Gone are the days when posters and friends’ referrals were enough to bring customers to a new business. In today’s world, where almost everything can be found online, your cannabis dispensary cannot afford to stay offline.
But what if your dispensary’s location is already listed on Google, you have social media pages and even a website. Surely that’s enough?
Unfortunately, it’s not. If your dispensary does not show up on the first page of Google search results, chances are it will never be found.
So how exactly can you improve your search engine rankings? And how can you get more traffic to your dispensary with SEO?
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, commonly known as SEO, is the process that makes your site more visible when people ask for information from search engines.
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! do a crawl through millions of pages on the internet. These sites are indexed then analyzed by algorithms to determine their relevance. The ones determined to be the most relevant are then produced as the top results whenever an internet user asks for related information from a search engine.
Why SEO for Cannabis Dispensary?
Many businesses have the option of paying for Google Ads or other search engine ads so their sites are brought to the top when the engine presents results. However, Google and other popular search engines do not yet accept ads for marijuana and marijuana products.
This means dispensary owners have to put in work to get organic rankings, i.e. ranking based purely on the quality of their sites. The process of doing this is through search engine optimization (SEO).
How to Apply SEO to Your Dispensary Business
There are a few ways through which you can improve your site’s ranking.
1. Understand Your Customers
You can’t hope to attract clients if you don’t understand their behavior.
To understand them, you need to check your site’s activity on platforms like Google Analytics. If you don’t already have a GA account, you need to create one immediately.
Note the following activities from visitors to your site:
- Where they’re from
- When they browse your site
- The type of information they seek
- The products they often buy
Conducting this analysis will help you to better understand your current and future clients. Their keyword searches will tell you whether they want particular products, answers to cannabis use questions, guides, or recommendations.
2. Provide Value
Once you understand what your customer base wants, you can go ahead and provide it. If clients frequently search for particular products or even contact your dispensary asking for them, then you should stock your dispensary with these.
Many times, however, cannabis users want guidance and recommendations. Your site will get more traffic if it has the reputation of providing accurate, helpful information, which in turn pushes it to the top of search engine rankings. You basically want to build a real, trustworthy brand.
You can write a blog where you talk about the different cannabis strains and their benfits. Shorter content has more impact, so don’t try to write about every strain in just one blog post.
There is nothing less attractive to site visitors than stale information, so aim to provide timeless information. If something is time-sensitive, make updates as needed.
Expert Tip! Pictures and videos attract traffic since the visual element makes it easier to understand content. Make sure to include:
- Attractive pictures of your products
- Short videos on how to use products from your dispensary
3. Include Relevant Keywords
When conducting a site analysis on Google Analytics, you will see the words internet users type when they look for cannabis products. These are called keywords, and knowing which ones to use in your website’s content is the key to getting more traffic to your dispensary with SEO.
In addition to useful terms, the tools give you information like:
- Volume: how many people have used the words in the past month
- Difficulty: which keywords will boost your rankings if you use them
- Cost per click: the earnings you can expect if visitors purchase from the affiliate links you attach to a keyword
Add relevant keywords naturally in your blogs, and use them in the titles of your videos.
While it might seem like a good idea to use the keywords with the most volume on your site, this puts you in competition with bigger, established sites and push you further down in search engine rankings.
If your site has little to modest traffic, use a mixture of keywords, including the less popular ones. High ranking sites are likely to ignore these, and so your site will be among the first suggested by a search engine when internet browsers use these keywords.
Expert Tip! Since your dispensary likely operates within a limited jurisdiction, put terms that mention your location into the keyword discovery tool, e.g. medical marijuana dispensary [your town]. It’s called local SEO.
4. Don’t Forget Mobile
More often than not, your customers will look for your business online. Search engines like Google understand this, so they rank mobile-friendly websites first. To ensure you’re not left behind, make sure your site is mobile-ready from the get-go.
Mobile readiness should extends to the keywords you use in your content. With the Siri and Google Assistant features built into phones, many people ask rather than type their questions to search engines. This means short-tail keywords aren’t the standard anymore since people make longer sentences when they talk rather than when they type. Keep this in mind when selecting relevant keywords for your content.
5. Optimize Your Site
You might have the right keywords and great content, but internet users will not wait a full minute for your site to load. Many users expect a page to load in 3 seconds, and will back away from a site that takes any longer.
To guarantee you get the traffic you deserve, optimize your site so that it has fast load speed. You can do this by:
- Hosting your site on fast servers.
- If you use images and vides, compress them so they don’t drag your pages
- Get a good web developer who will ensure background scripts don’t slow down load speeds.
Expert Tip! Do this for both the mobile and desktop versions of your site to see great results.
To Sum Up…
In the age of the internet, SEO is the only way to ensure your cannabis dispensary gets more traffic. The process of SEO is not overly complicated, and you can do it yourself quite easily. However, if you want to reduce the trial and error of the process, hire an expert to get more traffic to your dispensary with SEO.