Pet owners frequently search for food and other products online. But when it comes to Google search, smaller pet care brands are often outflanked by the top dog: Chewy.

While brands have ramped up paid search efforts to convince pet owners to switch brands (through search conquesting), Chewy outranks nearly all brands against branded search terms, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Pet Care. The specialty pet retailer also dominates against unbranded terms. A Chewy.com text ad appears on the first page of Google search results nearly 75% of the time across categories like dog food and cat food.

Pet Care

Given Chewy’s level of investment across the Google search ecosystem, brands must coordinate spend against their own branded terms with the pure-play retailer or, to drive success against unbranded terms, carve out a niche to win clicks. For example, Mars Petcare and independent brands successfully exploit Chewy’s scale across Google search by pulling back visibility against their own branded terms. Additionally, Pedigree, a top-five brand in the SEO dimension in this year’s study, found its niche across unbranded terms, and consistently wins against research and educational terms like “best dog breed for me,” “dog breed selector” and “which dog is right for me quiz.”.

If brands can work at these tactics, they’ll have a chance to take a bite out of Chewy.

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