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HERd management: Just ‘Google it’ dairy

Emily Zweber Published on 24 February 2014

Chances are good that if you have a question about anything, you instantly go to Google, type in your question and check out the top five results. The question we should all be asking is: “What are consumers finding when they ‘Google it’ about dairy?”

Each search engine you use, whether it is Google, Bing or Yahoo, has their own algorithm of how they search the Internet to retrieve and rank answers to your query. The short of it is that only the engineers know the exact algorithm, but we are able to make educated guesses on what makes pages and posts have a higher retrieval rate and ranking.

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Whenever posting a new blog post, it is important to consider the things you can do to make the post more retrievable. We call this search engine optimization or SEO for short. I am going to focus this article on blog posts, though many of these tips can be used in other social platforms including Google Plus, Pinterest and Quora.

There is a lot of backside manipulation to blog posts that can boost your SEO (link backs, keywords, social shares), but you will hear time and time again that content is king. I truly believe that. It is more important to write solid, focused content that brings readers back, and most importantly, getting them to subscribe to your blog versus just “hit and run” search results.

If people like your content, not only will they be more likely to share it, it also helps with SEO. Each time someone links to your content, your SEO is boosted a notch. Some tips are: Make sure to share your own writing on social platforms, develop relationships with other blogs so that you can share links, and know your readers and write content they will continue to read.

Another reason that content is king is keywords. If you write about roughly the same theme each time, your keywords will most likely be concentrated on a focused few. For example if you are constantly writing about your “family farm” and have several blogs posts with the words “family farm” in the title, search engines will give you an SEO boost. How about keywords such as “is milk healthy,” “benefits of milk,” etc.?

Don’t be afraid to use words non-dairy farmers use. Non-farmers are not talking about freestalls; they are talking about cow barns. The keywords for my family’s farm blog are: family farm, organic farming and Minnesota. If people search organic farms in Minnesota, on some searches we are the fifth link.

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Another way you can use content to your advantage is to think about what people are searching for online. Think about it: When you search on Google, most often you are searching for an answer to a question. “Can Cows Bite” is our blog’s top-viewed dairy-related post.

Title posts that exactly match a search query receive a very high ranking. In times of a dairy news “crisis,” don’t be afraid to use words like “factory farm,” “animal abuse,” “pink slime,” etc. Use the words that the media is using.

That is what people are searching for, and we would much rather they find your blog than Mercy for Animals’ site. Stuck on which words to use? Use the Google keyword tool. This tool allows you to type in keywords and see how often those words are searched and how much content is already out there on the subject.

You don’t have to write about dairy all the time. In fact my number one-viewed post of all time is my “Simple Oven Baked Pork Chop” recipe. I love to cook and recipes are a big part of my blog. Not all of them are dairy-related. My friend Carrie Mess , daily receives views on her blog due to people searching about RumChata.

She is a RumChata fan and also has a cow named RumChata. To quote my friend Leah Beyer , “People need to write about cinnamon rolls and sprinkle in prolapses.” While I don’t recommend writing about cinnamon rolls and prolapses in the same post, she has a good point.

Write about what you are passionate about that also connects with non-farming readers, but make sure to sprinkle in your dairy story. That is what is going to get people to subscribe to your blog, increase your posts’ shares and link backs, and boost your SEO.

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If you are just starting in blogging, the best thing you can do is just get content out there. I would love to search for “is milk healthy” and find the top five posts written by dairy farmers. We have a long way to go in terms of dairy and SEO, but we move forward each time you tell your dairy story online. PD

Emily blogs about her family’s dairy farm . You can learn more about the AgChat Foundation and their mission to empower farmers and ranchers in social media at by visiting their website .

Emily Zweber

Emily Zweber
Dairy Producer
Executive Director
AgChat Foundation

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