Hot Dog Collars Case Study


Hot Dog Collars is a family-owned, e-commerce website selling personalized dog collars, ID tags, and accessories all made in the USA. Starting out in Jacksonville, Florida, Hot Dog Collars has expanded to a global brand. They are founded on the concept that a true pet is a family member.

Hot Dog Collars had the makings of an SEO catastrophe when first coming to iiWorks. Penguin had just released a new update, and they needed our help to gain rankings in a competitive space while also doing the gritty work of lifting a penalty.

As there account lead and Digital Media Strategist, the challenge for myself and iiWorks was cleaning up backlinks created by web spammers while also creating a high-quality backlink profile to improve rankings. By eliminating low-quality backlinks and optimizing the website, Hot Dog Collars can regain the first page of Google once again.


Every backlink is different. So, my first goal was to dive into the backlinks by conducting a backlink audit. After accessing Google Search Console, I was able view links to the site. I manually sorted the list to identify foreign domains, domains with thin content, domains with irrelevant content, links that were paid, links from directories, and links from partner sites.There were a total of 3,010 links to analyze.

Next, we manually reached out to webmasters with a personalized email asking them kindly to remove the backlinks. We documented every single email in excel file.

Then, we added the links to the disavow file. And, submitted a Reconsideration Request. We documented the drop in traffic and included the list of unnatural links we attempted to get removed, including dates.

After 6 months, the penalty was removed and we were able to start gaining traction in the rankings again.

We diverted our attention to ranking for highly competitive keyword terms like “dog collars” “dog ID tags” and “personalized dog collars.” We utilized keyword research and competitor analysis to rewrite metadata, create a link building plan, and a customer review strategy.


After the penalty was lifted, we saw an increase in impressions increased 265% and clicks increased 121%. And, overall sessions increased 974% in 4 months.

Utilizing remarketing ads, email, social media advertising partnered with our grassroots link building efforts to partner with shelters, rescues, and charities plus we collaborated with bloggers for reviews.

In 9 months, we were able to increase indexed pages by 20%, reduce crawl errors by 91%, and increase average monthly transactions by 91.

Hot Dog Collars also began competing in the SERPs for highly competitive keyword terms.

KeywordPosition BeforePosition After
Dog Collars50+ 24
Dog ID Tags50+25
Custom Dog Collar50+5
Cool Dog Collar50+1
Football Dog Collars50+2

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