7 Cannabis SEO Strategies
Cannabis remains illegal in federal law, therefore, cannabis businesses are limited to where they can advertise. This also eliminates the ability to advertise on some of the most powerful and effective platforms such as Facebook and Google.
So, how do cannabis businesses get their product(s) found? Through strategic search engine optimization! Also know as SEO. The purpose of successful SEO is to get your business to rank in searches organically (not through paid ads). This includes searches on various platforms such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. and even on social media!
Below is a list of some SEO strategies you should implement for your cannabis business (and even any other business):
1. Create a Google Business Profile
According to Net Marketshare, Google is the world's most popular search engine. So it's clear that the first step towards your SEO efforts should be to create a Google business profile. Not only is this completely free and automatically indexes your business name but your listing will give people easy access to important information such as your location, hours, and website.
Your Google business profile also serves as prime real estate in search results. Profiles can appear in the local “3-pack” area and in Google Maps results.
2. Leverage Social Media
At the very least, your business should have a Google+ and Facebook page. But you also have to remain active and consistent on these platforms in order to benefit from theme. Doing so allows you to build a valuable relationship with your customers. Each platform that's available offers different benefits for every business.
Where Google+ lacks popularity among other social platforms, it makes up for it through Google Indexing. What is indexing? According to Google, in order for your site's contents to be included in the results of your custom search engine, they need to be included in the Google index. The Google index is similar to an index in a library, which lists information about all the books the library has available. However, instead of books, the Google index lists all of the webpages that Google knows about. When Google visits your site, it detects new and updated pages and updates the Google index.
Simply put, every post you publish on your Google+ profile is indexed for search rankings. So by optimizing your posts with targeted keywords, you increase your chances of being found online.
A great way to connect with the cannabis community. Think about the number of cannabis related Facebook pages out there today. They're all targetable! Although their ad policy still prohibits cannabis and cannabis related ads (excluding ancillary businesses), their customizable ad platform can generate quality leads and sales when used properly.
3. A Great Website with Your Address & Phone Number
I repeat, a GREAT website through quality design, content, ease of use, and optimized for mobile. I repeat that too, optimized for mobile! No one enjoys trying to navigate a website on their phone when things are tiny, all over the place, takes forever to load, and other issues many sites have that aren't properly optimized for mobile searches. After all, the majority of searches these days are done on that neat little device.
In addition to have a quality website, you need to list your business' address including the city and state, and a phone number. Just make sure this is done in text so that Google can rank your business in searches around your area. If your business doesn't have a sole location, such as our client, Plug and Play®, you can integrate a map that shows a list of all retailers that carry your product(s).
4. Get Listed on Cannabis Related Directories
Leafly, Weedmaps, and THCBiz are the Yelp and YellowPages of the cannabis industry. Being listed on these reputable directories can increase the chances of being found. This can also create high quality backlinks to your website.
5. Collect Reviews
Kindly ask your customers to leave honest reviews on your listings. For this specifically, we would highly suggest focusing on getting reviews on your Google and Facebook pages first. Most, if not all, of your customers will already have a Facebook and/or Google account making it much easier for them to leave a review without having to sign up for an account as with other listing platforms.
We even recommend Google reviews over Yelp reviews due to Yelp's inconsistent filtering of "legit" reviews. Nothing's more frustrating than having tons of positive and legitimate reviews being sent to the "not currently recommended" section on Yelp. Google on the other hand is much more lenient when it comes to filtering reviews.
6. Create a Blog and YouTube Channel
Creating and managing a blog consistently can generate increased traffic to your website and is key to great SEO practices. This also falls into the category of content marketing which is crucial. Content is king, especially when you're limited to where you can advertise. Publishing new articles on your blog is a great way to keep bringing visitors to your website.
Where else do a lot of cannabis customers search for related content? YouTube! From product reviews to education content, YouTube is a great platform to distribute content to the masses. And with all the influencers on there, this is a great opportunity to build brand partnerships.
Both of these can be used to cover a myriad of topics including new products, industry news, events, and more. Just be sure to publish as consistently as possible!
7. On-Site SEO
I mentioned the important of have a great website, but in addition to that, your website needs to be SEO friendly. This requires technical skills as well as cannabis SEO knowledge, so you may need to get help from a professional in this field, such as us!
This aspect should definitely not be overlooked. A good SEO strategy should include:
- Keyword Strategy
- Tags (Title, Header, Image, Meta)
- Inbound Links (301 Redirects)
- Site Speed
- Responsive Design
- Optimized Images with Relevant Alt Text
- Quality Web Development (Coding)
- Check for Duplicate Content
- Social Sharing Buttons
- Internal Linking
SEO takes time but in the end, if done properly, it will bring immense value to your brand and business.
These are just a few strategies used in SEO. If you don't have the time or experience needed to successful implement effective SEO strategies, we'd love to help! Just contact us here to schedule a free consultation!
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and/or questions in the comments below! And if you enjoyed this article, we'd greatly appreciate you sharing! :)