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SEO & Digital Marketing

Tips for Optimizing Your Cannabis Website for SEO

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The cannabis playing field is getting even more crowded, and you’ll get lost in the noise unless you use SEO to boost your brand signal

Key Takeaways:

  • Nearly a third of all U.S. consumers can legally access cannabis products
  • More than 55% of them already report making purchases from a specific CBD brand website
  • Blogs are one of the most powerful and efficient ways to utilize SEO to increase search engine ranking and discoverability.

Do not pass Go. The major social media and advertising platforms have strict policies when it comes to advertising opportunities for cannabis products. Meanwhile, consumer demand to know more about these products is exploding, resulting in triple-digit search rate growth.

The ever-changing rules and regulations that surround the industry can make it challenging to reach your audience directly, but you can make sure they find you when they search. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has never been more crucial for cannabis marketers. Here’s what you need to know about cannabis website SEO optimization.

Who are you and how will they know?

Arizona, New Jersey, Montana, and South Dakota recently voted to legalize cannabis which makes cannabis products accessible to nearly one in three people in the U.S.

In states where cannabis dispensaries are legal, your brand will potentially compete with more than 2,000 locations. Less impacted by legality and stigma, CBD products are far more accessible. More than 55% of consumers already report making purchases from a specific CBD brand website.

If you’re not actively creating brand awareness with SEO by optimizing your online presence, you’re falling even further behind.

The ABCs of SEO

SEO can be complex, but it’s not complicated. There are many myths about what it can and can’t do for your cannabis brand – and SEO practices change quickly.

It’s time to make zero assumptions about SEO. There might be key optimization components you’ve overlooked or dismissed, so here are some great places to start.

Pro tip: One of our favorite SEO refreshers about what’s important to know and practice comes from the professionals at Moz.

Know your baseline

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. You surely won’t improve being found if you don’t know where you currently are. This doesn’t have to be super-complicated, and you might be able to distill this foundational measurement down to three key pieces of data:

  1. Unique users viewing your cannabis website from organic search
  2. Top performing pages
  3. Which keywords viewers use to find your content

Extract this information using your Google Analytics account and undertake some pattern detection exercises to uncover what your website’s top 10 to 20 pages have in common. It’s likely you’ll find that blog posts are among the most popular visits to your website. That’s because articles on website blogs are one of the most powerful and efficient ways to utilize SEO to increase search engine ranking and discoverability.

Blog articles about cannabis products:

  • Build authority, relevance, and trust with users – and search engines reward you for this with better rankings
  • Drive qualified organic traffic to your website – and that’s key because you more than likely can’t use paid PPC ads
  • Build lead generation – which you can use as a pipeline that converts prospects into buyers

Your prospects have questions about cannabis. You have answers. Optimized blog articles are the connection.

Understanding “how” as much as “who”

Don’t assume you’ve got keyword search for your cannabis brand nailed because those keywords are obvious. Keyword research tools are often free, and anyone can use them. Have you?

The periphery of those core keywords is the new sweet spot. That’s because SEO today has become focused on user intent. Your cannabis content has to contain the words people use to search for it, but it also must satisfy the purpose of their search.

It’s not just important for those searchers you want to become customers. Search intent has become Google’s top goal. Content containing keywords isn’t sufficient. Content that satisfies the purpose of the search is what matters.

How social media helps, even when you can’t advertise on it

Organic social media (non-sponsored posts – and probably the only type of content you can use) is a highly effective way to support SEO. This is because Google and other search engines trust and suggest websites that enjoy a high number of shares and engagement on social media.

Short and shareable information that leads back to your website is in many ways like link building. It helps Google see you are deemed as trustworthy in your industry. These shares, also called social signals, are viewed by Google as trusted recommendations. The search engine giant insists that social signals are not an official rank factor. Increased attention generated by this visibility is. Social media can amplify your cannabis brand signal and push it through the noise.

General SEO housekeeping remains important

Efforts such as mobile optimization, overall website speed, and increasing video usage continue to contribute to better ranks. Don’t skimp there – especially with the under-the-hood technical aspects, including image compression and alt descriptions, XML sitemaps, and proving that your site is legit with SSL certification.

Consider this to be the sub-foundation under the new foundation you’ll use to measure discoverability when you implement these SEO improvements. Remember that prospects aren’t just searching for the “what” associated with your cannabis brand. They’re searching for the “why.” Communicate it, and both your prospects as well as search engines will hold you in high esteem.

Want to know more about marketing your cannabis brand? Check out our blog Marketing & Cannabis: A Review of Some of the Most Effective Tactics in the Industry.

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