Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Why I am pledging to try and stop supporting abusive dog training methods

Hopefully the title should be a little shocking to those of you who have been following me for a while as I am loud and proud about my stance as a force free trainer.

But sadly I have just realised that I also support abusive training methods without meaning to.

Today on a facebook page someone asked why there are no videos or advice out there to help people in a force free way to deal with real world problems like aggression, food guarding, jumping up etc.

I think most of us to start with were thinking 'of course there are, there are thousands of videos out there'

and there are

But if you dont know to search for 'force free' ' positive' or even 'clicker' then when you search the vast majority of things that you will find will be fairly abusive methods.

This is because of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Something I have been looking at lots to try and improve my Etsy Shop
There are thousands and thousands of dog training articles and videos online, so when you search for one the search engine has to decide which are the most important and most relevant  to show you first.

Every search engine is different and they change their algorithms all the time but there are a several common things that are likely to make something rank higher.

(in no particular order)
1. How close the title matches the exact terms you searched for
2. How close the tags (metatags, labels) match the exact terms you searched for
3. How active the site is/how recently it was updated
4. How many people have viewed the page
5. How many inbound links are there to that page
6. How relevant to the subject is the website the inbound links come from
7. What terms are used on the inbound link
8. How many people 'liked' the page


1. - exact terms
If you just search for 'dog training' then there will be thousands of pages with that term in the title, most search engines will rate more highly a page that has the exact words in that order 'Dog Training' above another page that had them in a different order - for example 'Learn all about dog training' would rate way higher than 'Training for your dog'.  The position of where the words appear in the title can also make a difference 'Dog training advice' will rate differently than 'advice for dog training' not always higher tho

2. Tags
Very similar to the titles, the person making the page can add in tags for SEO, phrases tend to be better than single words - so 'Dog' and 'training' will be less effective than 'Dog training'

3. Activity - makes sense - you are less likely to want a site from 10 years ago that has not been updated since

4. People viewed - again this suggests an active popular place

5. Inbound links - this is you and me linking our friends to pages we like

6. Relevant inbound links - this means on some search engines they will rate more highly a dog trainers linking to a dog training page than a hairdresser

7. Terms on the inbound link. For me to link to my shop I can add the link to any word or group of words. Linking to the word Link would be less relevant than linking to a phrase like Needle Felted Custom Dog Sculptures   (yup shameless plugs)

8. In places like youtube and etsy things are rated higher the more people like them


So
We are all helping increase the SEO of abusive dog trainers every time we link to a video and go 'ewww this is so cruel and horrible'
and the more we have built up our profile and followers the 'better' our help will be in actually pushing that horrible page more to the top of a search

And very sadly it appears that every time we post something 'horrible' thousands of people click on it, comment on it and share it
But when something nice and positive is posted far far less people click on it or interact with it at all.

So we are giving extra help to the cruel training methods SEO.

I used to believe it was important to comment and share all these videos so the public could see it wasnt the only way to train.
Now I see by doing that I am making these things MORE into the public eye and pushing out all the wonderful positive things out there.

We need to stop giving these people free publicity.
Reward the positive videos and articles, share them, comment on them and create them ourselves
That way when someone looks for something on a particular problem they are more likely to find the positive solutions
Then if they try them they are less likely to have a problem dog and less likely to be tempted by the more abusive methods.

Lets be positive in getting rid of abusive training methods
Reward good articles and videos by helping peoples SEO, Watch, like, comment and share
Show alternatives to the abusive methods and ignore them, dont click on them, then slowly they will start to go away

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