food is the best choice for your cat, you start to wonder why, do some research, and eventually make the purchase. When you spot a stylish influencer with a dog flaunting a fluffy jacket, you find yourself wanting the same accessory for your pet.

Influencers undoubtedly have an effect on sales, improve brand recognition, and help you with your content marketing.

Moreover, they often add links to the promoted products on their platforms, which can significantly benefit your link-building efforts.

So, to answer the question: Yes, investing in influencers is worth it.

Ideally, combine their influence with your online pet store’s SEO strategy and advertising campaigns. There are numerous ways to popularize your online store, and limiting yourself to a single method would be counterproductive.

Online Pet Store SEO: Special Offers and Their Impact on Organic Traffic

There’s a debate about whether online pet shops should steer clear of special offers, but the reality is that many of us are drawn to seasonal sales, vouchers, and discounts. These promotions can be a fantastic strategy for boosting organic traffic to your website.

📌 TIP To increase your chances of outranking your competitors in the SERP, consider offering something extra to users searching for terms like ‘cat food sales.’ Who knows, those enticed by your special offer might become long-term customers.

In general, special offers help you

  • attract new customers. When you offer special deals, it becomes more likely for your store to capture the attention of new customers who might not have found your website otherwise.
  • retain customer loyalty. Enticing customers with special offers may encourage them to return for more purchases, building loyalty over time.

Small Businesses in the Pet Industry? No Worries, Just Go For It!

If you’re a small company just starting in the pet industry and worried about competing, don’t stress. You can achieve success by following some essential SEO principles designed for the pet industry, either local, online, or both.

Local SEO vs. SEO for Online Pet Stores

Local SEOSEO for Online Pet Stores
Local SEO focuses on attracting customers from your geographic area. This is an excellent choice if you want to reach people in your neighborhood who are looking for pet supplies and services.SEO for online stores aims to attract a broader audience from all over the internet, not just your local area. It’s ideal if you want to reach pet owners nationally or even globally.
It includes optimizing your website for local keywords, managing your Google Business Profile, and encouraging customer reviews.It involves optimizing your website for a wider range of keywords and using strategies like content marketing, backlink building, and social media promotion.

Naturally, deciding between local and online SEO depends on your business goals and target audience. You can also combine both approaches for the best results.

No matter which path you choose, it’s important to understand that SEO results may take time to show, so be patient. If you want to speed things up and bring in more customers, bear in mind the following:

  • Use specific and strategically selected keywords to attract the right audience to your website.
  • Optimize your online presence for local searches. This helps attract nearby customers looking for pet products and services nearby.
  • Stay updated on the latest industry trends and include them in your strategy. Surprisingly, your brand and how it’s perceived can greatly affect your position in search results.
  • There’s a difference between optimizing a local brick-and-mortar pet store and an online pet store. However, you can combine both approaches to reach a wider audience.
  • Don’t forget about email marketing. Collecting and using customer emails can help you build a loyal customer base and keep them informed about your promotions. Actually, this is one of the proven ways to convince customers to buy online. What are your options? Think about promotional emails, new product announcements, educational newsletters, customer reviews and testimonials, abandoned cart emails, holiday and seasonal emails, and reorder reminders.

Indeed, by offering your products both locally and online and using the benefits of email marketing, you can reach more customers and build lasting relationships with them. Many customers today appreciate the convenience of online shopping but also value the personalized service and trust that comes from a local store. So, consider this as a strategy to improve your presence and success in the competitive pet industry.

Remember, if your customers value your brand and the experience you offer, they’ll stick with you even if others offer similar products at lower prices. Building trust and a strong online presence can help you stand out in the competitive pet industry.

5 Key Takeaways for Pet Store SEO

Great job! You’ve learned essential tips to improve your online pet store’s SEO. Now, let’s review what you’ve learned and see how you can put these strategies into action to get more visitors to your website.

TAKAWAY #1:  Master SEO essentials
Understand that SEO is crucial for your online pet store’s success. Invest time in optimizing your website to increase visibility in search results.

TAKAWAY #2: Local SEO matters
Prioritize local SEO to attract nearby customers looking for pet products and services. Ensure your business information is consistent and accurate across all online platforms.

TAKAWAY #3 Ensure high content quality
Create valuable, well-researched content that showcases your expertise in the pet industry. Use E-E-A-T principles to gain trust and credibility.

TAKAWAY #4: Offer special deals
Don’t shy away from special offers and discounts. They can attract new customers and encourage repeat business.

TAKAWAY #5 Use email marketing
Collect customer emails to build lasting relationships and keep them informed about your promotions and products.

Use all the strategies mentioned in this Pet Store SEO Guide to improve your online presence and attract more pet-loving customers. However, if you still find it a bit difficult or need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out. Whether you need comprehensive SEO services or help with content creation, our team is here for you.

This is an updated version of the article published on December 10th, 2019.

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FAQ

1. My online pet store generates traffic but the conversion rate is low - will SEO help?

Yes! Good organic traffic that doesn’t translate into conversion in the store may be the sign that your website is visible but for the wrong audience. Well-designed SEO for pet shops will allow targeting potential customers via optimizing the website for relevant keywords. This way the store will be visible online and will reach people who look for the specific services or products the store has to offer – it will naturally increase the conversion rate. The best option in such a case is using a long tail SEO approach that works with detailed keywords used in the search engines by highly decisive users – those who will most likely buy from you.

2. Should I look for SEO agency that has experience with pet industry?

Yes! Experience in a particular industry should be one of the crucial factors when choosing an SEO agency to work on your site. If the company used to or is currently working with e-commerce from your field it means they already have proven tactics, sources, and solid knowledge about the industry specificities. With that, you can be sure they can really help your website grow.

3. How much would I have to pay for SEO for my online pet store?

It depends. SEO is a complex process and its price depends on many factors. That’s why it’s usually defined individually for each client. Among factors that influence the final price for SEO services you can find:

  • the current online visibility of the website
  • the current state of optimizations on the website
  • the history of a domain
  • the size of the website and its complexity
  • the industry and its competitiveness in a given market

If you want to know exactly how much SEO for your online pet shop would costget a free quote!

If for some reason you can’t engage in full-time SEO cooperation – there are other options. Check the SEO Setup service that could help.

 

 

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