Dog Boarding – Weekly Niche Report

September 22, 2010

This is the first post in a new series I am working on.  Each week I’ll highlight a different profitable online niche and give specific tips that domainers and business owners can use to increase traffic to their web sites and attract new customers.   This week’s niche is Dog Boarding.

What is Dog Boarding?

Dog boarding services watch your dog when you can’t. They are mostly utilized when pet owners go on vacation, but are also being billed as convenient places to socialize and groom pets when owners are short on time.

How popular / profitable is it?

Google’s keyword tool shows that that there are 135,00 local monthly searches for the phrase ‘dog boarding’. Since dog boarding is a very localized service, it especially lends itself to specific geo long tail names (e.g. DogBoardingLosAngeles, DogBoardingNYC, DogBoardingChicago, etc) – with advertisers currently paying $2 – $7 a click for these geo keyword searches).

Sample companies advertising dog boarding services

The following are a sampling of businesses which advertise in this niche.

dog boarding advertisers

Profiting from this niche / specific tips and advice

For business owners: If you own a dog boarding service, the first thing you will want to do is set up an Adwords account. This will let you advertise to customers specifically looking for your services on Google and their affiliates. The good news is that this can be done in less than an hour and if done right can be highly effective. The bad news – it can get expensive fast, especially if many of your competitors are bidding against you for top position.

For domainers / developers:  Significant opportunities exist to set up localized geographic directories for dog boarding services in specific cities.  One model would be to set up a complimentary listing service offering local boarding services a basic listing and offering featured listings for a set monthly fee.  Since dog boarding is a commonly used service, the potential exists to scale and duplicate this business model in different geographic regions.  This type of site can easily be hand coded, but would be made easier by using a directory plugin such as DirectoryPress.

Two tips to attract on ongoing stream of customers without spending hundreds of dollars advertising each month.

1. Receive free ‘type-in’ traffic from visitors searching for dog boarding services who directly ‘guess’ or type in the web site name instead of using a search engine.

For example, if 400 people a month are searching for ‘dog boarding chicago’, a percentage of these will type this term directly into their browser, effectively ‘guessing’ the the name of the site they are looking for.   By owning the corresponding domain (e.g. DogBoardingChicago.com) and forwarding it to your existing site, these ‘type-in’ visitors will immediately see your site.  If you receive 20 type-in visitors a month, you are receiving 240 ‘free’ visitors a year.  Since Google currently charges $6.42 CPC to advertise for this keyword, this could cost over $1000 if using Adwords alone.

Since these visitors are searching for the specific keywords you are targeting, they are typically of comparable quality to visitors received from paid advertising campaigns.  Best of all, after the initial purchase of the name, the ongoing renewal costs are about $10 a year and you control a valuable asset which your local competitors do not.

2. Improve your search engine ranking by owning the corresponding keyword domain.

If you are trying to rank #1 for ‘chicago dog boarding’, owning the exact match .com domain (ChicagoDogBoarding.com) can give your site a significant advantage.   In addition to the type-in traffic (discussed in #1), search engines give a significant boost to exact match keyword domains both in their free results and paid advertisements.

Ask just about any SEO expert, search engines like Google love exact match keyword domains – especially .com.  It is not unusual for these types of names to appear in first place for their matching search term.   Part of this is the domain itself, which is weighted into Google’s search algorithm (how Google decides which sites are ranked first).  Another advantage of exact match .com names is that they sound  more professional and are more likely to be remembered and to receive incoming links from related sites.   Since Google counts incoming links as ‘votes of confidence’, the combination of a keyword domain with a few quality incoming links is often enough to get even a basic web site with some unique content a top ranking.

These are a few of the reasons that highly searched keyword domains typically sell in excess of $100,000 on the domain aftermarket.   Luckily, very specific keyword names (also called long tail domains) can usually  be purchased for a fraction of this price.

Summary

Dog boarding is a heavily searched term which lends itself to specific geographic targeting. Purchasing domains with the specific keywords customers are searching for can be an effective way to cost effectively increase traffic to a dog boarding site, both via ‘free’ type-in traffic and enhanced natural search engine rankings.

p.s  I’ll be sending out a new batch of available domains shortly.     To receive advance notice and bonus names, please subscribe to my available domains e-mail newsletter here.

  • Share/Bookmark

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Alan 09.22.10 at 4:21 pm

Good article and while the theory of this article is true your example of dog boarding is one of those bad examples of Google keyword data.

Under the old Google Keyword Tool you are correct that the exact keyword phrase “dog boarding” shows to get 110,000 exact searches a month however most likely this is VERY wrong.

Under the new Google Adwords keyword results this same exact match term only gets 5,400 global monthly searches and 3,600 local – over 90% less.

Additionally, when you look at the compete.com results for the #1 search result for this terms – which happens to be dogboarding.com – out of the 5 top keywords that bring traffic to this domain, the exact match dog boarding is not one of them.

http://siteanalytics.compete.com/dogboarding.com/

Same with the # 2 result – CampBowWowUsa.com

http://siteanalytics.compete.com/campbowwowusa.com/

A lot of determining how powerful a generic term like this is has to do with analyzing the SERP results, comparing old and new keyword data. If you rely solely on keyword data from one dataset without looking at the SERP results and keyword traffic to those SERP results from sources source as compete, seomoz etc then a lot of money can be spent on nothing.

I wrote an article on this last week .. feel to delete the link below if you dont feel its relevant

http://www.newfoundnames.com/google/google-mocks-me-larry-and-sergey-are-mind-readers/

Mike Sullivan 09.22.10 at 4:40 pm

Nice, looking forward to more in this series.

admin 09.23.10 at 8:26 am

@Alan – Thanks for the comments and the link to your article. All data for this post was taken using the ‘new’ Google keyword tool, not the old one. The 135,000 local monthly searches is for the (non-exact match) phrase ‘dog boarding’, which can occur in any number of different searches (mostly geo).

Good point about looking at other sources of data such as Compete – looks like the top 5 keyword sources were all geo related – which doesn’t surprise me given the nature of the service.

@Mike – Thanks. BTW I’ve been enjoying your Using Domains Properly series.

Jon 09.23.10 at 9:33 am

Thanks for a great write up, look forward to reading more on the niches you find!.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.