Vape stores and retailers face a rather interesting – if annoying dilemma in 2019. The industry is booming, in the UK, in the US, and across Europe. However, traditional Internet-based PPC is out of the question as Google (and Bing) do not accept advertising for tobacco products, and they included vape supplies in that ban. So how is a vape supplier supposed to get noticed fast online, the very place where people are looking for the latest products? The answer is via vape store SEO.
Google won’t let you pay for PPC ads, but they will index your website and its content. And they will rank you and your competitors against one another in the order they see fit. If you make good use of SEO, searchers will be able to find you when they are seeking what you sell. The ‘trick’ is, however, that you will need to follow an SEO plan that is a little out of the norm to succeed.
Understanding How People Are Searching For You
The vape market is a fairly specific niche wherever you operate. In terms of ages, the majority of users who vape fall between the ages of 18-29. It’s a ‘young crowd’ and to understand how to target them with SEO; you’ll need to understand how they search, and what keywords and keyphrases they use when they do.
For example, e-liquids bring in about 39% of all the revenue made from the vaping market. But ‘e-liquids’ is a clunky, awkward search term that very few vapers would actually use. Vape juice is a far more popular term, along with the term e-juice.
People also search for certain products in very general terms ‘vape pen’, ‘vape tank’ and they will search for ‘buy e-liquid’. These are just a few examples, but the point is that before any vape store SEO campaign can begin, there must be some serious keyword research involved.
With all your competitors reaching for the same common keywords, being able to research what will be best suited to you, your products and online shop is critical to your vape shop success.
Setting Up an SEO Friendly Shop
When lots of vape shops get new stock when writing product descriptions, they copy and paste what the manufacturer has to say about them. It’s fast, easy, and everyone uses the descriptions, so why not?
The last line IS the problem. Everyone uses the descriptions. Contrary to the wildly popular myth, Google won’t penalise you for using the manufacturer copy, but its bots have decided which version of the copy to index first, and sorry to say, the manufacturer is going to win every time.
This means that writing your own, original, keyword-optimized descriptions is a vape store SEO must. And they should be written to appeal to your audience as well. By doing this, every one of your product descriptions stands a chance of helping you climb the SERPs in a search for that particular offering, no matter how many of your competitors are also selling it.
Although, if you are dead set on a manufacturer description. Look at it for inspiration on what is needed to best describe the product, but definitely add your own points and “zest” to make it unique and tailored to your own shop.
Get Your Technical SEO S++T Right
Even if your online store is built using an eCommerce platform like Shopify, Magento or Bigcommerce, which are technically ‘shops in a box’ there are right and wrong ways to set up the technical SEO side of things in order for the site to be ‘good’ for SEO.
For instance. Those little meta description boxes for each product. Are yours filled in? And if they are – which many shops don’t bother to do – are those descriptions keyword-optimized yet appealing to buyers? They should be, as it is these descriptions that Google will display as search snippets and will use to help determine what you are selling.
Then there are the images. Are yours original or the manufacturers stock option? Do they have proper ALT tags? Again, if your images are not optimized, you are missing out on a big SEO boost.
Google Image Search – that’s when you hit the tab at the top of a search results page for images – is the third largest search engine of all, after Google itself and YouTube. But Google’s bots can’t see your images; they have to be given a code prompt – in the form of an ALT tag – to see them.
If they are given that prompt, they will index them in the Google Image Search. And if your images are original and eye-catching, they’ll get noticed by the vapers you want to target more often than they will if you plaster them all over Instagram.
Content Creation is a Must
I get it. You’re busy. Hopefully, you are anyway. And despite the fact that you have probably heard that business blogging is great for SEO, you don’t really have the time or inclination to blog as well as run your vape shop.
However, by not devoting resources to content creation, you are missing out on what is often the biggest vape store SEO boost of all. And not just because you have nothing to feed the content-hungry Google Search bots.
Vaping, as you know, is a controversial subject. It has its raving fans – and those are increasing in number – but it also has increasingly vocal detractors. The research on the health effects of vaping is minimal at this point, but that does not stop people from espousing some rather ill-informed opinions.
All of this means that vapers – and especially new or would-be vapers – go searching for information they can trust. Your blog can give it to them. Or they search for information about how to vape, or what vaping accessories are the best buys. Your blog can provide them with that information as well, setting you up as an authority in your industry and a trusted source of information. And, at the same time, you can make sure those informative articles include the keywords that will help you rise in the SERPs…
Moving Offsite with Vape Shop SEO
Eventually, your SEO campaign has to move offsite and into the big World Wide Web. That excellent content you will be creating will be a large part of that, as it can be leveraged to gain valuable backlinks and shared across the social media platforms your target audience frequents.
If your business has a physical, as well as an online presence, local SEO is something you’ll need to get into, and whether you operate on or offline, or both, directory citations and backlinks need to be created to give you an even bigger SEO boost.
Being listed across the appropriate socials with directory citations will be a large key to SEO success. On top of this, listing in the optimal places will allow you to garner those much-needed reviews to help establish trust within your client base.
Getting the Help You Need
If you’ve made it this far, the one thing you are probably certain of right now is that this all sounds like a lot of hard work. And it is. In order to be successful, your vape store SEO has to be a project embraced fully and executed on an ongoing basis. And did I mention that the SEO tactics you plan out so carefully can be turned upside down in a second if Google issues a major algorithm update? Which they do several times a year? Yes, welcome to the fun world of SEO! Never a dull moment, and things certainly don’t stay the same for long.
The good news is that help is out there. Companies like ours. SEO agencies that don’t pass moral judgments on what you do – yes, we know that some agencies won’t work with you, they don’t work with gambling sites or adult products either – but we will. And we’re good at what we do. Having worked with vape shops before we’ve taken the time to research the industry. And we’re ready to put what we’ve learned to work for you. So give us a call, and start harnessing the undeniable marketing power of vape shop SEO today.