Online pet shops are highly competitive, so it’s essential that you make the most of every opportunity when it comes to online pet shop SEO. You may already be using your blog to share news, but have you thought about using it for content marketing?

What is content marketing?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focussed on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience”.

But what does that mean in practice? Content marketing means providing valuable and relevant content that doesn’t sell your products, but instead promotes discussion or stimulates interest. In other words, it’s about sharing your knowledge for free.

Why would you do that? Because people love getting something for free, and they love learning more about a topic. And they are more likely to trust – and buy from in the future – brands that provide such incredible value. Content marketing isn’t about spam – that’s irrelevant content – it’s about providing answers to questions so that you are forefront in the minds of your customers when they next need a product that you sell. It’s a system used by most digital marketers, including big-name players like Microsoft and John Deere, and it can really help to improve your SEO.

How content marketing helps online pet shop SEO

So now we’re clear about what content marketing is, how can it help an online pet shop? Well, just like any other company, your online pet store needs to attract and retain customers. Content marketing can help with both of those. While many of the benefits of content marketing aren’t directly for SEO, content marketing is amazing for producing pages of content to help search engines find your site. All of that content produces hundreds of keywords, all of which improve your search visibility.

It provides a huge number of keywords (especially long tail keywords) for search engines

I say it time and time again, but keywords are essential when it comes to your website’s visibility on the web. Long-tail keywords are easier to compete for and can raise a new website’s visibility quickly, but most of them aren’t directly related to products. That’s where content can help! Writing articles on your blog that target these keywords can help bring in potential customers.

Other benefits of content marketing for online pet shops

It produces direct sales through making recommendations

Your pet products solve a customer’s pain points. So when your content discusses these pain points and point to your product as a solution, content marketing can produce direct sales. While purists might say that this isn’t true content marketing, as long as your focus is on relevant and valuable content, it counts in my eyes – even if you do include a few links to products that might help!

It develops brand identity

Brands sell, so helping your customers remember your brand by developing a clear brand identity is important. By content marketing, you’re positioning yourself as a caring, trustworthy brand. You can also showcase your brand’s other values by the type and content of your blog articles.

It develops trust

Most important to the ethos of content marketing is that it develops trust. By providing valuable content for free you are giving pet owners the chance to get to know you and trust you before they need to purchase. It’s sometimes the epitome of playing the ‘long game’, but it’s worth it for bonded pet owners who return time and time again.

Examples of content marketing benefits for pet shops

First, let’s take the example of an online pet shop without content marketing. They’ve done a great job with pet product SEO and are making the most of their keywords. They’ve got customers landing on their page when searching for, say ‘Nina Ottosson dog toy’ – fairly specific, so it’s achievable. Those customers buy a toy, then leave. It would take exceptional pricing and/or service to encourage them to return for another product – next time they’ll probably search for ‘fish dog treats’ and buy from the top result again, even if that isn’t you.

So now let’s imagine the same company, but with content marketing. The customer finds the product, and sees linked pages about benefits of puzzle feeders. They learn about the different types and realise that they actually need two – one stationary feeder and one mobile one. And in fact, the one they were going to buy was too easy for their dog, and they needed a different one. So now you’ve doubled your sales, plus made your customer happy as they’ve got a better product for their needs. They’ll come away with a positive mindset, and you’re more likely to be remembered next time.

But it doesn’t stop there. A pet owner searching for ‘why is my dog destroying the carpet?’ reads an informative article on your blog and realises that a puzzle feeder might be the answer to their problems. They click on the link to the product and buy one. Another sale!

Another pet owner searches for ‘how to train a puppy’. They really love what they read on your site, and share it on Facebook. Even though they don’t buy, one of their social circle spends some time on your site reading articles and eventually buys some dog muzzles.

Then one pet owner searches for ‘how to tell when it’s time to say goodbye to your dog’. They spend a lot of time reading your informative, empathetic article. They feel understood and validated. In time, they buy a new puppy, and turn to you for pet supplies as they remember how much you cared.

TL;DR Content marketing can produce DIRECT sales, but it often produces INDIRECT sales through positive feelings, brand awareness, and social sharing.

Does content marketing have downsides?

The main downside of content marketing is the cost of producing sufficient high-quality content. While this cost is easily outweighed by the benefits, it can sometimes be slow to trade off. Prioritising keywords and ensuring you get the best value from your content writers is the best option for reducing this cost. Many pet brands compromise by keeping some content in house and outsourcing a few articles to a pet copywriter for best effect.

Conclusion

Your online pet shop SEO can benefit hugely from content marketing through both direct and indirect effects. It’s a technique employed by huge brands but it also works fantastically well for start-ups and smaller businesses, so it’s well worth exploring. The main difficulty with content marketing is that it can take a while to start paying off, with a lot of investment to begin with, but this can be mitigated by careful attention to keywords and writer qualifications.


Joanna Woodnutt

Joanna Woodnutt

Dr Joanna Woodnutt MRCVS is a qualified vet, freelance writer, and editor at The Veterinary Content Company. She lives in the Channel Islands with her husband and daughter, as well as their naughty but loveable terrier, Pixie.

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