Petsmart announced this week it would acquire pet food e-tailer Chewy for a reported $3.35 billion, a deal larger than Walmart’s 2016 acquisition of Jet.com. In the rapidly growing pet care industry, Chewy has emerged as a top competitor among pet care e-tailers, particularly in Google search.

Chewy dominates Google search results, appearing organically on the first page of search results for 56% of the top branded dog and cat food search terms. Within branded search visibility, Chewy trails only Amazon.com and the editorial site Dog Food Advisor, which appear on 72% and 67% of terms, respectively.

While Chewy still lags behind mainstream competitors like Petsmart and Petco in non-branded organic search visibility, the e-tailer dominates paid search results for both branded and non-branded terms and is far ahead of even Amazon. Chewy ads appear at the top of Google search results for 69% of non-branded terms (e.g. “best dog food”) and 78% of branded terms (e.g. “blue buffalo dog food”).

This aggressive paid search strategy has ensured that Chewy is highly visible on the mobile search screen—on average, Chewy owns the top paid search result for branded terms, making it visible even before the consumer scrolls on a mobile device.

Chewy has also doubled down around product listing ads, enhancing its visibility on mobile. In January 2017, Chewy owned 7% of branded mobile PLAs and 59% of non-branded mobile PLAs, outpacing Petco, Petsmart, and Jet.com.

Finally, Chewy has complemented its SEO and SEM by partnering with the editorial site Dogfoodadvisor.com, which dominates organic Google search results for non-branded and branded search terms.  Dog Food Advisor site reviews link exclusively to Chewy.com product pages, making it Chewy’s largest source of referral traffic. This is the kind of digital savvy that had made Chewy an attractive target for Petsmart, a retailer that has been in the game for more than 30 years.

 

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