SEO Copywriting Snapshot – Sylvan & Sons Genuine Dog Gear

As promised, here we go with our first SEO copywriting snapshot! This week we’re looking at Sylvan & Sons, a family-owned and operated business that has been making unique dog and cat collars, leashes, harnesses and collar bows for 20 years. Sylvan & Sons first popped online in 1999. Shortly after the launch of their Genuine Dog Gear product line, they launched a second website.

This week, we’re looking at Sylvan’s first site, so let’s get right to it :)

What they’re doing right…

They’ve created unique titles that are actually written for conversion! By stating that they have a huge variety and the products are affordable, these guys have actually included a benefit statement in their Title tag. Why am I so flabbergasted by that? Simply because catalog companies are often dealing with hundreds and hundreds of product pages and they generally use some kind of content management system. Dynamically generated titles typically are not sexy (with the exception of zappos!).

So why should they (and you) care? Because the title tag is your first opportunity for conversion! It’s what shows up on the SERP as the hyperlink; it’s what appears in the top of your browser (see image below); it’s what automatically gets plugged in as your Bookmark, but most of all … it’s what convinces the reader to click on your site rather than the other nine options on the page. So writing a Title for the engines is important — but writing it with the conversion in mind is just as important.

What they could improve…

Best practices suggest that the title tag should be in and around 60 characters including spaces so it doesn’t get chopped off in the SERP. If we take a look at the home page, the title is a tad long, weighing in at 92 characters.

What they could do is trim down keyphrases and the benefit statement so it’s shorter.

What they’re doing right …

Are their duplicate content issues?

Ah yes, duplicate content — a common issue with catalogers. However, Sylvan & Sons has done an excellent job with their content! Most of the product copy I looked at throughout the pages appears to be unique.

What they could improve…

C’mon now, I can’t let them off the hook that easily — I found some duplicate content ;-)
Sure, it’s the same product, just different colors. But the fact of the matter is that these are two separate pages with separate URLs. Sylvan could simply rewrite one of the pages to be slightly different.

More SEO copywriting thoughts….

One of the other things we like to consider in the greater scope of SEO copywriting is whether or not there are new content opportunities to explore. In this case, two opportunities jumped out at me– a blog section (read more on blog benefits for catalogers) and customer reviews. If you have a pet or know someone who does (as we all do), you know what an important member of the family they are. And you also know how much we all love to share stories and talk about our pets.

So on a site like Sylvan & Sons, a blog section would engage the readers and keep them coming back on a regular basis. Customer reviews are also a great way for folks to share their own stories and tell others how much they love the products. It also gives new customers a more warm ‘n fuzzy feeling because they’re more likely to believe testimonials from actual consumers who have purchased what they’re interested in buying themselves.

So there we have our very first SEO copywriting snapshot! Next week we’re going to look at Toronto-based JivitaYoga.



6 replies
  1. Nikki Patrick says:

    Hi Aimee, Thank you so much for the review of our sites. Our optimization is on going and we will be implementing your suggestions for the bows.

    In 3 months we have come from 30% to over 75% of visits from the SERP’s, with 3,000 visitors a month. We were on page 18 for our primary key phrase “dog collar” and now we’re on page 5.

    Sales are up slightly, but not nearly as much as the traffic we are receiving. We are wondering if there may be issues with our sales copy? Do you think our sales message could be improved?

  2. Aimee says:

    Hi Nikki!

    I hear ya about SEO — it certainly is a work in progress :) You’ve done a great job on the site so far though–well done!

    To answer your question about the sales copy … yes, there’s a little bit of tweaking you could consider, for example:

    Winning Fashion Dog Collars

    Win the race in this fashion dog collar! The perfect addition to your collar collection. First Place is yours in this bright pattern that wins attention.

    The headline reads as if you could actually win the collar–at least that’s how it reads to me. It looks like you’re using “fashion dog collars” as your primary keyphrase for this page. But when I look at your Meta keywords tag, I don’t see it listed there.

    One of the things you could do is make the headline a little sexier and put your main keyphrase close the beginning. The cool thing about writing headlines and content for various products that are somewhat similar is that you can test different approaches to see what works best for conversion.

    The next thing I noticed is that the second sentence is incomplete, so the writing doesn’t quite flow. Now, everyone’s writing style is slightly different, but you could consider something like this (and let’s use ‘unique dog collar’ as our KP):

    This unique dog collar is the perfect addition to your canine’s collection. Sporting the Motor Speedway dog collar, your pooch is sure to win attention!

    That’s just off the top of my head, but you can see where I’m going with it :) To give the keyphrase a little extra relevancy weight, you can hyperlink “unique dog collar” back to the dog collars landing page. You could also add a quick call to action (like, “order your Motor Speedway dog collar today) and hyperlink to the shopping cart page.

    Just quick thoughts for you, Nikki :) Let me know how it goes!

    Cheers :)



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