Tips for promoting your pet-friendly business on Google

Breton Towler
May 3, 2024

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Tips for promoting your pet-friendly business on Google
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Whether walking the dog or cuddling their kitten, the UK can’t get enough of their fur babies. Pets make a house a home and can bring smiles to faces in the darkest times, so it’s no surprise over half of UK adults own a pet. But what about when we want to take our muddy boots out of the house and bring our pets along for the ride?

An epic pet adventure strengthens our bond and relationship with our pets, but they are difficult to plan if owners can’t find out if your business is pet friendly. Imagine the frustration of planning a dog walk but being unable to find out if the halfway point pub stop-off allows dogs.

If your hotel allows pets, you must make it abundantly clear on your website and Google Business Profile (GBP). It could be the difference between a customer choosing your pet-friendly services or handing the lead to your competitors.

How to showcase pet advocacy on Google Business

Let’s see how you can champion your pet-friendly business online so it matches with pet owners in your area who need services like cattery stays, dog walking, grooming, and kennel boarding.

Let customers know pets are allowed

Don’t leave online users wondering and second-guessing if pets are welcome through your doors. Knowledge is power and helps establish trust, so it’s essential you let online users know whether you accommodate pets. 

The “Pets” attribute lets you specify if dogs are allowed inside and outside your business establishment. Many businesses in the travel and tourism industry (such as hotels) can also assign “Pet-friendly”, “No pets”, “Dogs allowed”, and “Cats allowed” labels from the amenity attributes list.

Show animal-friendly pictures and videos

It’s impossible not to feel joy watching animal videos and looking at pictures of pets having fun. Aside from boosting our moods, it’s also a great way for your business to illustrate its love for animals.

Filling your GBP with pet-related images showcases the personality of your pet-friendly services, how your staff interacts with pets, and your facilities being enjoyed by your four-legged customers. Give potential customers a sneak peek of what your business has to offer. 

While plenty of fun animal pictures are a great idea, don’t forget to upload more general photos that give insight into what kind of pet-friendly business you run. For example, hotels should provide images of their dog-friendly rooms.

Update your Q&As

Use the GBP Q&A feature to answer important FAQs and provide helpful, pet-friendly information that customers can quickly and easily access. If someone asks a question about your business’s pet credentials, the profile managers will receive an email notification. 

Business owners should answer questions as often and quickly as possible. This helps signal to Google that the listing is consistently updated and maintained, which benefits your local SEO. Focus on implementing pet-related keywords into your responses, which can sometimes appear as snippets in your GBP on both mobile and desktop platforms.

You can also ask and answer questions on your own GBP. This is an excellent opportunity to answer frequently asked pet-related questions that are important to existing and potential customers. Are dogs only allowed in your pub’s bar area? Do you offer cat sitting over Christmas and the busy holiday season? Help customers make decisions much faster to determine if your business is what they’re looking for.

Of course, the quicker you respond to questions, the less likely unhelpful or inappropriate responses will be left by other searchers with a Google account. If a previous customer gets to a pet-related question before you, and the answer is correct, use the upvote function to signal to users that the response has been approved and is helpful.

Investing time in this GBP feature can also contribute towards your rankings and conversions, especially if users can easily find the answer to a critical question. Users would be more likely to engage with a business like a pet-friendly cottage if they had a crucial question answered before they’d even had to ask it.

Let people know they can bring their pets to your business.

Add attributes

Don’t forget to give potential customers a quick glance at your business’s rules around pets through the GBP attributes facility. Whether you’re a luxury hotel, a budget café, or a gym franchise, let customers know if they can bring their furry friends with them when visiting your establishment.

Keeping your attributes section updated can also benefit your pet-friendly business in Google Search, Google Maps, and other Google products and services when people search for locations with those attributes.

Get your customers involved

Use your GBP to connect with customers and encourage them to engage with it. Nothing shows off a business better than a happy customer. It is the Everest of credibility for a business. Anyone with a Google account can contribute (positively or negatively) to your GBP. Whether it’s pictures of their dogs using your secure and spacious play facilities, or a review praising the cleanliness of your cattery, engage with customers to foster loyalty and brand recognition. 

Chat directly with them and encourage reviews (don’t forget to reply to them) and add photos or videos to showcase your services. You could even ask their permission to use their images and videos on your social media platforms. 

Encourage reviews from pet owners

Reviews are especially beneficial for new and growing pet-friendly businesses needing help legitimising their services compared to long-standing names in their sector. Incentivise customers to leave a review on your GBP by offering one-time discounts on your services, such as money off their next meal at your dog-friendly restaurant. 

Repeat customers promote your business, and better still, it won’t cost you a penny. Focusing on repeat business helps you create a group of loyal customers who will happily sing your praises and promote your business online. Don’t forget to show your appreciation — replying to positive reviews is just as pivotal as responding to negative ones.

Feature pets in your broader marketing materials

While utilising a local marketing tool like GBP will increase the visibility of your business in the community, you can transform the marketing of your pet business offline, too.

Using an array of marketing materials that feature animals can help you achieve maximum results by establishing a clear and impactful brand. From emails and flyers to giveaway boxes and video promotions, pets must be at the heart of your marketing campaigns. 

If you have a dog grooming business, why not share a photo of yourself with your own canine companions? Pets are often the inspiration that leads individuals into the pet industry, so allow your audience to get up and personal with you and your own animals. You can also refer to this in the history of your business in your Google Business Profile description. 

Photos of the end-user (the pets) enjoying your products or services are always winners. For example, show how your canicross dog harness brought smiles to a man and his labrador with a video of them running side by side. Prospective clients will see this and crave a heavy dose of the feel-good vibes.

If your pet-friendly business is based solely on dogs, you must include different ages, breeds, and sizes to target a broad audience. Only refrain from diversifying the dogs you use in your marketing if your products or services target a specific breed or size of dog.

Let customers know if they can bring their pets with them.

Host or sponsor an event

Hosting or sponsoring community events is a great way to get your pet-friendly business in the eyes and minds of pet owners. It could be anything from a charity dog walk or agility competition to a puppy socialisation class or a “coffee and cake” (puppacino and treats) morning for people and their pooches.

You could even partner with fellow local pet-related businesses, such as a local shelter, to host a pet adoption day. Collaborations can also be a smart promotional strategy by expanding your reach and adding customer value. For example, offer a discounted cat groom at your local salon for every afternoon tea purchased at the nearby family-run kitty café.

Not only will these events boost your visibility, but they will also demonstrate your commitment to the local pet community and present excellent networking opportunities.

Utilise Google Posts

Google Posts enable you to promote events, offers, and general ‘news/update’ items up to a maximum of 300 words (you can also include images and videos). Viewers will usually be at the “top of the funnel” in their purchase journey, so highlight early on what differentiates your business from others. For example, mention that your dog grooming business uses a shampoo that has been specifically formulated to treat pups with dry and itchy skin.

Use this section of your GBP to communicate directly with your local customers. GBP posts stay active for six months and are especially effective for populating evergreen (all-year-round) offers. For example, you’re a dog-friendly pub conveniently located at the end of a popular walking trail, and each furry visitor receives a special goody bag of doggy delights.

Constructing the perfect GBP post is not a one-size-fits-all approach, so test the waters to see what gets your customer's tails wagging. If you add a link, ensure it sends users to a landing page that matches the post's content and meets their expectations.

Now we’ve provided you with tips on how to make your pet-friendly business front and centre when someone searches for services you offer, let’s check out some examples of pet-friendly GBPs.

Examples of pet-friendly Google Business listings

We’ve chosen these two pet-friendly GBPs based on two popular search queries.

The first is budget hotel giant Travelodge — “are pets allowed at travelodge” is punched into Google on average 60 times a month. If we look at the Travelodge Aberdeen Central GBP, it’s clear from their attributes dogs and cats are allowed at the hotel. However, this does come at an extra charge.

Travelodge Aberdeen Central makes it clear it is a pet friendly business.

To improve this profile, they need to start replying to their customer reviews — this appears to be the case for most of the company’s GBPs nationwide.

Reviews that specifically mention “pets” enable them to engage with their audience online and respond using terms like “pet-friendly hotel in Aberdeen” to help prospective customers find them online.

The GBP manager for each location should consider this question alongside other pet-related FAQs via the Q&A feature. For example, can you leave pets unattended in the room? Are pets allowed in the Travelodge restaurant? Some images of pets in the hotel would also give the profile a welcome facelift. 

As of December 21, 2023, there are 586 Travelodge locations in the UK, so individually updating the GBP of each Travelodge is time-consuming. This is where an all-in-one management tool like Mirador Local would prove invaluable to ensure all profiles are consistent and up to date.

And what about when you need to head to B&Q to pick up the materials or tools required to complete the home or garden project you’ve been putting off? If you’re wondering whether pets are allowed in B&Q, let’s see if we can find out through one of the brand's GBPs.

They don’t appear to use attributes across any of their profiles, which could quickly indicate if their stores are pet-friendly. If we look at the B&Q Lincoln profile below, this lack of clarity is further diluted in the Q&As section.

An individual has asked, “Is the store pet-friendly?” There is a mix of answers provided by Local Guides, so the user is left frustrated as there is no definitive answer. This is a classic example of a profile where the GBP account owner needs to step in to benefit its customers and local SEO performance.

B&Q's Lincoln store is yet to reply to potential customers.

Like Travelodge, there is once again a lack of urgency or total disregard for responding to Google Reviews, which shows customers and search engines a lack of commitment to customer satisfaction.

With over 300 stores across the UK and Ireland, B&Q is another multi-location giant that could benefit from Mirador Local to easily manage all their GBP listings from a single, easy-to-use dashboard.

Closing thoughts

When you optimise your GBP for your pet-friendly business, you’re offering valuable information to existing and potential customers. This makes your business more “searchable” in the process. An up-to-date and informative Google Business Profile will impress your existing customers, attract new pet owners, and keep your brand awareness barking up the right tree for years to come.

Promoting your pet-friendly business on Google is a walk in the park with the Mirador Local tool.

Book your free demo.