The cannabis industry is growing in the United States, especially as states relax their laws around marijuana. We hear two things from dispensaries:
It's hard to find a reputable digital marketing agency that isn't shady.
There are still restrictions on cannibis marketing which can make selling products and getting found online difficult and expensive.
The first point is easy to understand and it's true for a lot of industries but what makes some dispensary SEO companies seem shady has a lot to do with being able to charge a high price in a small industry. Price gouging is a thing, even in our industry.
Many dispensaries rely on Local SEO and SEO in general for their marketing because the other options are limited. Sure, you can use WeedMaps but that can't be your entire marketing strategy. There are limitations around what platform you can put your business on and where you can legally sell your products online. So, even with SEO, you need to get a little creative. That's why we put together a list of SEO tips for dispensaries.
Cannabis SEO Tips
As experienced digital marketers, we do our research. And as knowledgable marketers who happen to have clients in the cannabis industry, we understand the laws - so the following tips are 100% legal and many of them are easy to implement.
#1 Get Your House in Order
We don't mean your actual house but much of SEO still revolves around how your website functions, so audit each webpage (and the site as a whole!) to look for areas of improvement and places that create barriers to SEO success from a technical and contextual standpoint. You don't want someone getting to a 404 page (page not found) nor do you want the search engine algorithms to exclude a webpage for not having appropriate metadata, alt text for images, and topical consistency.
#2 Who is Your Target Audience?
Listen, this might be tough to hear but your target audience isn't everyone. Not everyone wants what you sell - and that's true for every industry. So, think about who comes into your dispensary and
Include information on how they respond to tone and voice along with various ways to grab their attention and connect with them.
#3 Educate Your Consumers
Millennials get a bad wrap because they research the hell out of everything but, outside of Boomers, they are the largest population group at the moment. They are also the generation with the most anxiety and are in need of a release (we're speaking from experience, here!) - so use that to your advantage. Even Gen Z doesn't like to randomly walk into a store without knowing what's available and what the differences are in product. We all like to arm ourselves with knowledge before ordering anything - even carryout. So build out educational content like:
Brands You Sell & Their Differences
The Differences in Products
How Different Strains can Help with Different Issues
Gummies vs. Vaping vs. Smoking vs. Edibiles
How In Store Pick Up Works
How Delivery Works
CBD vs CBG
The more you educate your consumer, the most they start to trust you. Additionally, you'll cut down on questions that might clog up your customer service #.
#4 Write for Humans but with SEO in Mind
In our industry, it's common knowledge that the more content you have, the more keywords you'll rank for - which means you'll have more website traffic over time. But we say this a lot on TikTok... please write your content for humans. Anything written on and off your site is an extension of your brand, so use the right tone and voice but don't keyword stuff. Do your keyword research, plot out your keywords in advance, and then write for your target consumer. As long as you cover your SEO bases (from a compliance standpoint), the rest will follow in suit.
#5 Local SEO is Your Friend
Selling weed online is hard. Marketing your cannabis business online doesn't have to be. Invest in Local SEO efforts by ensuring you have a presence on Google Maps with a verified Google Business Profile listing (you can also port that over to Bing for Places). Make sure your business' physical address listed in Google is the same on your website, WeedMaps, Facebook, and any other platforms you placed your business on. Additionally, look into a citation subscription through Whitespark or BrightLocal so you can move up on the map listing.
#6 Scope Out Your Competition
There are no less than 3 dispensaries near our office and there's a decent chance you have competition, too! Have you spied on them online? You need to do more than stalk their website. Use a tool like SE Ranking to see how your competition is doing online. You can view their domain as a whole or a specific URL. It'll help you understand the keywords they rank for, where they are showing up in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), and even if they are running ads.
#7 Get Help with Your SEO
Most of our clients already know this but working with an SEO company you can trust makes a huge difference in how you do business online. There are a lot of SEO agencies out there and there are some dedicated specifically to the cannabis industry - we're not that company. We don't specialize in any industry because we don't like cookie cutters. We like to learn about the individual business and build a marketing plan that matches the business needs. So, if you're looking for help with your dispensary SEO, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with us to learn how we can help.