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The cannabis business is booming. But it is also clouded with tons of competition. Regardless of where your medical marijuana dispensary is situated, the chances are that there are several other similar establishments in your area. One thing’s for sure: You cannot solely rely on foot traffic to get customers. And that’s where local online […]
The cannabis business is booming. But it is also clouded with tons of competition. Regardless of where your medical marijuana dispensary is situated, the chances are that there are several other similar establishments in your area.
One thing’s for sure: You cannot solely rely on foot traffic to get customers. And that’s where local online searches come in. Most consumers nowadays prefer buying their weed online. That’s almost 300,000 individuals in Canada alone.
And that’s not all. It is estimated that nearly 46% of all search engine searches are for local businesses. This goes a long way in bringing out the sheer importance of growing your local online searchability into perspective. So, how can you achieve this? Through focusing on your SEO strategies.
In this guide, we’ll discuss ten effective cannabis SEO strategies that are sure to make your medical marijuana dispensary website rank higher in local searches. But before we get to that, let’s find out what local SEO means.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your business for location-specific search queries. To achieve this, you have to make your website and all its content appeal to the algorithms employed by search engines.
While general SEO focuses on ranking your content higher in niche-specific searches, local SEO puts geographical information into the equation. And although many principles apply to both, there is a shift in backlinking and keyword use geared towards local audiences to maximize impact on a smaller pool of consumers.
Search engines have one principal purpose: to produce the most relevant results for any search query. To achieve this, they use artificial intelligence to index, crawl, and rank all online content to filter the best results. Your rank in the search pages typically relies on whether your website contains the elements the search engine wants.
With local SEO, you can gain preference on the internet with a more specific target audience. So, instead of competing with all competitors in your industry (all medical dispensaries countrywide), you’ll be working on standing out in your community.
Local SEO typically employs techniques like backlinking to local events pages and using location-specific terms in your keywords. This boosts your presence in a more relevant location, increasing your rank when nearby customers are looking for your products and services.
Look at it this way: Using local SEO on local markets takes you out of an unnecessarily large pool of competitors to a more realistically sized pool. And since medical marijuana dispensaries are local businesses, this approach is vital to your business’s success. If you’re not convinced yet, here are a few other reasons you should employ local SEO in your online marketing strategy.
Did you know that the first five results on any Google search page collect up to 67.6% of user clicks? This means that if your site doesn’t appear in those top five positions, the chances are that your audience doesn’t even know you exist.
Your business’s success solely relies on customers. So, if you want to attract more of them, you need to start putting yourself where they are. By using local SEO strategies, you can crack into the top organic results, thus improving your chances of being found.
According to a study, 72% of local searches result in an in-person visit within five miles of the searcher. While ranking high on search engines is great, if your site’s visitors live too far away, the top position might not do much good for your business.
But if you target local customers, you get web visits from people who may actually visit your marijuana dispensary.
Likewise, using a broad SEO strategy for a local dispensary opens you up to a lot of dead-end visits. For example, if you post a blog with content relating to your products or service while neglecting to use local targets, you’ll land hits from all over the world, but these hits might not help you in the long run.
Both businesses and consumers alike are warming up to the idea of forming a community and keeping the local economy alive. If you put effort into linking and connecting with local businesses and members of your community, you’ll see the results both online and offline.
In addition to boosting your rank, having reputable local backlinks opens the door to supporting working relationships. When you refer your customers to relevant services in your area, they’ll be more inclined to do the same. In time, your customers will trust your referrals more and start visiting businesses within their local area.
In general, most consumers assume that businesses that rank highest in Google search results have been vetted by Google and are, therefore, trustworthy businesses.
In that measure, securing a top spot in Google search results will encourage customers to trust your business more. The high-ranking position also portrays you as an authority in your niche, thus elevating your level of appeal.
Now more than ever before, customers are seeing more value in supporting their local economy and are generally more confident doing business with establishments in their area.
Local SEO gives you two advantages. First, your customers discover you and come visit you. Second, whenever they require these services again, they’ll search for them, and when they see your business name on the top results, they’ll remember you, prompting them to return. In time, you’ll convert these one-time customers into a local customer base.
In the past, most businesses relied on paid ads to boost traffic. But now, organic traffic has taken over, and most businesses are cashing in on this opportunity, thus reducing their need for paid ads.
By building your rank, you’re able to use search engines as a free advertisement avenue for your business. If you do it right, you’ll eventually gain more clicks than a paid ad.
An increase in organic traffic translates to an increase in sales. You already have tons of local customers willing to buy, so showing up as an authority in your area increases your chances of increasing sales significantly.
And if local searchers aren’t quite ready to seal the deal yet, they’ll be encouraged by your proximity. So, if they’re not willing to make a blind online purchase off some other business far away, they can visit you and get to know your business.
Here are some of the strategies that you can employ to boost your local searches:
The rate at which your site appears on Google searches all comes down to the keywords you use. When a prospective customer performs a search, your website only appears if their query matches the keywords you’ve optimized.
And because most people will be searching for medical marijuana dispensaries in their area, they’re likely to specify their location when entering the search. Therefore, if you target your customers by incorporating geographical markers into your keywords, you can better compete for SEO rank.
The process is pretty straightforward. You can do this by simply adding geography into your keywords, e.g., “cannabis dispensary Ontario.” you might also try to capture consumer intent by making the keywords even longer by adding key phrases like “medical marijuana for sale” or “buy cannabis.”
Medical marijuana dispensaries need to create an effective social media marketing strategy to engage with potential customers in their area across multiple social media networks.
This will increase the level of communication between your dispensary and locals and help your SEO, as all your social media posts will link back to your website.
The same SEO rules apply to both global and local SEO. Search engines want to connect the searcher with pages that contain the information they want. So, how will you make Google know that your site is the right site? By optimizing on-page SEO.
You can achieve this by capturing keywords in places like the headers, page titles, and URLs. You should also post plenty of content, make sure your site is user-friendly and loads fast, and ensure you have pages with information focused on your location.
As a medical marijuana business, the chances are that your business is cited all over the internet in places like reviews and directories. Most of those citations include NAP (name-address-phone) information.
That being said, there’s a good chance that not all of these citations are correct. As a business owner, you’ll want to make sure that your business is cited in as many places as possible and that those citations are correct.
GMB (Google My Business) is a free and easy-to-use tool that enables businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google services, including search and maps.
In its essence, the GMB maintains your local business profile. Google then uses this profile to come up with search results with information about your business, thus increasing your chances of a searcher clicking through to your site.
As a local business, numerous customers leave reviews about their experiences with your dispensary scattered all over the web. Search engines use these reviews to help rank your website.
Additionally, most customers take reviews as their most trusted source of product information. So, in addition to the reviews you already have in the wild, try incorporating some of those reviews on your website.
This has always been an effective SEO strategy. To improve site rankings, you must create high-quality backlinks. While you’re at it, DON’T try fooling Google by creating substandard backlinks. Their algorithms will see right through it and ultimately lower your site’s rankings.
Moreover, websites with more inbound links from reputable sources generally rank higher in search engine results and garner more traffic. This is because Google views inbound links much like votes for the site, i.e., the more links your website has, the more value it provides.
More than 33 million people accessed the internet through their mobile phones in 2021. As of February 2021, global mobile internet users had surpassed desktop users at 55.86% vs. 42.65% for desktop users. This goes a long way in demonstrating the need to incorporate a mobile-friendly web design in your SEO strategy.
Google must have gotten wind of this because in 2016, they released their mobile-first index. Since then, Google has taken a firm decision to use the mobile version of any website as the primary index. This means that no matter how responsive your website is on desktops, you might still rank low due to your unresponsive mobile web design.
Although Google’s decision seemed sudden and irrelevant at the time, it’s worth noting their most important aspect: user satisfaction.
Moreover, if your site visitors don’t get a good experience on your website when using mobile phones, the chances are that they won’t spend a lot of time on your site and might even leave without making a purchase.
In 2021 alone, more than 58% of consumers found local businesses in their area through voice search. This percentage is expected to increase significantly over the coming years as voice searching gains popularity.
Therefore, when developing a local SEO strategy, consider optimizing for voice search through text that mimics human speech.
When looking for new effective ideas for your marijuana SEO strategy, it never hurts to see what your competitors are doing. While you’re at it, enter their domain names into your keyword research tool and see which sites link out of them, what queries they rank for, and how big of an organic footprint they have.
Doing this will inspire new strategies that you can incorporate into your local SEO strategy. For example, you could offer more in-depth information than them or partner with any of the publishers that link to their site.
Investing in effective local SEO strategies could benefit your dispensary in the long run. However, you have to make sure you invest in the right strategies and come up with better ways to get in front of your customers. With the tips above, you’re sure to get ahead of your competitors.