Proven Cannabis SEO Tactics For North American Market
Search engine optimization for cannabis companies is one of the best digital marketing tactics to grow brand awareness, boost search engine rankings, and increase qualified website traffic. Do you have a cannabis SEO strategy as part of your cannabis marketing plan?
If not, you’re missing out on free organic website traffic and potential cannabis customers.
Wikipedia says Cannabis SEO is the process of affecting and influencing the online visibility of a cannabis-related website or landing page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” marks.
Cannabis SEO, cannabis SEO, or dispensary SEO are all the same thing. Each tactic allows your website to rank higher in search results pages to drive qualified people to your website and convert them into returning customers.
Suppose you’re looking to promote CBD oil without advertising or wondering how cannabis SEO can help boost your medical cannabis dispensary. In that case, this article breaks down seven actional cannabis SEO tips to add to your cannabis marketing strategy.
1. Analyze Existing Organic Search Traffic Before Starting Any Cannabis SEO Strategy
This is my favourite way to get started on a new cannabis SEO strategy. I feel it’s most important to begin by analyzing the current search traffic of your cannabis website to identify key user behaviour metrics such as:
- How many unique users came to your cannabis website from organic search?
- Which pages are the most popular/top-performing?
- What keywords are cannabis consumers using to find your content?
You can find this cannabis SEO data by dipping into your website’s Google Analytics account. If you don’t have Google Analytics code implemented on your website, you should get it done asap so you can track your website data.
Once you have this information, you can then analyze your top 10 website pages to see what they all have in common.
Find your best blog posts that educate people on the health benefits of CBD oil, the origins of the cannabis plant, or the different types of cannabis strains you sell, and see what they have in common.
It could be things like the:
- quality of the content
- length of the content
- number of images and or other media included in each post
- on-page SEO optimization strategy used to optimize those posts.
If this is the case, find other posts, create new ones that aren’t time-sensitive and won’t become dated, and update them both in on-page content and back-end metadata.
A bonus to analyzing your organic search traffic to improve your cannabis SEO strategy is that the data gleaned from this analysis can also help you update your social media content calendar with topic ideas that are more relevant to your audience.
2. Cannabis SEO Requires Understanding How Users Search
A Cannabis SEO professional should understand how pot users search when they’re actively looking for cannabis or CBD products. This is a vital second step before continuing further.
Cannabis SEO, or any search engine optimization, has always included keyword research. There are many free keyword research tools anyone can use when doing cannabis SEO. Use the tools – never assume you know the words people use.
However, SEO has changed drastically over the years and while keyword research is still super important for cannabis SEO and cannabis content marketing, but these days, SEO is more so focused on understanding the user’s search intent.
To repeat, keyword research is still vital for any cannabis SEO strategy. Still, you need more than a list of effective cannabis-related keywords to drive the correct type of traffic to your cannabis website.
A truly effective and long-term SEO strategy should be based on a cannabis or CBD user’s search intent and the reasoning behind every search they make. For real.
The way people search these days is much more dynamic and “long-tail” than in years past. Especially with the introduction to “voice search” on our smartphones.
People search differently today than they did before. But, again, people also search differently on mobile devices than on desktop/laptop devices because of voice search.
Understanding how your target audience uses search engines to implement an effective cannabis SEO strategy is essential.
We recommend lots of testing on how your cannabis SEO optimization strategy affects your organic traffic and implementing more conversational keyword search terms to your keyword strategy.
3. Cannabis SEO Requires Mobile Optimization
I have seen examples to the contrary. Therefore, your cannabis SEO plan must include a mobile responsive, mobile adaptive, and mobile-optimized website.
Cannabis customers, in particular, spend a ton of time on their phones. Moreover, the time spent on smartphones by the entire population increases every year.
Therefore, a new cannabis SEO strategy must include mobile optimization. An effective cannabis SEO is about understanding the ‘mobile consumers’ and how their searching habits differ when they are on the go comparing to a desktop/laptop user.
If you’re not convinced, think about how you search if you’re in a hurry and need to find a cannabis dispensary near you asap.
You’re likely going to be on your phone, and if the dispensary’s website isn’t mobile-friendly, you hit the back button and go to a competing dispensary.
Google’s Mobile Indexing
Google knows and has reported that more search traffic comes from mobile devices than desktop/laptop machines. This is because mobile users are all over search platforms like Google and Bing.
Google has already stated that they are going for mobile-first indexing, and they have already started the process. This means the index for mobile responsive websites first.
So cannabis websites that aren’t mobile-friendly will not show up on mobile searches – searches done on mobile phones. See why a mobile-friendly website is essential to your cannabis SEO plan?
We highly recommend every cannabis, marijuana, and CBD website owner focus on mobile optimization tactics. Why? Because very shortly, mobile is going to be the golden key in terms of cannabis SEO.
Look at it this way, your current and potential customers are actively searching for information on your cannabis and CBD products on their smartphones, right? That’s only going to increase in the years to come.
4. Social Media Improves Cannabis SEO
We all know that organic social media is one of the best ways to promote your cannabis store, cannabis dispensary, or your CBD oils, but did you know that social media helps your cannabis SEO strategy?
The fact is that Google trusts websites that have a high number of shares and other engagements on social media. Moreover, it’s proven that Google uses this information as an essential search engine ranking factor.
Therefore, if you have content on your website’s cannabis product pages, CBD blogs, and other types of cannabis information popular on your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts, Google may index those pages much faster thanthan other pages.
When your cannabis or CBD content gets shared on social media, this produces something known as “social signals,” and Google picks up on this.
Social signals indicate that cannabis consumers are talking about your cannabis brand. This improves your website’s search engine ranking because Google views these social signals as trusted recommendations.
For any cannabis SEO professionals reading this article and any cannabis marketing newbies, we’re not saying that social signals are an official Google search rank factor because they are not.
However, the increased visibility of your cannabis & CBD products generated by shares on social media sites does relate to an increase in search rankings.
Even though Google says that social signals and social media shares aren’t a ranking factor, that doesn’t mean that social signals don’t positively impact search rankings.
According to 2016 white paper report from Searchmetrics titled Rebooting Ranking Factors White Paper:
“The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high, and the number of social signals per landing page has remained constant when compared to with the values from last year’s whitepaper. … The top-ranked websites in Google’s rankings displays
vastly more social signals than all other pages…. This is primarily due to the overlap between brand websites performing strongly in social networks and being allocated top positions by Google.”
We highly recommend using social media to share popular, high-quality, and relevant cannabis/CBD content to help your overall cannabis SEO strategy.
5. Optimize Site Speed & Page Load Time
Mobile site speed and page load time are two interconnected factors that are often ignored in cannabis SEO and website optimization tactics.
Let’s look at a personal example to illustrate why site speed is essential to your cannabis SEO strategy. Do you quickly ignore a website if it takes too long to load?
Regardless of whether you’re on your laptop or smartphone, most people expect a website to load immediately, if not within 1-3 seconds maximum.
The average time it takes to load the average mobile landing page entirely is 22 seconds.
However, research also indicates 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Remember that we live in a world of 4G and 5G internet speed.
Some of the quick and easy ways to optimize your site speed that will significantly improve your cannabis website’s SEO plan are to:
- Minimize server response time
- Optimize all images to 150kb-200kb maximum
To have an effective cannabis SEO strategy for your cannabis business, we recommend using a mobile responsive website optimized for 1-2 second page load times.
6. Blogging Best Way To Improve SEO and Increase Rankings
Did you know that blog writing for your cannabis website is one of the best cannabis search marketing tactics you can use to improve your website’s search engine rankings?
Implementing optimized blogging into your cannabis content marketing plan helps you build authority, relevance, and trust for your website, which helps your site rank above other cannabis and cannabis-related content.
Authority, relevance, and trust and the three most important Google search ranking factors to focus on when planning your cannabis SEO strategy because it’s this type of content that will get ranked on page 1.
SEO optimized blog content that shows up on page 1 will increase your cannabis brand’s awareness and drive highly qualified traffic to your website.
The better quality blogs you write, the more are the chances of the user staying on your website.
Providing helpful information in relevant blog articles that are valuable to cannabis customers should be part of your cannabis content marketing and cannabis SEO strategies.
7. Boost Your Cannabis SEO With Video Content
How many of your competing cannabis businesses are using video as part of their cannabis marketing plan? If there are not many, this can be your edge over your competitors and help your cannabis SEO strategy.
Videos are becoming the best way to communicate between your cannabis products and your potential cannabis customers. However, I bet that most people would be more interested in getting information from videos rather than reading it.
This is why video content has a ton of potential for cannabis marketing and boosts user engagement on your website, which helps your cannabis SEO strategy.
As we can see from Instagram marketing, your potential customers may quickly run through a 1-minute video but may not have the patience to read your 500-1000 word article.
So how big is an online video for cannabis marketing?
Here are a few actionable cannabis SEO tips to optimize your video content:
- Update the titles and descriptions on all your videos using relevant keywords.
- Optimize the video’s an audio and video quality, as well as graphics and images.
- Integrate videos into the rest of your site content.
You may feel that video content marketing can be expensive to produce, but that’s not the case. Your target audience is not looking for big, blockbuster, Hollywood-style production.
Your potential customers want high-quality and relevant information, and studies show people love video. Therefore, we’d highly recommend implementing video content on your website and social platforms to improve your cannabis SEO strategy.
Technical SEO Tips For Cannabis Websites
As a bonus cannabis search engine marketing tip, we wanted to include some information on technical SEO and how to optimize your site for top performance:
- Compress and optimize your images to increase your site speed.
- Use website UX analytics tracking tools like Google Analytics to identify how users interact with your site and where they drop off.
- Make sure your site is crawlable by creating an XML sitemap and submitting that sitemap to both Google and Bing.
- Use structured data or schema markup to classify your Cannabis content strategically, so Google understands precisely how to index your site’s pages and blog posts.
- Limit the number of resources & HTTP requests. Each time a website loads, a call is made to the server to access the appropriate site files. Therefore, rapid, multiple requests always slow down a server.
- Use browser caching on your site. This will automatically save resources on a visitor’s device, so those resources help get them the information faster when they return the next time.