Why is my tiny Boston terrier sitting with these two strange toys, you ask? It's partly because I have a cookie in my hand, and this little dog will do damn near anything to get cookies to move from my hands to her mouth. But she's sitting there because I have expertly staged this photo to help you pet blogger readers begin to experience the joy that is MozCon.
MozCon is an annual marketing conference led by a Seattle marketing company (Moz) with a very silly mascot (Roger the robot--shown here in doll form). This year, my company sent me to Moz to pick up SEO tips I could use to serve my clients better. But along the way I also picked up a few tips that might be wonderful just for pet bloggers.
Here are my top 5 tips, in no particular order.
1. How many questions can you answer?Many pet blogs deal with common questions: can my cat eat that, why does my dog do that, how often should my ferret do this exercise, etc. Google loves, loves, LOVES these sorts of questions. Why? Because the algorithm has shifted to provide mobile readers with quick answers on the fly. There's a tiny answer box up top of searches in question form, and the answer scraped from a website shows up in that box.
When you're writing up your blog, think about answering questions in a short, comprehensive manner up high on your blog. You can expand that answer later, of course, but answering it up high could--just maybe--help you to grab an answer spot. And that could make your site more visible.
2. Is your pet blog localized?Most pet bloggers think of their sites as somehow universal. We're not writing in a specific place for specific people living in a geographic area. We're writing for everyone, all the time. But, as Google's algorithm shifts and begins to favor great, big sites for generic terms, nailing down local search becomes more and more important. Local searches might be the best way to get seen in your community.
How can you do that? Think about ways to write about things happening with pets in your community. And reach out to trusted pet-related websites in your community and ask them to link to your site. That could help you to maximize your performance locally.
3. Are you delivering unique value?Readers are bombarded with content every single day on tons of different devices. They cannot pay attention to all of the content out there, simply because there's just too much to see and read on a given day. Cutting through the clutter means delivering content that has some kind of unique value to people who read it.
Assess your competition and really look hard at your content. Are the pieces you're putting together really different than the content others deliver? Are people responding to it, and if so, why? Thinking hard about how you can really make yourself different could result in different traffic ratings you might be pleased with.
4. Test your calls to action carefully.Many pet blogs I visit use traditional CTAs, including popup boxes, email list signups and other forms of lead generation. These are bells and whistles that take time and money to implement on a site, but people who implement them should test them on many different devices to make sure they work. For example, that popup you have on a desktop device might be impossible to close on the screen of a phone. And telling people to "click here" on a phone makes no sense, while it might be fine on a desktop. Testing is vital.
5. Remember to tell your stories.The beautiful thing about a pet blog is that it's a place designed for story sharing. Every animal in your house has a story to tell, and you have your own stories to share about the animals you live with. Stories work best when they follow an arc:
- A normal
- An explosion
- A new normal
And they're optimized when they include vivid, strategic and exceptional detail. Instead of just tossing your stories away with two-sentence summaries ("My cat ate a bird, but he's fine."), think about ways to really describe something that happened in a way that builds suspense and intrigue and empathy in your readers. Go a little deeper.
Your MozCon journeyThese are just a few high-level tips from what was a very detailed conference about online marketing. If you're hungry for more, I encourage you to head to the Moz website and download a few slide decks. You'll see tactical instructions about all sorts of SEO things, including coding, and you might glean even more about how to make your site as good as it can be.
And if you want a few more pet blogging tips, check out my entry into the 2016 Pet Blogger Challenge. Good stuff there, if I do say so myself.
But for now, I'd love to know what you think of these takeaways. Anything you can use right now? Shoot me a note in the comments.