Table of contents
- The Cannabis Industry’s Digital Landscape
- Understanding Cannabis SEO Basics
- The Power of Keyword Research for Cannabis SEO
- Creating SEO-Friendly Cannabis Content
- On-Page and Technical SEO for Cannabis Websites
- Link Building and Cannabis SEO
- Local SEO for Cannabis Dispensaries
- Measuring and Monitoring Cannabis SEO Success
- Challenges and Compliance for the Cannabis Industry
- The Future of Cannabis SEO
The cannabis (aka marijuana) industry in the U.S. has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, but there’s still a lot of room for growth. Entrepreneurs are opening online businesses, and the competition is only increasing. These businesses wage battles for the best ranking with cannabis SEO – search engine optimization geared toward selling cannabis products, services, and solutions. It’s a silent struggle, but every online cannabis business wants its online presence to be the source where users find the products they need.
Starting out, you’ll need to hit the ground running with marketing strategies to help you survive and thrive. Never be afraid to consider professional SEO services that can help your company expand and grow.
The following guide explores the cannabis industry in America through the lens of digital marketing and optimization. We’ll also share our insights about the benefits of SEO for marijuana businesses and what it can help you accomplish.
The Cannabis Industry’s Digital Landscape
At the time of this writing, cannabis has been legalized in 24 states. There are over 300 publicly traded cannabis businesses, more than 5,100 dispensaries, and sales for both medical and recreational will be over $33 billion by 2024. These numbers are only expected to grow.
It’s important to know that “cannabis business” isn’t synonymous with “dispensary”. Restrictions, negative public sentiment, and legalities plague the industry but have also given rise to a variety of business types, such as cannatech, or weedtech.
Cannatech is where tech companies and cannabis businesses intersect. Cannabis-friendly tech companies take a current product, platform, or service and create a version specifically for the industry.
One such solution is point-of-sale systems, specifically designed for cannabis retail, with built-in ID scanners and the ability to verify age quickly. Another provides support through the entire supply chain, from seed to sale, including logistics, sales insights, and payment calendars.
In short, payment solutions, cannabis-focused law practices, specialized e-commerce platforms, and more are growing exponentially. Yet, all this growth has turned the marijuana industry into something akin to the California Gold Rush, providing more opportunity. And more opportunity also means more competition.
This is where SEO, combined with a healthy understanding of the rules and regulations of the industry, can help you muscle in on the competition. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the competitive edge you need to stand out. Here are some important SEO basics to consider.
Understanding Cannabis SEO Basics
What exactly is SEO, and how does it connect with the cannabis business? Search engine optimization is the tool marketers use to make their websites more visible to people and search engines. Marketers know that utilizing SEO is vital to keep customers returning and attract new ones. Website owners also know that when their site ranks higher in the SERPs (search engine result pages), it will attract more traffic to their website from people looking for their products or services.
So, what are the components of SEO? You’ll become familiar with choosing the keywords and phrases people use to search for your product, service, or solution. You’ll also learn to use long-tail and short-tail keywords in balance.
Long-tail keywords are the phrases that people use to search. These phrases are not always high-volume. Content quality is equally important. Will visitors find your content valuable and engaging? Will other websites, bloggers, or influencers be willing to link to your site?
People popularize mobile devices, and local businesses strive to be noticed. Therefore, technical SEO and Google Maps optimization are also important for success. These elements, and many more, can benefit your website’s performance.
The Power of Keyword Research for Cannabis SEO
For a business with an online presence, mastery of keyword research stands as the bedrock upon which successful campaigns are built. This process helps experts understand what potential customers are thinking. We find the exact words and phrases to make a cannabis business appear at the top of search engine results.
To embark on this journey, we employ powerful tools, such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, and the formidable Google’s Keyword Planner. These tools find popular keywords that can bring great value to the business when used skillfully.
Consider, for instance, the potential of keywords like “cannabis products,” “cannabis edibles,” “marijuana accessories,” “cannabis oils,” and “cannabis strains.” These carefully targeted keywords attract potential customers actively seeking these offerings.
In the digital world, using specific keywords and search terms helps marketers succeed by increasing online visibility. By carefully applying keyword research to your marketing and content strategies, you can become a leader in the cannabis industry and establish yourself as an authoritative figure.
Creating SEO-Friendly Cannabis Content
SEO-friendly content is informative and helps customers engage longer. It can attract new visitors and motivate them to return to your web pages again and again. You can help enrich your user’s experience by providing helpful and relevant information.
What kind of content are your visitors looking for? Leafly is an excellent example of how to provide supporting content around the cannabis industry. Not only can you purchase cannabis products, but you can also find a doctor for medical marijuana cards, learn about various strains, how to grow, cannabis science news, and even advocate for legalizing marijuana in the remaining states. It’s practically a one-stop shop for most things cannabis.
- Consider blogging or even creating a how-to guide. Your readers will value new and important industry insights, too. Address any questions or concerns.
- Always be professional. Make sure to provide accurate and truthful content about your industry and products.
On-Page and Technical SEO for Cannabis Websites
There are elements like title tags, headers, and meta descriptions that you’ll become more familiar with in time. They’re extremely important because they reveal what your pages are all about to search engines.
There are technical aspects of SEO to consider, too. These concern things like your website’s speed and mobile-friendliness. On-page SEO helps to improve a website’s content, structure, and overall performance.
Link Building and Cannabis SEO
When another website links to your site, it’s like receiving a vote of confidence. That link connecting with your website tells search engines that your site is valuable enough to link to it. The term “backlink” refers to those outside links that connect to your site. You may not have many initially, but you can encourage them over time.
You can reach out to other authoritative websites within your industry. In turn, you can send links to their site. An excellent way to begin is to join and contribute to industry forums.
There are influential people in the cannabis field who might be willing to write articles for your website with links that lead back to their own. Even though there’s competition, the industry does support itself in numerous ways.
Local SEO for Cannabis Dispensaries
If your cannabis business has a physical address, SEO can be the game-changer you need to drive traffic to your front door. Google My Business, reviews, and local citations can help you appear in far more search results. Keep in mind that people looking for your services are on the go, and it helps when they can search on the spot, find a business listing, and then receive instructions on how to reach that business.
You can also attend community events, host your events, and find creative ways to offer promotions to attract people to your front door. These are good ways to position your dispensary as a valuable part of the community.
Measuring and Monitoring Cannabis SEO Success
A key performance indicator (KPI) helps to track website elements. A KPI can include how much traffic arrives at your site through natural search efforts, how your keywords rank, the percentage of people who visit and click through to other page elements, and the number of conversions. A conversion is when a visitor takes a desired action you’ve designed.
A conversion can be a purchase, submitting a form with contact information, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a particular resource. Your ultimate goal is to help guide visitors into becoming paying customers.
All of these combined actions drive your business growth. There are some reliable tools you can use to monitor how well your SEO strategies perform. A few of the most popular include Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Of course, there are numerous choices for your consideration. Use your data findings to improve.
Challenges and Compliance for the Cannabis Industry
There are a number of challenges that cannabis businesses continue to face. Among them are legal restrictions, regulations, and limitations on what businesses can, or can’t, advertise. However, there are restrictions that any new business will face. For those starting a cannabis business, it’s important to factor in those challenges from the start.
Your efforts to comply online can begin with knowing the state, local, and federal laws that regulate the industry. If you’re out of compliance, it may lead to penalties. You may also lose the right to operate your website.
Work closely with people who understand all the legal aspects of the business. Stay informed about changing regulations and ensure your website content follows current rules.
The Future of Cannabis SEO
The cannabis industry, much like the digital universe, will continually evolve. Be aware of new trends and technologies. Your readers want updates as well. You can encourage readers to adapt to changes and new innovations.
The fact, is no one knows for certain what those changes will bring. So mastering SEO is not just for now; it can help prepare your business for an unknown future. SEO is one sure way to build a strong online cannabis business foundation that will grow and remain competitive now and well into the future.
Starting any online business will come with challenges. An online cannabis business is no different. Your best chance for success will be the SEO strategies your company puts in place. The cannabis industry doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. There will always be new technologies and regulatory changes to consider. Your company must always keep adapting to remain competitive.