Proven Cannabis SEO Tactics For Marijuana Marketing
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 marijuana 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” results.
Cannabis SEO, marijuana SEO, or dispensary SEO are all the same thing. Each tactic allows your website to rank higher in search results pages in order to drive qualified people to your website and convert them into returning customers.
If you’re looking to promote CBD oil without advertising, or wondering how marijuana SEO can help promote your medical marijuana dispensary, this article breaks down 7 actional marijuana SEO tips to add to your marijuana marketing strategy or provide to your marijuana SEO agency.
1. Analyze Existing Organic Search Traffic Before Starting Any Marijuana SEO Strategy
This is my favorite way to get started on a new cannabis SEO strategy. I feel it’s most important to start by analyzing the current search traffic of your cannabis website to identify key user behavior metrics such as:
- How many unique users came to your marijuana 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 marijuana 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 marijuana 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, or create new ones, that aren’t time-sensitive and that won’t become dated, and update them both in terms of on-page content, target keywords, and back-end metadata.
An added bonus to analyzing your organic search traffic and target keywords 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 marijuana or CBD products. This is a vital second step before continuing further.
Marijuana SEO, or any type of 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, marijuana content marketing, and any online marketing, these days, SEO is more so focused on understanding the user’s search intent.
To repeat, keyword research is still vital for any marijuana SEO strategy, but you need more than a list of effective cannabis-related keywords to drive the right 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. People also search differently on mobile devices than they do on desktop/laptop devices, again because of voice search.
It’s super important to understand how your target audience is using search engines in order to implement an effective cannabis SEO strategy.
We recommend lots of testing on how your cannabis SEO optimization strategy affects your organic traffic and start to implement more conversational keyword search terms to your keyword strategy.
3. Marijuana SEO Requires Mobile Optimization
This may sound super obvious but I have seen examples to the contrary. Your marijuana 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. The time spent on smartphones by the entire population increases every year.
Therefore, a new cannabis SEO strategy must include mobile optimization. An effective marijuana 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 marijuana 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. 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 they 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 marijuana SEO plan?
We highly recommend every cannabis, marijuana, and CBD website owner to focus on mobile optimization tactics. Why? Because in the very near future, mobile is going to be the golden key in terms of marijuana 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, marijuana dispensary, or your CBD oils, but did you know that social media helps your marijuana SEO strategy?
The fact is that Google trusts websites that have a high number of shares and other engagement on social media. It’s a proven fact that Google uses this information as an important search engine ranking factor.
Therefore, if you have content on your website’s cannabis product pages, CBD blogs, and other types of marijuana information, that is popular on your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts, it’s possible that Google will index those pages much faster in comparison to 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 your cannabis brand is being talked about by marijuana consumers, and 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, as well as to 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 marijuana & CBD products generated by shares on social media sites does have some relation 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 have some positive impact on 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 marijuana/CBD content in order 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 when it comes to cannabis SEO and website optimization tactics.
Let’s look at a personal example to illustrate why site speed is so important to your marijuana SEO strategy. Do you quickly ignore a website if it takes too long to load?
Regardless if you’re on your laptop or smartphone, most people expect that a website will load immediately, if not within 1-3 seconds maximum.
The average time it takes to fully load the average mobile landing page 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 greatly improve your cannabis website’s SEO plan are to:
- Minimize server response time
- Optimize all images to 150kb-200kb maximum
In order to have an effective cannabis SEO strategy in place for your marijuana business we recommend using a mobile responsive website that is optimized with 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 to build authority, relevance, and trust for your website, which helps your site rank above other cannabis and marijuana-related content.
Authority, relevance, and trust and the three most important Google search ranking factors to focus on when planning your marijuana 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 useful information in the form of relevant blog articles that are valuable to cannabis customers should be part of your cannabis content marketing and marijuana SEO strategies.
7. Boost Your Marijuana SEO With Video Content
How many of your competing cannabis businesses are using video as part of their cannabis marketing plan? If there’s not many, this can be your edge over your competitors and help your marijuana SEO strategy.
Videos are becoming the best way to communicate between your marijuana products and your potential cannabis customers. I bet that most people would be more interested to get information from videos rather than reading it.
This is why we feel that video content has a ton of potential for cannabis marketing and to boost user engagement on your website, which helps your marijuana 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 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 with relevant keywords.
- Optimize the video’s 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 just want high-quality and relevant information and studies show people love video. We’d highly recommend implementing video content on your website and social platforms to improve your marijuana SEO strategy.
Bonus Tip 8. Technical SEO For Cannabis Websites
As a bonus cannabis search engine marketing tip we wanted to include some tips 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 strategically classify your Cannabis content so Google understands exactly 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. 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 when they return the next time time those resources help get them the information faster.
We Can Build Your Marijuana SEO Strategy!
I understand that SEO can be hard to understand and even more challenging to implement especially if you’re not an experienced cannabis and CBD SEO professional.
No worries. The good news is that our cannabis marketing team can help build, implement, and manage your marijuana SEO strategy starting today!
We’re a team of Google Analytics and Google Ads certified search marketing professionals who have been “doing SEO” since 2004. We’ve been implementing successful cannabis SEO strategies since 2017.
If you’d like to improve your cannabis website’s search engine rankings and need help with the marijuana SEO side of things, please contact us now by using the form below.
We’re Ready To Help You Grow!