Although SEO seems at first glance to be a fairly simple thing, it is actually quite involved, and requires experience to get it right. Even once the basics are understood, Google has a habit of continually changing and updating their algorithms, requiring marketers to change and evolve to keep up.
It’s not too surprising then, that in the emerging cannabis industry, many are having some difficulty learning how to leverage search engines for digital marketing purposes.
Here are some tips to help you with your cannabis dispensary SEO.
Get Your Google My Business Page
One great way to become instantly more visible is to claim your Google My Business page. This is your listing in Google’s database. Free to set up, your page will help you to get featured in local searches for your products and services. Not only that, it will have you appear in Google Maps, helping to literally bring customers to your door.
Your Google My Business page displays all your vital information, like phone numbers, address, and Google rating. Add some images, as well. Businesses with images receive 35% more click-throughs than those without. They also receive 42% more requests for driving directions. Do not overlook this effective visual option to get a significant boost.
Create a Dispensary Blog
This may be something that you have already started, and if so, keep it up! Having a steady flow of new content is a great way to boost your online performance. Google and other search engines try to provide their users with up-to-date content. If you are continually posting new, current, relevant information, it is more likely to be suggested in related searches.
Try to include at least one or two long-tailed keywords in your written content. Build your posts around topics that matter to your audience. The best way to get attention is to provide useful information, answer questions, and solve problems.
Learn and Apply Best Practices.
There are certain attributes that should be a standard part of every web page or blog post that you create. Keep these in mind when developing content:
Keywords. You should make sure that each page is optimized for at least one keyword. That keyword should be used in the H1 tag, meta description, and, obviously, the text of the page or post.
Headings. Following your H1 tags, your page’s headlines should follow up logically with H2 and H3. When they fit naturally, include your keywords in these tags.
Image Alt Tags. Google is not displaying as many image results as page results. Image alt tags let search engines know what images are about. They are also useful to those using screen-reading technology.
Meta Descriptions. These are brief descriptions that tell search engine users what is on a given page without them needing to click. Include your keywords if at all possible.
Title Tags. These tags tell search engines what the title of your page is. While the title is usually the same as your H1 tag, it is not always the case.
URLs. Your URLs are basically the addresses on your web pages. They should be clean and simple. You might want to consider using canonical URLs for each of your pages.
Site Structure. Your site should have a clean, logical structure. Make sure your navigational menu is simple and easily understood. Be sure that you submit your sitemap to Google Search Console.
Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
Never overlook the effect of a good review; 91% of people read online reviews, with 84% placing their trust in customer reviews. Don’t let the fear of a negative review keep you from making use of this excellent resource. You will need to claim your business on review sites to do so.
An easy way to encourage reviews is to capture email addresses at the point of sale. You can then set up automated emails that encourage your customers to rate you on Google, Yelp, and elsewhere. You can also benefit from including links in your blogs that lead to your reviews.
Get Your Business Listed in Reputable Cannabis Directories
This is a vital part of your strategy. Directories will provide referral traffic to your site, and may also increase foot traffic, call volume, and other business opportunities. Many will also provide a backlink to your website. Having inbound links from authority sites help search engines view you as trustworthy.
Many paid directories exist as well, but you will have to do some investigating to see if they provide a good return on your investment. Still, get listed in as many authoritative directories as you can manage. The inbound links to your site will prove helpful to your SEO. Just be sure to keep your data accurate in these directories. If there are inaccuracies or inconsistencies, it can prove harmful to your SEO.
Review Your Strategy
SEO is important to your business, but is something that functions long-term, and thus requires adjustment and refinement on occasion. Fortunately, you can go back to pages you have already made and adjust them as needed.