Your e-cigarette or vape shop website has been out there — waiting for visitors — for months. Every day, though, you check your Google Analytics or Clicky account, and it’s the same story.
You write new blog posts as often as you can. Maybe you’ve even connected your website to a few directories and social networks — but no one is biting. You’re not getting any traffic on Google, you’re not generating revenue and you’re beginning to worry that your vaping website will never generate any traffic.
We know how it feels to have an e-cigarette website that isn’t generating traffic because we’ve been there.
Every new website starts with no traffic, but the way forward for vaping websites is a little more difficult than it is for other websites because you can’t buy notoriety on search engines or social media. Since you get lumped in with tobacco websites, online marketing for e-cigarette websites is hard.
It’s not impossible, though. We also started with no traffic. Today, we get thousands of visitors each day. If we can do it, so can you — but first, you need to know why your vaping website isn’t getting traffic yet.
Your Content Isn’t Good Enough
A lot of e-cigarette website owners don’t know how high the standards for great e-cigarette content have risen over the past couple of years. There are still a few single-author e-cigarette websites, and many of those authors have gotten very good at writing informative content. Some vaping websites have in-house writers, and others utilize outside services such as our e-cigarette content writing service.
This isn’t to say that a single-author e-cigarette website can’t still make a splash, but the days of finding a good vaping article, rewriting it your own words and raking in the traffic are long over. No matter what vaping-related keyword you use, Google’s first page is going to offer you some really good results. If you want to break through, you’ll need to do even better.
How will you know if your content is good enough? Check your competitors by searching for your article’s main topic on Google. If you can’t honestly say that your article is better than any of the results on Google’s first page, it probably isn’t good enough.
You Copy Your Content From Other Sources
Right now, there are hundreds of websites selling e-cigarettes and e-liquids online. A significant portion of those websites copy and paste the manufacturers’ descriptions of products into their pages. Did you do that when you set up your online store?
If you search for one of your copied product descriptions on Google, the result may shock you. If one of your product pages contains exactly the same text as pages for the same product on 950 other websites, what reason does Google have to send traffic to your page? Google indexes the web by scanning text. To Google, your website looks exactly the same as hundreds of others.
Creating a page using exclusively copied content virtually guarantees that the page will get no traffic from Google. More importantly, having a website consisting mostly of copied content sends Google the wrong signals about your website. It tells Google that your website’s original content — if there is any — is of little value.
Your Website Doesn’t Send Quality Signals to Google
Google’s ranking algorithm gets a little better every day. In recent years, Google has focused on improving the search engine’s ability to process natural language and identify the aspects of a website that signify a quality user experience. Original content is one of the biggest quality signals that Google’s algorithm looks for, but it isn’t the only one.
Your writing is a quality signal
Google’s algorithm doesn’t exactly read and comprehend the text on your website, but it can identify the indicators of high-quality text:
- Lengthy text suggests that an article does an excellent job of covering its topic comprehensively
- Frequent use of synonyms and words closely related to an article’s core keyword suggests that the author truly understands the subject, uses natural language and avoids keyword stuffing
- Use of short paragraphs, subheadings, bullet points and rich media suggests that the article is structured for maximum readability
Great content should be front and center
For Google, website quality extends past the words that you choose and the way in which you arrange them. User experience is also a quality signal.
- Does your website display a pop-up ad — such as an invitation to join a mailing list — that blocks the main content until the user interacts with it?
- Do users need to scroll down to see the main content of a page?
Trustworthiness is a quality signal
Whether you have a brick-and-mortar vape shop or an online e-cigarette business, the ultimate goal of your website is to encourage visitors to spend money. As such, Google is going to apply higher quality standards to your website than it would apply to an ordinary blog. Your website needs all of the following:
- An “About Us” page explaining who you are
- Clear contact information such as your business’s address, phone number and email address
- Encryption — your website must begin with “https” if you accept online orders
Your website must support mobile users
Mobile devices generate more than half of the world’s web traffic — and they also generate more than half of Google’s traffic. If your website doesn’t work on mobile devices, it’ll never reach its full ranking potential. Do you have a mobile-friendly website? Find out what Google thinks.
External reviews can send quality signals
Google’s algorithm now processes natural language so well that it can determine the overall sentiment of a document. If someone reviews your business on another website, in other words, Google knows whether the review is positive or negative. If your website sends the right quality signals — but Google’s algorithm is on the fence about giving you a high ranking — positive reviews on other websites can really make a difference.
Your Website Doesn’t Send Local Signals to Google
If you have a brick-and-mortar vape shop, you aren’t trying to rank on Google for broad vaping keywords so much as you’re trying to rank for local terms like “vape shop (city name)” and “e-cigarettes (city name).” When people search for local terms on Google, they have commercial intent — so local keywords are highly competitive. You need to send signals to Google indicating that your website is a relevant result for local searches.
Make your business’s location clear
If you want to capture local search engine traffic, your business’s contact information — particularly the name, address and phone number — should figure prominently into almost every page on your website. Google should have absolutely no doubt as to where your business is and how customers can find you.
External websites can send local signals
Your vape shop absolutely must claim its listings on important business directories such as Yelp, Facebook and YellowPages.com. We explain the reasons in detail in our guide to business directories and vape shops. For search engine ranking purposes, though, business directories are important because most of them probably list your vape shop already — and some of those listings may be incorrect.
Every website that lists your vape shop’s name, address and phone number gives you a local citation, and local citations are an important part of telling Google that your vape shop’s website is a relevant result for local searches. A large number of citations can help your vaping website rank well, but the number of citations isn’t as important as the consistency. The websites that mention your e-cigarette company need to agree on your business’s location and contact details.
Google My Business is your one-stop shop for local relevancy
If you do only one thing to fix the fact that your vape shop isn’t getting any web traffic, you need to claim or create your profile on Google My Business. GMB is your official place to tell Google everything there is to know about your vape shop including what you sell and what your primary keywords are. You can also submit pictures of your vape shop. The pictures may appear in the results when people search for your vape shop or keywords related to it.
Once your vape shop is on Google My Business, customers can review your business on Google. Customer reviews increase the relevance of your vape shop for local searches. Positive reviews encourage people to click through and investigate further.
Your Website Doesn’t Have Any Inbound Links
For any search relating to e-cigarettes or vape shops — local and otherwise — Google uses inbound links from other websites to determine whether your website is worthy of trust. Your website can send all of the right local signals and quality signals. If your website has no links from other websites, though, it won’t rank for competitive search terms. You need the trust signals that links provide.
Directories can provide inbound links when you’re still getting started
So, how do you get links from other websites? Adding your website to directories of e-cigarette websites and local vape shops can help. Directory links have limited value on their own. They’re most useful as part of a link profile that also includes other types of links. Even if you only have directory links, though, it’s still better than not having any inbound links at all.
Editorial links have the most value — especially from related websites
For vaping search engine optimization, the best links that your website can receive are editorial links — links placed within the main body text of articles and blog posts. Editorial links are also some of the most difficult links to receive because no one is in a rush to send visitors away from his or her website.
When someone adds a link to an article, it’s generally for one of these reasons:
- The author used an external source as a reference when writing the article and wants to give credit
- The link would benefit the article’s readers so greatly that not including the link would be a disservice
So how do I get editorial links?
Getting editorial links is hard. That’s why so many website owners buy links even though doing so violates Google’s webmaster guidelines and could get their websites penalized or removed from Google’s index — because their content isn’t good enough to attract editorial links. Writing great content is slow and hard. Buying links is fast and easy.
If you want your vaping website to start getting real, sustainable traffic, you need to publish content that’s good enough to earn editorial links. If you’re not sure where to begin, our e-cigarette content writing service can help. In general, though, these are the two types of content that work best:
- Informational articles that are the most informative articles on their subjects available anywhere online
- Articles compiled from original research
If you can create either of those, your content will receive editorial links. Remember, though, that people can only link to your content if they know about it — and if your content doesn’t have good search rankings yet, it may be hard for people to find it. You’ll need to perform some outreach. Find and contact bloggers and website owners who would benefit from linking to your content.
Your Vaping Website Isn’t Getting Traffic? You Can Fix It
As we’ve illustrated in this article, if your e-cigarette website isn’t getting traffic, you have the power to solve that problem. It isn’t easy or fast, but you can do it — and learning how to make your website generate traffic is something that will benefit all of your online endeavors. Ultimately, generating traffic for your vaping website comes down to just three things:
- Your content needs to be original, and it needs to be truly great.
- Your website needs to send Google all of the right quality signals. If you have a local business, you also need to show Google that your website is a relevant result for local searches.
- Your website needs inbound links. To attract those links, you’ll need to tell people about your content.