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Local SEO for Cannabis Dispensaries: 4 Critical Techniques to Attract Nearby Customers

by | May 7, 2024 | Blog

Local SEO for Cannabis Dispensaries: 4 Critical Techniques to Attract Nearby Customers

By Duffy Graham, SEO Account Manager at NisonCo


Search engine optimization (SEO) might seem like a technique that’s only useful for online businesses, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. 


Brick-and-mortar cannabis businesses that rely on in-person shopping, like dispensaries and smoke shops, can boost their sales with local SEO


I’ve worked as both a dispensary manager and a cannabis SEO professional, so I have witnessed how important local SEO is from both perspectives. I want to share the top four local SEO techniques I always employ, whether for my own company or a client.

What are the Benefits of Local SEO for Cannabis Businesses?

Local SEO refers to a set of SEO techniques that make your business more visible to people searching in your geographic area. These simple techniques can help your company in several ways:

  • Increase local traffic through more visibility on platforms like Google Maps
  • Raise search rankings for your targeted keywords and phrases
  • Enhance consumer relevance to make your site more engaging

Gain a competitive edge over local competitors who are not leveraging local SEO



1.  Do Cannabis Keyword Research to Optimize Your Website for Local Consumers

The first step in any cannabis company’s SEO strategy is keyword research


Start by refining your focus to understand your ideal customer’s preferences. Consider their general consumption habits and specific local needs. Which neighborhoods are you targeting? What specific brands and products are popular in your area?


It’s also important to research trends related to your business type. What terms are your potential customers using when searching for products like yours? Are they looking for the “best dispensary in [your city]” or perhaps “edibles for anxiety”?


Analyzing competitors’ keywords is a helpful starting point that provides a benchmark for your keyword strategy. Identifying what keywords they are targeting can help you find gaps in their strategies and explore areas they may have overlooked.


It is crucial to focus on long-tail keywords like “best edibles for sleep in [your city].” These terms are less competitive and often indicate a high intent to purchase, making them highly valuable for targeting potential consumers.


Finally, it is vital to embed local identifiers—such as cities, neighborhoods, and regional slang—into your keyword strategy. These terms connect your business directly to your community, enhancing your visibility to local consumers searching for cannabis options nearby.


2.  Implement Dispensary Keyword Research to Elevate Your Web Presence

Once you have compiled a list of the keywords and phrases you will target, you can begin implementing your research. 


Integrate your keywords into your website naturally. Don’t simply insert as many keywords as possible (known as “keyword-stuffing”); this makes websites frustrating for potential customers to navigate and can even hurt your SEO ranking


Consider creating location-specific landing pages and optimized content, like blogs, to appeal to precise locations within your service area. 


It’s not just about the content that your customers see, either. You will also need to use your keyword research to optimize technical elements of your site, including meta titles, descriptions, and alt tags.


Keep in mind that SEO is not a one-and-done solution. You must run tests, monitor results, and make adaptations based on what works. It can take several months to see results from each iteration of your SEO strategy. Even the most carefully devised strategy must be updated regularly to keep up with changing consumer trends. Maintaining your site’s SEO can be a lot of work, so if this sounds intimidating, you can always work with a cannabis SEO agency that manages each implementation stage. 


3.  Leverage Local Keyword Research to Meet Local Product Demand

Your keyword research and SEO experimentation should have given you a good idea of your region’s most popular cultivars and products. Now, you can stock and promote those products on your website and social channels. Keep current on what customers want, and cater your inventory to local trends. 


Location-specific content is also helpful in creating an effective local SEO strategy. Your content should be relevant to your customers. What platforms are most popular in your area? What topics are people in your city discussing? What products are most popular?

By this point, you’ve likely collected a fair amount of data on your customer’s preferences and which local SEO strategies work best for your business. You or the SEO firm you’ve partnered with can leverage this information to create data-driven product promotions tailored to your clientele.



4.  Utilized Google My Business for Cannabis Business Wins

Google My Business (GMB) is one of the single most important local search ranking factors. GMB can help enhance your visibility in local search results, and the traffic is exceptionally high-value; about 5% of GMB clicks result in a website visit, call, or direction request


Nearly 65% of consumers use GMB to find business contact information, so it’s essential to ensure that your GMB profile is up-to-date, accurate, and optimized. You should update your profile regularly to ensure correct information and maintain an engaging, trustworthy, and relevant brand image. 


GMB doesn’t have to be just a repository of business information, either. The Q&A and reviews sections can be great places to connect with potential customers. They also provide a good opportunity to optimize your GMB profile using the keyword research you have already performed to increase your visibility even more.




Partner with a Cannabis SEO Agency to Find Local Success

It is possible to do local SEO on your own. However, SEO is a lot of work to research and maintain, and I know from experience that dispensary operators have a lot on their minds. 


For a seamless SEO strategy with minimal effort, you should consider partnering with an SEO agency specializing in the cannabis industry, like NisonCo. We can teach you about local SEO as we work through the process on your behalf. 

For a free SEO audit or to learn more about our services, contact NisonCo today.




About Duffy Graham:

Duffy joined NisonCo as an Account Manager in 2023. He assists clients by crafting practical SEO strategies tailored to their industry-specific needs. After years of harnessing SEO to operate profitable businesses, Duffy now strives to achieve measurable success for his clients.


Duffy’s professional journey began in California’s medical dispensaries during the Prop 215 era. Over the span of a decade, his dispensary management career took him through several states, where he gained deep insights into the cannabis industry. This experience equipped him with the ability to navigate rapidly changing and heavily regulated industries.


When he’s not optimizing SEO strategies, Duffy enjoys playing video games, exploring the outdoors through hiking, and visiting local cafés.


About NisonCo: NisonCo is a media, internet and content marketing agency deeply rooted in advocacy. NisonCo is America’s oldest cannabis PR firm and was established in 2013 with an emphasis on harm reduction and cannabis legislation. As leaders in public relations for the emerging cannabis, CBD, and hemp space, NisonCo’s team is passionate about creating and maintaining a positive image for the industry. Access NisonCo’s free, resource-rich blog here and connect with them here.


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.

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