Marketing and SEO for Cannabis Companies

Introduction to the legal cannabis Industry

In 2018 the Canadian government passed legislation which legalized the consumption of marijuana recreationally.  June 2018 was when the legislation was passed and October was when it came into effect.  From then on the government has been legalizing different cannabis products.  Most recently the government has legalized edible cannabis products.

Since legalization, the government has been granting different shops the licenses to sell this drug in retail.  But with so many different options for buyers to choose from, how can you ensure that they choose your location?  Well with the internet being the main place people go to look up locations, it is important to maximize your presence online.  One of the best ways to do this is with search engine optimization or SEO for short.

What is Cannabis and Marijuana SEO?

With there being so many stores in populus areas selling marijuana, the number at which you rank on google can make or break whether people visit your shop or a competitor.  SEO as suggested by the name, aims to optimize listings on search engines.  This means when someone searches for the keywords cannabis, or marijuana in your city, you will rank higher than the competition.

SEO for a cannabis store or company is much different than say a restaurant.  Because the introduction and legality of the product is so new, instead of focusing on mere keywords, the focus is shifted to developing reliability and trustworthiness.  Developing trustworthiness and authority on the internet is not an easy task.  There are 8 steps that can be taken in order to increase online authority and boost ranking in local listings.

1) Create a my business google page

Creating a page on google is one of the most simple steps that opens up a variety of doors for your business. Once creating a business page, customers have the ability to review you, as well as find you on maps. Additionally, you can check your own analytics.

2) Gather reviews

Once your google my business account is public, customers will be able to review the experiences that they have had with your establishment. Once reviews come flooding in they will show potential new customers that you are a good business. That isn’t the only thing google reviews are good for though, the many Google reviews will show the Google algorithms that people are interested in your location and will recommend it more often to users.

To learn more about what reviews can do for your cannabis business, check out this other article. (link to local view)

3) Social media

Social media is one of the largest search engines.  While that may not seem the case, with billions of reachable users business reach is vast.  You can use your facebook page as a way to attract new customers and direct them back to your website.  Social media allows for another angle as well, advertising.  You can advertise on facebook’s platform in an extremely targeted way.  Check out what you can do with facebook ads here.

4) List your address and phone number on your website

Listing your address and phone number on your site opens so many doors.  Sharing information so consumers don’t have to search far will benefit you in the long run.  Additionally, with your information posted, google will use it to recommend your business to searchers.

5) Add your business to local directory listings

Cannabis thrives on the internet. Your business can’t miss an opportunity to be featured! There are so many other directories than just google. Weedmaps is an extremely popular and trusted site that you should look into getting listed on. With this step, it is crucial to remember that you should only list your business on other reputable listing sites.

6) Have a blog

Having a blog on your site can be a real game changer… if you execute it properly. You can publish content relevant to your marijuana niche. If you specialize in the edibles industry, you can create articles that discuss information that would intrigue your buyers. Publish controversial, original content to facilitate conversation in the community. Be open to suggestions and interact with readers.

7) Onsite SEO

With blog writing of any kind, onsite seo is necessary.  It can be as small as inserting a few key words or managing for snippet optimization.  Regardless of the scale, SEO is essential to promoting your business online.  As a business who relies on local traffic, local SEO is where you should be focusing most of your time; ensuring that you show up in keyword searches followed by the city.  So what does good SEO look like?

  • Effective Keywords
  • Proper Title Tags (the tags that show up on window tabs)
  • Structured Header Tags
  • Contextual Information for Pictures and Images
  • Clean Content Layout and Structure
  • Named URL
  • Error Pages
  • Quality Webpages

8) Google analytics

You can use Google analytics to monitor your website and business success. Use google analytics to advertise on certain keywords. Also use analytics to target different searches. If someone is searching for back pain remedies and you are a medical marijuana company, throw an ad into that search.

Components of Cannabis SEO

SEO does not refer to one component of business rather a marriage of many elements. The following are just a few of the more common components that are captured by the flame of SEO.

Keywords

Keywords in online content are what search engines use to match articles to search queries.  Remain focused on a few select keywords rather than trying to cover as many keywords as you can. 

 Pro tip: SEO does not benefit from an overload of keywords.  Focus on quality content rather than using your keyword as much as you can.

Website Layout

If your website is hard to navigate, your business will not prosper. when a website is confusing and difficult to navigate, customers aren’t excited to spend time on your page. Laying out your web pages in a way that is convenient to navigate will in turn maintain user attention and increase conversions.

User experience

To couple with website layout, there is user experience.  You need to provide content that is legible and readable.  These two aspects include font style, size, colour, along with the colour of the page itself.  If you want tips on enhancing user experience, take a look at this article.

Images

Holding reader interest is hard, make it easier by adding visuals. Images are a great way to break up big chunks of content. You can also use images of your product to entice consumers to read on and find out what they are seeing.

Writing style

Keep your language relatively simple, overly complex sentences will limit user experience and hurt your interaction rates. Don’t try to complicate your information. SEO doesn’t involve increasing complexity of content.

Article length

The average top ranking on google is over 2000 words. This length does not automatically mean you will rank better, but what it does mean is that the more indepth and complete your content is, the better it will do. If you write a single article to cover everything on a topic, it will rank better than three articles on different parts of a single topic.

Mobile optimization

60% of online searches are done mobily. One mistake companies make is to focus too much on their desktop site. Most people use their cellphones much more than their desktops. As a cannabis company, this number is critical to your conversion rates. Take an extra second to look at the layout and functionality of your mobile site! Ensure that the mobile site is up to standards or even higher.

Why do you need SEO for a marijuana Company?

Why do you need SEO help though? You need to focus a big part of your energy into the maintenance and construction of the site. Seeing as the Cannabis or Marijuana industry is still relatively new in Canada and the United States, it is really a race to the top. There are so many competitors and SEO gives companies the edge they need to reach and stay at the top of the market above competition. Because there are laws banning the paid advertisement of marijuana to the general public (much like the tobacco industry where there are strict regulations), the free market that is the internet, is where you need to focus. The other difficult position cannabis companies are in is the fact that there is an option for home growth. Once people start growing at home, there is another dimension of competition that cannot be controlled. Starting SEO early will provide a strong company base and initial step to leap off of and weed out competitors.

Before Getting Started

Now I know you’re excited to get going, however there are a few things to know before the process begins.  Before we even begin to look at what we can do to improve the website discoverability, we need to gauge what we are working with.  This is where a website SEO audit comes into play.  At 23e2, we will survey the positives and negatives about your site and then determine what needs to be altered.  What we are specifically looking for during the audit is where we can provide you a better idea of why certain aspects on your site are not performing the way that they should be.  During the audit we start with the foundation of your site working through all the way to surveying competitors.

After we complete the audit we can go ahead with the best course of action plan for you!  Want to find out more? Contact 23e2 digital marketing agency with the form, phone number or email at the bottom of the site.

How Long does SEO for a Cannabis Company Take?

SEO is not a one and done process.  A very important component of SEO is consistency, consistently keeping your website up to date and adding new and editing old content.  Social posting and monthly reporting are also two areas of SEO that have no determined time length.  For these reasons, a full SEO process can take months.  With that being said your results will reflect the amount of effort that you put into the website.

Cannabis SEO and marketing

What can you expect?

To expand more on what was briefly touched on in the last section, the results you are able to achieve from SEO are directly related to the work effort you put into the site. If you focus only on keywords, you may see a spike initially, but after the initial google ranking, results will drop off due to the fact that the rest of your site isn’t optimized. The true fantastic SEO results can come months after the process begins. The first thing you can expect to see is a higher ranking on google. This higher ranking is known as the initial ranking after something is published. How well does it match what searchers are looking for? How much domain authority do you have? After your site has been up for a few weeks or a month or two, your new more permanent ranking will appear. This newer ranking is based on more than just matching content, and domain authority. It is based on how users have interacted with your site. Do they share the site? Do they leave a review? Do they visit your site multiple times? All of these and more will affect the more permanent ranking. After this is the time you will really see the impact of SEO kick in. Using Google analytics and watching ecommerce sales, you will be able to monitor what is working and how it is working in relation to your website and business.
Additionally you can expect to be ranking higher in google maps searches if you have a retail store. More popularity and commotion regarding your company will send a message to googles team that people actually want to visit your store. In response Google may in turn rank you higher in maps searches.

Conclusion

To summarize, Cannabis SEO is an online digital marketing strategy that aims to place your company at the top and above competition.  We do this through a multilayered website and social media revamp.  Results appear in stages and peak at around 8 months.  Since the cannabis market is so new, jumping on it now is the right move.  If you want to learn more about our services you can visit this page or contact us for more information.  WE look forward to hearing from you, and can wait to get your business high above the competition.

Is Your Website In Need Of A Make-Over?​

Google listing search