Local Search MarketinG

With so many users opting to use mobile devices when going online, and with the rise of voice search, local search has come to play a larger role in many businesses’ advertising strategy. With that in mind, what can be done for your cannabis dispensary using local search, and how do we go about it?

Google My Business

Google My Business is the first stop for local businesses, allowing you to get yourself listed and ranked in Google Maps. Up until fairly recently, Google lacked a category for dispensaries, meaning that one was forced to select the nearest equivalent categories, such as “Alternative Medicine” or “Medical Centre,” which is not ideal. Fortunately, they have now added the category of Cannabis Store, which is good news for dispensaries, making SEO somewhat easier to manage, and indicating that Google is coming around to trends within the industry. 

Citation Building On Multiple Directories

A citation is when you receive a mention elsewhere on the web, often in directory listings. These can be with Yellow Pages, Bing, or Yelp. Structures citations can be among the most important factors considered when determining your online ranking.

Many directories cover general categories, and as such, will list just about anything imaginable. There are, however, cannabis-specific directories such as WeedMaps, and these can be of much greater benefit to you by attracting an audience that is specifically looking for your services and products, as opposed to those who may be browsing or pursuing other interests in a more generic directory. They may also benefit you if they rank better than your own site.

By being cited in multiple directories—both general listings and niche-specific ones—you will have an easier time ranking in both Google’s map pack and organic searches.

Your On-Page SEO

An important part of your SEO for local ranking will include optimizing your descriptions and tags for local searches. This means including your name and location on your title tags and meta descriptions.

Your site should have unique title tags and meta descriptions on each page. Combined with your citations and your listing in Google My Business, this should get you ranking locally.

Reviews You Can Use

Do you have customers leaving you reviews?

Encouraging your satisfied customers to leave a review on your business can be a big help to you. Two of the most popular places to do so are Google and Yelp, so when you have someone who is particularly happy with your service, encourage them to share it online. These local reviews are having ever-greater impact on ranking, so take advantage of them whenever you can.

More specifically, you should be asking them to specify the cannabis service that they received somewhere in the review. By mentioning the products or services they received, they will be helping to inform Google about other similarly-themed searches under which you should be included.

Building Links

While there may be some debate over the role and impact of links, they do still play a large role in SEO, and that is not expected to change anytime soon. Having more links than your competition will typically mean that you should rank higher than them, though of course there are other factors, and the quality of the inks themselves are important.

Still, this is something to consider.

As a dispensary, an excellent place to start would be to reach out to your contacts, such as doctors who have referred patients to you. Ask them if they are willing to link to your site. These would be quality links that would give you greater credibility and help you in ranking. 

Local SEO is Your Friend

Local SEO is a powerful tool that you should be seeking to take full advantage of. Being in the cannabis business, you will face certain restrictions and difficulties that others will not, such as restrictions on advertising. Paid advertising on Facebook, which would normally be a great boon to you, is unfortunately not available to you right now. Advertising on AdWords takes effort, care, and creativity. Restrictions abound.

Local SEO, therefore, gains importance as one of the ways for you to promote and grow your company.

While it is possible that some of the various companies like Google will come around to the idea of allowing more freedom when advertising cannabis products and services—especially as the market continues to grow at a remarkable pace—it really isn’t advisable to wait for it to happen. Local SEO is an increasingly effective means of advertising for any business, but it is especially so for the cannabis industry, so make sure to include it as an integral part of your advertising strategy.  
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