SEO Tips for Cannabis Companies

SEO, Blogging, Cannabis Marketing

Cannabis is a budding industry throughout the United States– more and more states are relaxing their laws around marijuana. This trend is only expected to continue, as even the most conservative states are already seeing plenty of CBD sales. Some companies are in such a hurry to capitalize on this new industry that they don’t take its specific characteristics into account.

careful business practices for cannabis dispensaries
The best cannabis marketing requires just as much attention to detail as a successful grow operation.

Marketing for cannabis dispensaries and related companies presents two unique challenges:

  1. Since the entire cannabis industry is new in most parts of the United States, people are still warming up to the idea. It takes time for them to figure out which brands they can trust.
  2. There are still legal restrictions on cannabis marketing. These businesses can only use certain media (which may vary by state), and some types of claims are off limits.
psychedelic plant with rigid regulations
This whimsical plant is subjected to uncompromising rules– follow them to help your business thrive.

How Can I Avoid Illegal Cannabis Marketing?

The best way to prevent your business from partaking in illegal cannabis advertising is to understand the law completely, or work with someone who does. This is especially true for people who are opening brand new dispensaries in states that just legalized either medicinal or legal cannabis. If you’re not completely confident in both your ability to advertise and your understanding of the law, contact an experienced cannabis marketer for help.

many words to describe cannabis for SEO
How you talk about cannabis matters. Careless language can damage your brand, and the wrong claims can get you in legal trouble.

How to Write for Cannabis SEO

Your website, along with your social media profiles, is the number one place you can build credibility for your cannabis brand. It’s natural for people to be skeptical when dispensaries first open in their state, and this is your chance to win them over. Focus on educating your readers with informative content. Supporting their quest for knowledge will benefit them, which in turn leads to more visibility and a better reputation for your brand.

finding the best cannabis seeds for growth
Strong SEO grows from good content strategy– start by selecting viable topics.

How Does Writing Affect SEO?

Google is getting good at reading your website. The search engine has a few metrics it uses to measure the value of your content. If your site is almost empty, or is full of fluff pieces, it won’t be able to show up very high on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Fill your site with unique, informative information that’s relevant to the search terms for which you want to show up in the rankings. Over time, you'll be able to see real feedback about whether or not your SEO efforts are successful.

Google Analytics for SEO
Free online tools like Google Analytics provide actionable data about your site's performance.

How to Write a Website for Cannabis Dispensaries

This is one way in which the cannabis industry is just like most others– the best practices for SEO are just about the same. Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to success:

  • Take a Data-Driven Approach – Start by conducting thorough keyword research. Know which words and phrases you rank for already, how your competitors rank, and (most importantly) what your target audience is searching.
  • Analyze Keyword Research for Easy Wins – Consider long-tail search terms in addition to the broader keywords. In fact, it's normally easier to build momentum by starting with these long-tail keywords. Once you can rank for a few niche phrases, it will be easier to go after broader keywords with more traffic and more competition.
  • Use Title Tags and Meta Descriptions – Content is king, but you’ll still need some technical SEO skills. Learn how to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions as part of your SEO Strategy.
  • Write High-Quality Web Copy – Writing just for the sake of putting more words on your website isn’t going to fool anyone, and it won’t fool Google either. Incorporate your target keywords into your web pages while still being useful, informative, and natural. Don’t just stuff your keywords everywhere if they don’t belong.
  • Start a Blog to Answer Common Questions – Part of being relevant is writing about things people want to know. Start a blog to go beyond your core pages like Home, About, Products, and Contact Us. Write detailed pieces that are based on thorough research and easy for the reader to understand.
  • Spelling and Grammar Matter – Google has its own grammar and spellcheck tools, and can hold it against you if your writing is full of problems.
  • Don’t Get Too Complicated, Either – Most sites tend to do better if they’re written at about an eighth grade reading level (about as complex as Harry Potter or To Kill a Mockingbird). People don’t want to work too hard to read your site.
  • Include a CTA – A call to action (CTA) at the end of a page can help the reader know where to go next. Tell them to check out your online store, contact you online, or come visit you in person.

Other SEO Tips for Cannabis Businesses

Local SEO strategy with coffee and computer
Local SEO is a huge deal for dispensaries, especially since their products can't be shipped across state lines.

Even after your website is full of great writing, you’ll need to do a few more pieces to complete your SEO puzzle:

  • Create a Google My Business Profile to make sure you show up in local search results.
  • Add your business to reputable, industry-specific directories like Weedmaps, Leafly, and THCbiz.
  • Use social media to connect with people in your market, including local businesses.
  • List your address and phone number on your website so Google knows where you are.
  • Sign up for Google Analytics, even if you don’t know how to use it at first.
  • Use regular updates to keep your site fresh, even if you’re just adding new blog posts and making minor tweaks.
  • Get reviews, especially from your happiest customers.
  • Use 301 redirects to forward URLs that have been moved or deleted.
  • Use alt tags to optimize your images and make them feed into your overarching SEO Strategy.
pile of cannabis nuggets on table
Alt tags will help with SEO for dispensaries that use lots of visually striking images like this one.

SEO for Cannabis Dispensaries

SEO for cannabis businesses can range from easy wins to complicated processes. Sometimes you’ll be alright with home-grown solutions, but the best work normally comes from professionals. Buddy Gardner has experience working on SEO strategies for some of the biggest dispensaries in the country. Leverage that expertise to help make sure your site is effective, complete, and compliant.

united states flag on cannabis leaf
Know your local cannabis laws to ensure your advertising is compliant.

Missouri Cannabis Marketing Agency

If you’re looking into how to open a dispensary in Missouri, don’t forget about your marketing plan. Modern companies need strong websites to appear reputable, and that’s especially true in trust-driven industries like cannabis. From one Missouri company to another, you can count on us when you need a buddy for your dispensary marketing plan.

Buddy Gardner has cannabis marketing experience all over the United States, and we’re excited to serve as a local source of expertise from St. Louis, MO. Reach out today, and let’s work together to develop smart local SEO that puts your business on the map.

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