It’s no secret that we Brits love our pets. During lockdown, 3.2 million households welcomed a pet to the family (BBC), and as of 2022, a record 62% of all UK households owned at least one pet (Statista). And, when it comes to pet supplies, it would seem that nothing is too good for our furry friends — according to one survey, two-thirds of pet owners are spending more money on luxury goods for their pets than themselves (Dogs Today Magazine).
For pet retailers, this offers a big opportunity, especially in the rapidly expanding online market. In this blog post, we’ll outline why SEO is so vital for pet supplies ecommerce stores these days, as well as our top tips for helping your brand stand out from the competition online.
Why SEO matters in the pet sector
Simply put, SEO matters for retailers in the pet sector because of two factors: more demand, but also more competition.
An increasing number of pet lovers are choosing to buy essential supplies for their furry friends online. An initial boom in demand caused by store closures during the pandemic has proven a lasting trend, with the market size of the online pet food and supplies industry in the UK growing 7.5% per year on average between 2018 and 2023 (IBISWorld).
This is great news for retailers with an ecommerce store. But capturing that online traffic isn’t quite as simple as it sounds, because as demand for online pet products grows, so does the competition, with new retailers entering the fray every day.
And increased competition isn’t the only challenge the industry is facing. The cost of living crisis Is putting a huge dent in consumer confidence and reducing average disposable incomes. As a result, many pet owners are seeking to cut down on luxury pet purchases and spend less on essentials, with 38% of owners reporting that they’ve switched to cheaper pet food in recent months (Standard). Clearly, this reduction in consumer spending will make competition between retailers for organic traffic and sales even fiercer.
Given the competitive landscape and a tough economic climate, ranking well for key commercial search terms has never mattered more. This is where a strong SEO strategy comes in.
How SEO can benefit pet retailers
By far the single biggest benefit that SEO offers is improving online visibility, drawing traffic and prospective customers to your website. That can have a big impact on your bottom line in terms of sales and revenue via organic traffic. But there are other benefits, too.
A strong SEO campaign can also:
Attract repeat custom and build brand loyalty
Build your mailing list contacts for remarketing
Improve your site’s UX (user experience)
Attract customers and improve footfall to any brick-and-mortar stores via local SEO
Make your brand an authority within the pet supplies sector
…to name just a few of the benefits!
3 tips to boost your SEO in 2023
Clearly, SEO can offer a lot to per supplies retailers looking to stand out in a crowded market. Here are three top tips for better SEO in 2023.
Know your customer and select keywords accordingly
All marketing campaigns should begin with market research to understand the needs of your customer, and the same goes for SEO. To identify the best search terms to target, you’ll need to understand exactly what your audience is looking for at a granular level. Yes, your primary customer is a pet-owner — but what kind of pet owner are they? Are they budget-conscious bargain hunters, or looking to splash out on luxury treats? Are they seeking rough-and-rugged products for an outdoorsy lifestyle, or do they want sophisticated and stylish pet accessories?
Having a detailed understanding of your customer base will allow you to target them closely using the most relevant on-page keywords. This will ensure the traffic you’re generating is closely relevant to your product offering, meaning it’s more likely to drive conversions. For best results, you’ll want to use a professional tool like Semrush or ahrefs to identify the most relevant keywords for your brand — or better yet, get an SEO copywriting agency like ours to handle it for you.
Encourage shoppers to leave a review
Google and other search engines perceive sites with strong review scores as being more trustworthy, which is a big ranking factor. As well as improving SEO, positive reviews act as social proof in the eyes of consumers, which can entice prospective customers to click through to your website and make a purchase.
You’ll already know just how much people love their pets, so it makes sense that they’ll only want to buy quality products from reputable companies, and they’ll conduct plenty of research before making a purchase. Reviews could make or break a sale, so it’s well worth investing some time and money to try and get your review score up.
While the best way to nurture positive reviews is to provide an outstanding product and service, there are a few things you can do to encourage shoppers to share their experience and maximise the SEO value of your reviews:
Send follow-up emails after securing a sale. Asking shoppers to help future customers by sharing their experience, or explaining how reviews help your brand grow, can be effective.
Make sure you’re targeting the right group of shoppers, at the right time. It’s not a good idea to send a follow-up email asking a customer to review after they’ve just returned an item or filed a complaint, for example.
Engage with reviewers. Thank reviewers for positive feedback, and respond — politely — to negative posts to show that constructive feedback is taken on board.
Monitor reviews across all platforms (not just Google, Shopify or Trustpilot), including social media reviews.
Remember, attempts to artificially manipulate your review score — such as buying fake reviews or incentivising shoppers to leave reviews — should be avoided, as this can do more harm than good and may result in a search engine penalty.
Boost conversions and SEO with improved UX
Another big ranking factor is offering a positive UX, or user experience. In an ecommerce context, UX refers to all the elements that impact how the user interacts with the site. Search engines favour sites that are fast, responsive, and accessible, with a clear information structure that works equally well on mobile and desktop.
Great UX does more than just boost your SEO, however. A responsive, easy-to-navigate, stunningly designed site will make clicking ‘buy now’ that much quicker and easier for the shopper, which could just give you the edge on your competitors when comes to landing that sale. With the tough market conditions we’re facing, it’s more important than ever that prospective shoppers are staying onsite and choosing to make their purchases with you, so the importance of good UX can’t be overstated.
If you’re looking to improve your online visibility in 2023 but don’t know where to start, why not let an experienced digital marketing agency do the hard work for you? We’ve worked on SEO marketing campaigns for pet brands like Catit, Bob Martin, Webbox, and many more, so we know a thing or two about driving traffic and revenue in this competitive sector. Reach out to our expert team for a free consultation to learn exactly how we can help you today.