Did you know that there is a marketing tool that has shoppers looking for your business and, if you aren’t using it properly, it’s sending those new customers to your competitors?

Let me ask you a quick question … What was the first year in which the baseball World Series was ever televised?

How are you going to find the answer? Unless you are a television history buff or remember watching Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers battle the Yankees in 1947, you are probably going to head to your smart phone or computer and ‘Google it’.

When the name of a company becomes an action – a verb – It is obvious that the business has become engrained in our daily lives. How many times per day do you use Google to search for something, or hear or say the term, “Google it.” If you are like the average person, this phase is part of your daily life.

And guess what? That is the same way people are searching for a local smoke or vapor shop in your town. Over 600,000 people per month in the United States, to be exact.

Millennials Live on Their Smart Phones
You may be saying to yourself, “Yes, but I have billboards all over town and have newspaper advertisements running every week.” Did you know that 78% of the people reading newspapers are over the age of 50 and that 69% of all purchases start with a search on the Internet first? As with most smoke or vapor shop owners you are trying to capture the Millennials – the 18-24 year olds who have been proven to be the core market for your products.

The younger generation (aka “target vapor/smoke shop market”) has been raised on their smartphones, so they go straight to their smart phone to start all of their purchases. This doesn’t mean that they are actually purchasing online, but they are starting their search online. Where to go … where to buy … it’s all determined by who shows up at the top of Google. It is critically important that you capture them at the start of their search, and that means showing up at the top of the search results. If you aren’t showing up in the search results, you are completely missing your demographic.

You Must Be at the Top of Google
The smoke and vapor industry is starting to boom. Now is the time to start your search engine optimization program so that you are at the top of the results.

When these people are searching on Google, 85% of them are going to click on one of the top 3 results that show up on the page (typically the first one) and that company will get their business. They typically don’t click on the ads because they like to trust the ‘organic’ search results – those results that are provided based on Google’s search algorithm.

They also trust top level domain results compared to third party sites. This means that they would much rather click on “UltraVaping.com” than click on “VaporDirectory.com/UltraVaping”. They want to go to the source, rather than go to another ‘search’ page that is sometimes skewed by paid placement.

All of this means that if you want to capture more business your website needs to be at the top of Google’s search results. To make things even more complex, you need to rank for myriad phrases. “e cigarette West Covina” isn’t the same as “e cig West Covina” or “West Covina e cig”. A quick search for vapor and shop related keywords resulted in over 250 various terms that people used when searching for products and their local smoke/vapor shops. These are just the phrases that each have at least 1000 searches per months. There were over 750 other phrases that had fewer searches – all of which reinforces the fact that you need to rank for a wide variety of keywords and phrases to capture your target audience.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Must Be Part of your Marketing Plan
So, how do you get to the top of Google in your local area?

It’s not a simple process to take on by yourself, but it’s not extremely difficult for an experienced search engine optimization (SEO) firm. Just like doing your taxes, you could do it yourself, but it’s much more productive to leave it in the hands of a professional. Google’s algorithm uses over 200 factors to determine what content should be served at the top of the page, and this information is recalculated each and every time someone makes a search. A websites’ core/physical coding structure, visual design, and written content play a big part, as do social media signals (Facebook, Twitter, and Google+), and the freshness of the content that is on your site. Then, Google looks at all of the ‘off-site’ content that is out there that leads to your website (inbound links). It evaluates where these links come from, how they are linked, and how frequently these links are being created.

You are probably now thinking that as soon as you get done reading this you are going to go to Google and search for a few phrases to see where you rank. Unfortunately, you will probably see your company’s ranks artificially high. Google uses tracking software to serve you custom content based on your previous searches, so Google knows that if you visited your site before, then that is probably the site they should show higher for you this time. The best way to find out where your company ranks for some of the key phrases is to use third-party software. The software looks at Google as a ‘new’ user, so the results are not influenced by prior searches and historical usage patterns. (See below for a special offer for Smoke Shop Advisor readers).

Google is driving nearly a million customers per month to local smoke and vapor shops. If you aren’t at the top of the search results, your competition is, so start an SEO plan today and grab these new customers before your competition does.

Mobile Website Update

google warning about mobile


You may recall, my last article discussed the importance of making sure that your website is mobile-friendly. (http://fmmssa.wpengine.com/solution-on/profitability-mobility/). Shortly after that article went to print, Google announced that they were going to start giving mobile-friendly websites preferential treatment and stop showing non-mobile websites to mobile visitors. With over 50% of Google’s traffic coming from mobile, you MUST be sure that your site is mobile-friendly. Contact my company today if you would like to discuss your site and how we could help you become mobile-friendly. SSA

As a special bonus, 4Spot Marketing has agreed to provide Smoke Shop Advisor readers with a free website and search engine ranking report. Simply go to http://4SpotMarketing.com/SSA to request your free report.

Jeff Arnold HeadshotJeffrey Arnold is the President of 4Spot Marketing, and has been involved with Internet marketing for the past ten years.  He combines 25+ years of business management experience with his expert knowledge of search engine optimization and Internet marketing techniques to provide companies with comprehensive Internet marketing services.  His success is evidenced by his clients’ top Google rankings time and time again. Mr. Arnold can be reached at (702) 721-9763, via email at [email protected], or via his website at www.4SpotMarketing.com.