By Katherine Wolf, Chief Marketing & Operations Officer, Malek’s Premium Cannabis
What do you get when you type “cannabis brand” into Google? 90,000,000+ search results. Now the question becomes: what can you do to make yours stand out?
Effectively using SEO is an important piece of the puzzle that shouldn’t be overlooked by cannabis brands hoping to drive more revenue by expanding their local customer base. Read on for the scoop on how to do it!
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing a website or piece of content so that it appears towards the top of the page on search engine results. SEO differs from paid advertising because it impacts organic rankings only.
How SEO Works
Search engine bots crawl pages on the internet, going from site to site and collecting information about all its web pages. This info is put into an index, which algorithms analyze to determine the order those pages should appear in results for a given search. Things like content quality, keyword usage, crawlability, and site speed can all impact your SEO rankings.
Understanding Local SEO
If you’re at work and want to order lunch, Googling “sandwiches near me” will give you a list of locations near your office. However, if you made that same search from your home 10 miles away, you’d get entirely different results. This is because Google uses special factors to rank local search results, which include things like:
- The location the user is searching from
- Info in Google My Business listings
- Keywords used in online reviews
You can’t sell your cannabis product if no one knows you have it, which is where local SEO comes in. It helps improve visibility and awareness for your brand by making sure consumers in your area know who you are and what you offer. Any business that has a physical location or serves particular geographic locations can benefit from this strategy!
Why Does Local SEO Matter to Cannabis Brands?
Organic search is the most common way for people to discover online content. In fact, 75% of online searches start on Google and 46% of those searches have local intent. Local searches are highly targeted and timely because users are trying to find a business near them that has what they need at that moment. This leads to faster conversions—72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles, and 88% of users searching for local businesses from a mobile device will call or visit one within 24 hours.
This is especially impactful in the cannabis industry because it’s so competitive! With so many brands and products on the market, consumers have nearly endless choices. By using keywords aligned with what your target audience is searching for and the location your business operates in, you can appear higher on organic search results. This makes it possible for people who are looking for the types of products and/or services you offer can actually find you, connect with your brand, and ultimately make a purchase.
How to Use SEO to Drive Local Business to Your Cannabis Brand
Now that you have a better understanding of what local SEO is, how it works, and why it’s so crucial, how can you implement an effective strategy in your own cannabis business? Here are a few tips.
Optimize Your Google My Business Account
Having an accurate, optimized Google listing is one of the most effective ways to rank higher on Google Maps and in Google Search local results. Ensure your listing has the most up-to-date information, including your logo, hours of operation, acceptable payment methods, the product or service you sell, and plenty of images. Some other tips include encouraging your customers to review your business online, responding to those reviews, and publishing posts (such as new product announcements, community events, and special offers) to your Business Profile.
Local Keywords & Location Pages
Conduct keyword research and create a list of locally relevant keywords that you want to target and rank for. There are numerous free online tools that can help with this! Once you have your list, be sure to include those keywords in your website’s copy, meta content, URLs, image alt tags, and more.
You’ll especially want these keywords on your location pages, which are a must if your business has more than one location, whether it be numerous locations in one state or nationwide. If you only have one location, you can still include any relevant local information on your “About Us” or “Contact Us” page. At a minimum, these pages should include:
- Store name and address
- Hours of operation
- Phone number
- Individualized descriptions
You also may want to include additional information like reviews and testimonials, any promotions or special offerings at that location, and parking availability. Essentially, you want to provide as much helpful information as possible, making it more convenient for a customer to find and get to your local business over others.
Online Business Directories
Online business directories include websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, but there are numerous sites specific to the cannabis industry, such as Leafly and WeedMaps. Being in these kinds of directories helps boost brand awareness, expand your customer base, and improve local SEO visibility. Your company listing should include the following basics:
- Accurate business name, address, and phone number
- Hours of operation
- A backlink to your website
- A thorough description of your business and what it offers
Optimize for Mobile
With 90% of smartphone users making local searches off their mobile devices, it’s crucial that your website is optimized for mobile. For example, if a user searches “infused joints near me” and lands on your website, but it takes too long to load or doesn’t clearly present the info they’re looking for, they’ll simply exit out and try the next link.
Here are a few simple ways to optimize your site for mobile:
- Use a mobile-optimized theme with a thumb-friendly design
- Include a clear navigation menu
- Improve loading speed by optimizing images and code
- Remove excess plugins and pop-ups on the mobile version of your site
Level Up Your Cannabis Brand With Local SEO
We all know cannabis is one of the most competitive industries right now, but with an effective local SEO strategy, you can help your brand stand out in the clutter. May the search results be in your favor!
Katherine Wolf is the Chief Marketing & Operations Officer at Malek’s Premium Cannabis, crafting small-batch, flavor-focused cannabis out of Denver, Colorado. Check out unique strains designed to provide the best quality, taste, and overall smoking experience on our Instagram and website.
Discover more cannabis marketing content and visit CMA’s blog.
For more information on becoming a member of Cannabis Marketing Association, visit our membership page.