When a customer wants to learn more about medical or recreational cannabis, what’s the first thing they do? Easy – they go to Google. Today, Google processes more than 5.8 billion searches per day and about 2 trillion searches each year. If you’re running a cannabis company or dispensary, even showing up as a result for a tiny fraction of those searches could spell big business for your brand.
In this post, we’ll discuss exactly how you can do that with good SEO designed for cannabis companies. Whether you’re a new brand or an established company just looking to enhance your digital marketing, this post will have some actionable tips and tricks for you.
What’s Cannabis SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO for cannabis companies is by far one of the best and most effective ways to build brand awareness, boost search engine rankings, and attract more customers.
To help you understand the field, here are a few common terms used in SEO and their definitions:
- Ranking. The order of the search engine results based on their relevance.
- Query. Words online user types into the search bar.
- Crawling. The process search engines use to discover and rank a webpage.
- Indexing. When content found during crawling is stored and organized.
- SERP. Search engine results page.
- Organic. When a piece of content ranks on the SERP on its own merit and not through paid advertising (organic can also refer to website traffic that isn’t paid for).
- Traffic. Website visitors, whether paid or organic.
- Keywords. Phrases used in content that make it possible for people to find your website through search engines.
The great thing about SEO for cannabis brands is that you don’t have to pay for high-quality website traffic. Additionally, many of the SEO strategies you’ll deploy have compounding benefits over time.
For example, you’ll create a blog once, but that blog will allow your website to rank for different keywords over time. Natural link building can also occur.
Successful Cannabis SEO: The Essentials
Building a cannabis SEO strategy involves many things. These are the essential pillars, though:
Content is the most critical component of SEO. It’s the driving force behind your website’s ability to rank and attract new customers. Things like blogs, articles, inner website pages, and the words used on the home page are considered content.
If you have a small or boutique company, great content makes it possible to compete with larger brands. Keep in mind, Google primarily relies on the words used on your web pages to index and rank the content. So when it comes to SEO for cannabis companies, the content will drive your SEO results. Without it, your SEO strategies will fall flat.
User experience is critical to ensuring that your website is Google-friendly and will rank. Your website’s ranking will hinge on three essential factors of SEO:
- How long the visitor stays on your website
- If they click around to check out other pages
- If they return to your website
The way your website is designed will impact these SEO factors significantly. If your website uses tiny print that’s difficult to read or is confusing to navigate, you’ll have a tough time attracting and converting customers. Poor website design makes it harder for customers to trust your brand, too.
So, be mindful of your website’s overall design. If it’s designed poorly, people won’t stay there for long, and they won’t interact with your content or sales pages. Investing in great blogs and well-written inner pages will be a waste if your visitors don’t like your website design or can’t find what they’re looking for.
The way your website is structured will also impact its SEO ranking. Ensuring that your website is built for the 21st century is critical for SEO success. A well-built website will help to spark and further cement trust in visitors. Good websites are…
- Mobile-friendly. A mobile-friendly website automatically adjusts to fit the website visitor’s screen, whether they’re on a desktop or a smartphone.
- Secure. Your website should have a current and universally-applied security certificate.
- Fast. Fast load times prevent visitors from becoming frustrated and leaving your site. According to Search Engine Journal, you should aim for three seconds or less.
A few quick tips:
Avoid animations and videos that can severely impact page load times. Fancy menu effects can also hurt load times and distract from your content.
There’s always someone out there willing to cheat the system. In SEO, this is called black hat SEO. These are unethical techniques that some people will use to trick the Google algorithm and get their website to rank quickly. These include things like buying links or plagiarizing high-ranking content.
But Google isn’t dumb, and it does not mess around with cannabis pages.
The search engines are sophisticated enough to figure out that a website is employing black hat tactics to rank. Google has guidelines in place that reward high-quality, helpful content with high rankings on the SERP. When a website uses manipulative tactics to rank, Google will punish the site with buried rankings.
The bottom line is that cannabis brands that put in the time and publish high-quality content will see their website rewarded on the SERPs.
A website’s authority is another significant SEO ranking factor. Google determines a website’s authority based on how trustworthy it is compared to other websites competing for the same types of queries and keywords.
The following factors impact a website’s authority:
- How useful and relevant the content is
- How easy the content can be consumed
- What types of inbound links the website has
Inbound links are links to other websites throughout your content. They can be good or bad for SEO. Inbound links can be black hat, in that they’re used to cheat the Google algorithm. Or they can be links to useful, helpful content and, therefore, beneficial for SEO.
Authoritative, useful inbound links are:
- Links to quality, helpful, and relevant content
- Links that don’t go to another website your company controls
- Link to pages that aren’t soliciting or otherwise asking for payment
How Cannabis Brands Can Improve SEO
SEO is essential for a cannabis company’s success in the age of the Google algorithm. It’s a long-term strategy that requires perseverance, knowledge, and vision. For cannabis startups and established companies, there are only two options for improving SEO and ranking ability. You can do it yourself or use the services of an SEO agency that specializes in working with cannabis companies.
The DIY option
Many brands will consider the DIY option for SEO. It costs less upfront, but it will cost you in time and effort. SEO isn’t something you can learn overnight. Plus, it takes a lot of time to craft SEO content that will rank your website on the SERP.
An SEO Agency for Cannabis Companies
An SEO agency specializing in working with cannabis companies will have the experience you need to see results. This team will understand the unique needs and concerns facing cannabis companies and will know how to get the website to rank quickly, legally, and effectively.
Employing the services of an SEO agency for cannabis brands may cost more upfront. But it will save you in time and frustration that’s often part and parcel of the DIY method.
Start Ranking Your Website Today
How well is your cannabis website ranking?
At Indicative, we specialize in working with cannabis companies to improve their SEO and attract new clients. As a hybrid business consulting and marketing agency, we can analyze and diagnose what’s working for your cannabis website and what’s holding it back.
With our free SEO report, you’ll get much-needed insight into how well your website works and what can be done to improve it.
Get your free SEO report today, and learn how to optimize your cannabis website for the SERP.