5 Misconceptions Dog Trainers Have About SEO

5 Misconceptions Dog Trainers Have About SEO

Part of having a successful business means you need a website that works for you. Ideally, you want a website to be attracting clients to your business even when you’re sleeping. Many dog trainers are missing out on the benefits of SEO and what it could do for their businesses whether they know SEO exists or not. Thankfully, it’s not as scary as you might think and a lot of SEO can be done in “DIY” fashion on a $0 budget. Today, I’m going to dive into some of the myths I’ve seen other dog trainers believe over the years.

1) You Don’t Know What It Stands For

The acronym is much easier to type and say so “SEO” is used infinitely more often than “Search Engine Optimization.” This means that the term scares people away and is general “marketing speak” amongst many small business owners and dog trainers. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. SEO is an umbrella term used to described any way in which you change your website to improve the way it shows up in search engines. Changes as small as editing a page’s title or changing the description of an image is considered SEO. Don’t let scammers fool you into thinking it is too much more complicated than that.

2) You Think They Can Pay Someone Else To Do It

Unfortunately, as small business owners, we’re constantly bombarded by ads and promotions on how someone can magically snap their fingers and get our website to rank on the first page of Google. All for only $300 per month! Just think of all the new clients you could bring in with that kind of exposure. Too good to be true? Yep…

Unless you’re paying Google directly via AdWords, you’re not going to get your site to rank by paying anyone. There are loads of scams out there preying on unsuspecting business owners that are promised mysterious rankings for a small monthly fee. To get on the first page of Google results, you have to earn it by:

  1. Providing helpful, relevant information to the people that are searching
  2. Optimizing the technical aspects of your website to help it function better for visitors.

3) You Don’t Understand The Point Of It

SEO has remained this mysterious, unclear marketing term that many new business owners shy away from. In reality, it’s easy and important for all businesses to understand. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a FREE way to gain new website visitors and clients. Simply put, there are ways to improve your website so that it will be more easily found in Google and other search engines. You can improve your website by providing the right content, getting listed in (appropriate) online directories, writing relevant blogs, making it appear faster to visitors, and many more ways.

I agree – it can be overwhelming to learn about all the different ways you can improve your website, but you want to keep chipping away at it over time. Every little bit helps your website and your business get found online when people are looking for help. Best of all, when you have a small starting up budget, you can make most improvements for FREE!

Don’t know what improvements to make? Check out my course: DIY SEO for Dog Trainers.

4) You Don’t Do The Right Research (And Make The Wrong Assumptions)

After spending hours in forums online discussing dog training with other professionals, it’s easy to forget how the average dog owner would search for common issues such as resource guarding or leash reactivity. When optimizing for search engines, you should think about the kind of people you want to attract to your website and understand the terms they’re likely to use to find help for their problems.

Here is a comparison of how the terminology might differ between a professional dog trainer and an average dog owner.

Terms Dog Trainers Might Use

  1. Resource guarding
  2. On-leash reactivity
  3. Dog manners group class
  4. Crate training
  5. Positive reinforcement based training

Terms Dog Owners Might Use

  1. Snapping and growling with toys
  2. Barking at other dogs on walks
  3. Dog obedience training
  4. Puppy potty training/house breaking
  5. Positive dog training

With this understanding, you want to make sure your website is written with the vocabulary that is familiar and natural to your target audience. They’re using the search engine to find YOU!

5) They Don’t Even Realize Their Website Is Hurting Them

Living in a smaller town means that many small businesses have not invested in websites that perform well and many don’t even have websites to begin with! I come across horrific websites all the time that a) don’t make me want to go to their business and b) that I can’t even find the business hours or location even if I did want to visit them. Don’t be that business.

With most people turning to mobile searches instead of to their neighbors to find help these days, you cannot afford to miss out on potential customers looking for trainers just like you in your area. A bad website could:

  • Load so slowly that the visitor hits the back button before they even get to see your site.
  • Be so complicated that the visitor just goes back to search for another business to help them.
  • Make the location of the business so vague or unapparent that the visitor can’t tell what state, let alone what city, the business is in.
  • Rank so poorly in search engines that you can’t find the business’s website even if you were to type in the exact name of the business.

“Nearly 60 percent of searches now from mobile devices.” – Search Engine Land

Outside of not being able to be found online or a super slow load time, your website could be hurting your reputation, too. An outdated or 90’s looking website could look unprofessional and could even lead people to believe that you’re out of business! A website is your virtual storefront. Take care to make it visually appealing and helpful so potential customers give you a chance to earn their business.

An SEO Course For Dog Trainers

online course for dog trainers for SEOFeeling overwhelmed? Wish someone would walk you through the right steps to optimize your website? I’ve put all my tips and tricks into a 5 week, open enrollment, email course to walk you through:

  • an SEO Audit – learn about how your website is performing and what is missing so you know where you stand.
  • technical SEO improvements – changes you can make yourself without hiring outside help.
  • a content strategy – learn about what content your website’s pages need to include to attract the right customers.
  • a blogging strategy – know what to write about to attract local dog owners to your site without wasting your time.
How To Choose A Dog Training Business Name

How To Choose A Dog Training Business Name

Coming up with names for any business can be rather fun. For dog trainers, we tend to think of cute names that may draw clients into training that sounds happy and joyful. Fun aside, naming your business has important difficulties as well as benefits if you plan ahead.

business name

The big problem with business names.

The biggest problem you’re going to have in naming your business is finding one that isn’t already taken. The second biggest problem is going to be finding a name that is available as a web address for your website as well as any social channels you want to use to market and promote your business.

Twitter sets a 15 character limit on usernames, or the @ name. If your business name is Dogs Rock Awesome Dog Training, you’re going to have some problems getting that down to a memorable 15 character name. While Facebook’s limit is 70 characters for Page names, people are using mobile apps more often, so the longer name may prevent them from searching for you.

In a perfect world your business name will be available as a web address domain, Facebook Page, and usernames on Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram at the least. Branding across platforms is important. While we can provide links from the domain to Youtube or from Youtube to Twitter, people need to find you first to click the link. You want to be findable without people having to visit one of your channels first.

Do you really need a business name?

Technically, you already have a business name. Your personal name is your business until you register a Doing Business As (DBA) with your county licensing office as a front for your personal name. Is there anything wrong with John Smith Dog Training? Absolutely not. You are the face for your brand. You’re doing the training. You might as well be transparent about it and use your name.


  • The web address is probably available for either just your name or with the service: JohnSmith.com or JohnSmithDogTraining.com.
  • Once people meet you your name is easy to remember.
  • Your name travels with you, so should you move you won’t have to rebrand.
  • Your name can change services, so if you add boarding services later you don’t have to worry about changing the web address to reflect that.


  • No one knows who you are, so marketing can be difficult.
  • JohnSmith.com could be any service. Without keywords in the domain name you have to really use your web content to get on the front page of Google searches.
  • If you grow to the point you hire employees clients may be confused when John Smith doesn’t show up at their door to train their dog.

Location as your business name.

When people go searching the internet for a dog trainer the most common search is My City Dog Training. While using your city and Dog Training sounds boring, it really will move you to the front page of Google pretty quickly. If your goal is to get up and running quickly and you don’t care about creative names, this is the fastest route.


  • More likely to get on the front page of Google.
  • You can hire any employees without creating confusion.
  • Social channels will probably be available if the domain is available.


  • If you live in a common city name like Springfield, your name may already be taken by a busniess in another state.
  • Moving becomes a problem. While you can forward MyCityDogTraining.com to MyNewCityDogTraining.com, you’re still basically starting over with a brand new business.

Creating a name.

When I was thinking of business names I spent a lot of time searching the internet for naming “rules.” One of the most helpful pieces of advice I found was to create a name that didn’t require you to spell it when said out loud. The concept is, if you’re at a networking event, noisy conference, or hanging out in a bar, you should be able to say your business name and have it understood.

The out loud rule is very difficult for dog trainers. Domain names may be available using “K9” instead of “canine,” or “dawg,” instead of “dog,” but those names will require a whole lot of explanation and spelling if you’re passing your name verbally. Is it possible to market and succeed with words shortened and misspelled? Yes, but it will probably take more time and you’d need to make sure you have business cards on you at all times.

Ebay and Google are names that had no meaning before they started. You can let your creative juices flow and just create a name. OgDay? Doggle? Making up words can be fun, just remember that marketing and focused keywords on your website are going to be very important. Also, watch out for bad words or alternative meanings in the middle of made up words. Sinep might sound snappy, but read it backwards.

Putting two or more words together to make one shorter word can help with the character limits on social media channels. An example might be taking the first few letters of Reward Based Training, and creating RewBa Train. Rewba.com and RewBaTrain.com are available, and social channels probably would be. While marketing and branding will still be important, if you do it right this kind of name can be memorable more quickly than a completely new made up word.

If you keep entering domains into a domain search and they’re taken, it may be time to get some help. There are hundreds of business name generators online that can spark ideas and will check domain availability at the same time.

NameMesh will take your keywords and make new words, find synonyms, and give you “new” domain options. New domain options have different endings to .com and are geared toward defining your business. For instance, you can now get .training or .photography. Some fun options might be dog.ninja or canine.guide. Existing domains have first option for the new domain, so if you own dogtraining.com you have the first option to buy dog.training. Competition is still high for the new domains as people buy them for investments instead of use, but using them allows you more options.

Panabee is another name generator that merges words and concepts pretty effectively. Enter a few words and you’ll get quite a few options. Panabee doesn’t include the new domain endings, so use this if you want to stick with a .com, .net, and .org.

If your all time perfect domain name is taken, visit the site and see what’s there. If you see a splash page from a host like GoDaddy, at the top you will see, “Welcome to: (domain name,) This Web page is parked for FREE, courtesy of GoDaddy.com. This usually means someone is sitting on the domain as an investment. Domain name buying for resale to someone who really wants it isn’t as popular as it once was, but it’s still done. If you really, really want it, go to the webhost (GoDaddy in the example above,) and put in the domain name in the domain search.  You will get a result page that says the domain is taken, but in tiny text next to that is, “ Still want it? Here’s what to do.” Follow the link and you’ll get a page offering to contact the owner for you to see if they’ll sell. Expect to pay big. Premium domains run between $500 and $2500 on average.

Due diligence.

While it may not be that big of a deal for your business name to be close to another business in another state, you want to be sure you’re not stepping on any toes in your home market. Search for your city and “dog training,” for your area and see what businesses are on the first three pages of Google. It’s also a good time to see who your main competition is and how they’re using they’re keywords and name and branding. If your main competition uses K9, you might want to stay away from any name using that shortcut.

Just because a domain is available does not mean it’s not trademarked. You can do a quick trademark search at the U.S. Patent Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System. The last thing you want is to spend money and time on building brand name recognition only to receive a cease and desist letter.

Did we miss an idea? How did you come up with your business name? Leave us a comment!


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