What Vaping Teaches Us About Succeeding in an Unfair Market

Through my website eCig One, I have offered a vaping SEO service since 2017. Since then, I’ve interacted with online and brick-and-mortar vape shop owners across the world. Among my clients who were completely new to the vaping industry, there was one common trait: All of them were completely at a loss as to what they could do to get any kind of foothold online.

The vaping industry, you see, differs from most other industries in that you can’t market your business online using traditional methods. In any other industry, the fastest way to begin earning revenue is by putting an attractive offer online and using advertising channels such as AdWords and Facebook to drive traffic to that offer. If you run a vaping company, though, none of the traditional advertising channels are available to you because those ad networks consider vaping products and tobacco products to be the same thing.

Succeeding Online in an Unfair Market

How in the world do you generate web traffic when you aren’t allowed to use any of the traditional methods for traffic generation? Without the ability to advertise through normal channels, how can a new company gain traction against entrenched competitors? Vaping is a completely unfair market, and many new business owners – with no idea how to find a direct path to revenue – resort to cheating. They spam forums and blogs with their links. They hire shady SEO agencies to put their links on private blog networks. They buy links from anyone who cares to sell them. Some of those business owners have no idea that what they’re doing violates Google’s webmaster guidelines. Others simply hope that they can start earning links legitimately before Google catches and penalizes them.

Are you the new owner of an online business? If you’re not in the vaping industry, your path forward isn’t quite so difficult. When you think about it, though, every online industry is unfair to a certain extent. You’re always going to deal with competitors who already have a foothold in the market. Some of those competitors may have cheated to get where they are, and you might feel tempted to do the same.

Before I started in the field of SEO, I ran online businesses for more than 10 years. During that time, I learned that the first online customer is the most difficult one that you’ll ever earn. Once you’ve earned that first customer, earning the second one is a walk in the park. In this article, I’m going to share some bits of wisdom that I’ve picked up over the years. I’m going to focus on the two areas that are most important to just about any website: link building and content.

Succeeding With Content in Any Online Market

Google is a primarily text-based search engine, and it’s going to be responsible for providing the majority of your website’s traffic regardless of your industry. Users type search queries, and Google attempts to suggest pages satisfying those queries. If you don’t have a page on your website with relevant information about a given search query, your website will not appear on the results page for that query. Your website absolutely must have text content if you’re to have any hope of succeeding.

With the human race creating more than 2.5 exabytes of data daily, you might think that there’s no way you could possibly put content on your website that hasn’t already been covered by thousands of other websites. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Google processes around 5.6 billion searches per day, and 15 percent of those queries have never been used before. That’s 840 million completely new queries per day that your website could be answering. Better get typing!

How to Write the World’s Best Article on Any Topic

Can’t think of anything that’s never been covered before? No problem; that’s one of the most difficult tasks in writing, but there is an alternative. You can also write an article about a topic that has been covered elsewhere – and simply do a better job of covering that topic than anyone else has. How do you pull that off? It’s simpler than you might think!

  • Choose a topic for your article.
  • Run a web search for the main topic of your article along with several other closely related topics.
  • Read the top results for all of your searches. Assimilate the information on those pages.
  • Create an outline of the information that your article will include. Ensure that the outline includes all of the relevant details that you discovered during your research.
  • Add your own personal insight to give the article a bit of additional information that isn’t available anywhere else.

How to Write an Article That Google Loves

Writing a great article isn’t simply a matter of putting words together. Google wants to identify great content that’ll please users and completely satisfy the intent of their search queries. An enormous amount of content on the web is of little value to real human readers, so Google constantly tweaks its ranking algorithms in an attempt to identify the best results for any given search. One of the things that has improved about Google in recent years is its ability to process natural language. That has enabled Google to detect excellent writing more accurately than ever. How can you show Google that your content is worthy of a high ranking?

  • Google uses content length as a signal that you’ve covered your topic thoroughly. The top results for most search queries are over 2,000 words in length.
  • Google uses word choice – including the use of many synonyms and closely related terms – as a signal you truly understand the subject matter. A true expert doesn’t use the same keyword phrase over and over when writing an article that’s truly meant to provide value to human readers.
  • Google uses structural elements – such as subheadings, bullet lists and images – as signals that you’ve composed your article for maximum readability and have worked to create a great user experience.

Link Building in an Unfair Market

As refined as Google’s ranking algorithms have become, the inbound links pointing to a website have never lost their importance in determining that website’s ranking. If your website has backlinks from many well-known websites, your chance to rank well on Google for competitive search queries will increase. The problem, of course, is getting those links. When it comes to link building, it sometimes seems as though a vaping website might as well be an online casino; no one wants to link to vaping websites. That’s why so many resort to buying links – but it doesn’t have to be that difficult. I’m going to share a few link building techniques that work in any market. If you implement these techniques, you will get links – and if you combine great links with great content, nothing can stop you.

  • Create a resource that doesn’t exist anywhere else — a resource that can only come from extensive independent research. Don’t just gather your information from Google’s top search results; that’s what everyone else is doing. Conduct an exhaustive search of newspaper archives. Interview some experts. Run a survey. Search your local library. Once you have a resource that no one else has, tell people about it. Set up a Google search alert for keyword phrases relating to your resource. When a website publishes a related article, email that website and explain why linking to your resource would enhance their article.
  • Contact every blog and print magazine relating to your field. Ask if you can contribute an article in exchange for a link to your website. If you follow the steps in the first half of this article, your content will be great; people will want to publish it.
  • Use internal linking liberally on your website – especially on your product pages. If other website owners copy your product descriptions, they may leave the links in the text and unwittingly link to your website as a result.
  • Offer free resources such as photographs under a Creative Commons-Attribution license. Anyone using those resources must satisfy the license by linking to your website.

About the Author

Jason Artman is the owner and author of eCigOne.com. A professional freelance writer and SEO consultant with more than a decade of experience, Jason works with vaping companies around the world to increase their targeted web traffic and improve their revenue.

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