Initial SEO Decisions for The Dog Way

Quick Discussion of SEO For The Dog Way

If you spend a few minutes looking around The Dog Way, you’ll notice there is almost no attempt to optimize the site for search engines. Further, almost all of the content is blocked in robots.txt, and in fact, until three week ago, the entire site was blocked. Two reasons.

The first is that since the products come from drop shippers found through Doba.com there is no original content on the site.

The second is that the main focus of customer acquisition will be through social media channels, hopefully.

Having said that, there will still be some attempts at SEO, and the plan looks like this.

1. Allow bots to crawl the home page, about us, and blog.

2. Do some keyword research to decide which keywords to target through category and sub-category pages.

3. Write entertaining, good content on the category pages, and then the sub-category pages. As each page gets content, I will unblock it in robots.txt and then submit it to Google to crawl.

4. Focus on image and video optimization after that. Dogs are cute, pictures of dogs are cute, people like clicking on them, so I’m hopeful about the last tactic.

One question that comes up with blocking an entire site in robots.txt is how long does it take to get re-included and re-crawled. Turns out that Google still checks the robots.txt everyday, even when it’s blocked. You can see this by going into the logs and looking at the crawls.

Hosting for The Dog Way is done through SimpleHelix and the keep at least one day of log files on the shared, apache server under the symbolic link access-logs. Here’s how I monitored the crawl activity.

Step 1: cd access-logs

Step 2: nice grep “Googlebot” thedogway.com | more

This allows me to pull out all page requests from Googlebot and then page through them a few a time. SimpleHelix updates the past 24 hours and always stores it in ‘thedogway.com’, so there was no need to specify a date or anything else, this isn’t always the case. Grep is a unix utility for looking through files.

I unblocked Google from the homepage about three weeks ago and they started crawling other links right away. It took about 3 days for the meta content to show up for TheDogWay and it now ranks number 1 for ‘thedogway’ but just page one for ‘The Dog Way’.

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