SEO for Dog Breeders (2024)
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SEO for Dog Breeders (2024)

Better Breeder’s Pyramid for Website Success:

SEO, Design & Content

Irish Setter Silhouetted

An increasing number of dog breeders understand the need for a quality website to sell puppies today – a period of historic inflation, a prolonged recession, and waning post-Covid puppy demand. However, many other breeders are still trying to market their puppies through social media, print advertising, and other outdated channels. Those tactics are no longer effective for consistently finding qualified homes. In this article, we will explain why every serious breeder needs a quality, high-performing website, and what steps (SEO & more) must be taken to ensure it performs in 2024 and beyond.

Why Do Dog Breeders Need a Website?

It is important to realize that while ideas and inspiration may start on social media  – like Facebook and Instagram – most purchases begin on Google. When prospective puppy buyers begin looking for a breeder, just like with any other important purchase, like a car or appliance, we are conditioned to start with Google. Why is that? Because Google is so good at providing the best answers, solutions, and products, and it doesn’t require endless scrolling to find what you want. 

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has a famous quote. He said, “If you aren’t on Google, you don’t exist!” 

Wikipedia Google Quote

And it really is true. It is Google’s World, and we are just playing in it. To efficiently sell anything in the digital age – be it puppies, housewares, recreational products, etc. – you need Google. There are approximately 4.5 billion active Google users, and there are over 4.2 million Google Searches made every minute. Google’s search engine market share is almost 90% of desktop computer searches. For mobile devices, or smartphones, it is over 90%. These are simply incredible numbers. And, do you know what puppy buyers won’t find at the top of Google? Your Facebook Page.

A quality website is the strongest digital asset a breeder can build. Realize that a website is owned digital real estate. It is yours, and its value appreciates over time. This is unlike the “rented” digital options on social media and puppy marketplaces. There, you have to pay to play, and as soon as you stop paying, the traffic stops. Most conservationist dog breeders aren’t here today and gone tomorrow. They are in it for the long haul, which makes a quality website the wisest investment they can make.

A high-performing website provides you with the opportunity to attract exponentially more puppy inquiries than directories, marketplaces, and social media combined. A website will also be selling puppies for you 365 days/year – and particularly before you have puppies available. Better Breeder Institute students know the worst time to try to sell a puppy is when you actually have one to sell. A quality website makes sure that doesn’t happen.

Dog Breeder SEO - Old World

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Dog Breeders

Now, here is the caveat. In the old days of the internet, the famous quote whispered to Ray (Kevin Costner) in “Field of Dreams” was true, “If you build it, they will come!” Build a website, and the puppy buyers will come.

But, that isn’t true for websites any longer. 

To rank well and perform, a website must be optimized for search engines – primarily Google. Google must be able to read it, understand it, index it, and then rank it high in their results. What Google places at the top of the results page plays a massive role in determining where that purchase will be made. Is your website at the top of Google, or another breeder’s?

Dog Breeder SEO - Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial digital marketing practice focused on improving a website’s visibility on Google and other search engines, like Bing and Yahoo. It involves various techniques and practices, optimizing both the on-page and off-page elements of a website efforts to improve its search engine rankings, and ultimately, traffic. The practice of SEO involves the placement of the right keywords in the right places on the website to make itself most relevant to the search queries that prospective puppy buyers are typing into Google looking for a purebred breeder like you.

SEO requires both technical and creative expertise to be done properly. Unfortunately, actual SEO knowledge isn’t commonly held by most website builders (even though they all claim to know how), and certainly not by dog breeders. Both the AKC and Good Dog have written articles about SEO’s importance to breeders’ online success, but neither has been able to explain it in basic language that breeders can understand, let alone apply. 

SEO is No Longer Enough

For many years, SEO was all you needed to get your website to rank at the top of Google. However, Google has raised the bar and changed its algorithms. Google’s #1 priority is understanding its users’ intent and providing the best experience to visitors. Making your website enjoyable for your visitors is critically important, regardless if it is viewed on a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. If your website isn’t designed to be mobile-friendly, it is very unlikely you will find it ranking well on Google.

SEO is no longer enough to win on Google for dog breeders

Further, when Google rolled out its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, they clearly explained what they define as high-quality websites. They introduced the acronym “E – A – T.” EAT (as it is referred to in the SEO industry) stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. Being mentioned 186 times in the guide, there is no question about the importance Google places on the EAT elements. 

Today, for a website to realize digital success, SEO alone is no longer enough. SEO must go beyond the technical and creative SEO elements to also address these real human qualities. SEO must be combined with modern web design and valuable, compelling content that informs, educates, and delights your site visitors – AND earns respect from Google for its expertise, authority & trustworthiness. All of this is now required for a website to truly be rewarded by Google.

Are you overwhelmed at this point? Don’t be. Let us tell you why.

Better Breeder’s Pyramid for Website Success

At the Better Breeder Institute, we have broken down this digital insider information into its most basic pieces and put it in a framework for all breeders to learn and understand. We have developed the Better Breeder’s Pyramid for Website Success to explain these concepts and help breeders apply them to their own websites. 

Dog Breeder's Pyramid for Website Success
Better Breeder’s Pyramid for Website Success

The Better Breeder’s Pyramid for Website Success has three foundational sides. They are Design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Content. Individually, each of these elements are important tactics to improve the performance of any website. However, together, these three components work symbiotically to create a powerful digital marketing engine for your breeding program – a website that will rank at the top of Google for searches relevant to your breed and location. Our goal is for every purebred, conservationist breeder to be able to OWN Google for their breed and geographic location. And, in so doing, future-proof your puppy sales!

1. Website Design

The first side of the Pyramid for Website Success is Design. Design is the overall look, layout, and structure of your website on every device ranging from a desktop computer to an iPad to your smartphone. This includes the fonts, colors, categorization, and display of your imagery. 

Website Design

The goal is to create a clean, modern website that attractively portrays your dogs and breeding program to visitors. Providing a positive user experience (UX) is critical. Visitors should be able to navigate the website easily, find what they are looking for, and enjoy the experience. 

The structure of your site is an important element of Design. Your site structure (taxonomy) is the categorization and organization of your Content. The site structure will be visually apparent from your site design and navigation, and it provides the framework for your Content. To give an analogy, your site structure will be the coat hangers that your Content will hang on. A good site structure will be simple, straightforward, and intuitive.

Dog breeders have a major opportunity quantum leap over all the outdated, cookie-cutter breeder websites online simply by using modern design. Most of these sites need to migrate off the clunky, gaudy web platforms of the previous decades to the clean, minimalist appearance of modern website design – and most importantly, to a mobile-first website platform. More people will visit your website from smartphones than from desktops and tablets combined. Because of that, Google’s total evaluation and assessment of your website is now done on its mobile form.  For many years now, a mobile-friendly design was necessary, but even that isn’t enough anymore. Today, a successful website platform must be designed “mobile-first.”

Selection of a fast, secure, mobile-first website platform that is designed for dog breeders will fast-track your efforts. And then, you must design, structure, and create the site so visitors can find what they are looking for easily & efficiently and enjoy the digital experience.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The second side of the Pyramid for Website Success is Search Engine Optimization (or, SEO). SEO is the work to ensure Google can access, navigate, and understand your website and what exactly it is you do and offer. And then, the crafting of your website to rank highly in the search results for the search queries, or keywords, your target audience is searching Google for as they search for their next puppy.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Dog Breeders
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A website’s ranking position in the search engine is extremely important. Almost ⅓ of all clicks go to the site in the first position, and over half of all clicks go to the top three positions. If a website does not rank in the top 10 positions (essentially on the first page of Google results) then it is likely it will never be seen. Getting to the top of Google is critical to website success.  

It is necessary to use the right keywords on the right web pages – the same keywords prospective puppy buyers are typing into Google trying to find high-quality purebred puppies from responsible dog breeders. These are keywords that will be centered around your breed and geographic location, such as city, state, province, or region. There are tools to find the most used and most relevant keywords for your breed so you can use them in your content. 

Once you have your target keywords, you must use them properly on your website. There are on-page and off-page locations where these keywords need to exist. And, these keywords are necessary to serve the needs of both Google and site visitors.

Links connect the internet, and links send Google powerful signals about value, relevance, and authority. There is deep strategy that goes into how to optimally link to and from your web pages, as well as to and from other websites. A website’s backlink portfolio can potentially have more impact on its domain authority and rankings than the SEO performed on the website itself.   

Ultimately, understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about knowing what Google and visitors want in a website and how to deliver it.

3. Content

The third and final side of the Pyramid for Website Success is Content. Content is the information, the stories, and the imagery that go on your web pages. The goal is to inform site visitors about yourself, your dogs, and your breeding program. 

Earlier, we discussed how a high-performing website provides you the opportunity to attract exponentially more puppy inquiries than all other options combined. But, even more important than the volume of people a website can attract is your ability to educate prospective buyers before their first contact with you. That includes every detail about your breeding program, reservation process, pricing, and any specific areas of emphasis. A breeder’s life can become so much easier when they share that information online once, rather than answering the same questions over and over with each inquiry. And we know, we breeders can use any extra time we can make for ourselves.

Content Marketing for Dog Breeders

It is vital to understand the common questions site visitors have when they come to your site. Strive to then delight them by providing the answers they are seeking. It is your content that will separate your site from the thousands of other breeder sites that fill the internet, but leave visitors feeling unsatisfied and their questions unanswered.

Your objective is to receive puppy inquiries from educated puppy shoppers who have read your content and already understand what you offer and your complete puppy-buying process. This will save you hours with each buyer, and ensure you are spending your limited time with legitimate, committed breed lovers. 

Then, if your website contains the right content, it doesn’t just educate them, but it also endears you to them and attracts more people like them – the type of committed families you want to place your puppies with. And, in the process, it turns away the “tire-kicker,” impulse buyers, and those that will be just as happy to buy a low-quality option, or even a mixed breed puppy, from the backyard breeder in your area.  

Finally, it is critical that your content be developed and structured using modern SEO best practices in order for Google to crawl it, understand it, and index it. Then, in the process, it will demonstrate to Google your E-A-T: Expertise, Authority & Trustworthiness. Give Google what it is looking for, and you will separate your website from all the other dog breeder websites online – and rank at the TOP of Google! 

Better Breeder Website Academy

In order to teach dog breeders exactly how to design, build, and launch their own optimized website, we have developed the Better Breeder Website Academy digital course. This is a foundational class in our effort to educate, support, and promote the purebred conservation breeder community. 

Better Breeder Website Academy Logo Default

Throughout Better Breeder Website Academy, we utilize the Pyramid for Website Success to plan, develop, and optimize your breeder website. The course provides information that any breeder can learn and apply, but has not existed within the dog breeder community until now. 

Beyond the core website elements of website design, search engine optimization, and content, we offer guidance on launching your new website and insider pro tips to ensure it performs optimally now and into the future. We also do a deep dive into digital marketing basics. This provides you with a solid understanding of how Google works and the knowledge to effectively market your kennel online. 

By learning the Pyramid for Website Success framework and following our step-by-step plan, your website will have the ability to revolutionize the dynamics of your breeding program – in terms of time saved, the quantity (and quality) of puppy buyers earned, and ultimately, the incremental revenue generated for your program.

The next Website Academy class will be offered in September 2024. Make sure to create a Better Breeder account to be notified when enrollment opens. To learn more, please visit:

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