Marketing Is the Art of Being Seen, and GrowthMJ delivers results.
Your future customers are already looking for you. They are doing a mobile search for cannabis dispensaries in your area right now. They are Googling the web for information about one of the products sitting in your inventory this instant. GrowthMJ strives to put your website on Google’s front page so that you will be seen by those who seek you.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the things we do best at GrowthMJ. We’re a digital marketing agency that specializes in web design for the cannabis Industry. We want to tell your story to cannabis consumers in your service area. We’ll communicate your brand identity in a relevant and engaging way so that it appeals to both curious customers and Google’s knowledge bots.
- 1 Web Page Optimizations
- 2 A Word on Google’s BERT Update
- 3 Google My Business Page
- 4 Make Your Cannabis Business Seen
- 5 References
SEO For the Cannabis Industry
The growing cannabis market holds a lot of allure, but there are also some unique challenges. Paid advertising, for instance, is not an option for cannabis products. That leaves only organic SEO to bring web-searchers to your site. The art and science of SEO is merely the skill of being seen by the right people.
GrowthMJ makes sure you’re seen by Google’s search algorithms and local cannabis consumers.
GrowthMJ is better at SEO than anyone. No one can beat us because of our acute technical know-how and our comprehensive content strategy. Whether you know it or not, SEO is extremely important to the health of your business. In today’s market, if you are not available at the tap of a touchscreen, then you are going to have a lot of trouble reaching today’s discerning cannabis customer. It’s true what they say:
If you aren’t on Google, then you don’t exist.
GrowthMJ has created and optimized websites for some of the most successful cannabis entrepreneurs in our exciting industry. In the sections below we’ll run through some of our services.
Web Page Optimizations
Matching NAP with Google My Business
We match your Name Address Phone Number (NAP) to your Google My Business listing. This lets Google’s web-crawling spiders know your business’s location information. Along with other pertinent information, like your business hours, NAP gives Google a better idea of exactly where and when to recommend your cannabis business to local Internet-searchers.
Your homepage is the center of your website. It should have a good deal of content on it describing your business. And it should have appropriate links to internal pages describing the products you offer. This is a good way to give authority to these pages and ensure they are crawled and indexed by Google.
Rich Formatted Content
Content is king, as they say. Google has always privileged high-quality content, but this is more true than ever thanks to recent algorithm updates, like BERT. Your content should be at least 1500+ words and centered around a specific topic. For example, if you have a page about CBD, all of the supporting content about CBD (including Frequently Asked Questions) should be on this page.
Outdated Strategies and Penalization
People used to break up their web content to create an abundance of pages on their websites. This is an outdated strategy as it creates many too many pages with thin content. Google now penalizes these pages. Also, keyword spamming on your content pages raises a red flag and harms your Google ranking. If your page is about cannabis edibles, do not repeat the phrase “cannabis edibles” a hundred times on the page as this will also get you penalized. Instead, use relative keywords on your page to truly show that this content is all about the specified topic.
Matching Keyword Phrases
Ensure the Title, URL and Main Heading of the webpage closely match your topic. It is doubly important to use the primary keywords and to include your desired location.
SCHEMA.ORG Review Markup
Testimonials are great for increasing conversions. They demonstrate how happy your customers are with you and your business. You may already know that if you do a Google search for a local cannabis dispensary, usually sites like Yelp or Weedmaps show up first. But, if you use Schema.org to markup your site, you can have your page appear above those other review sites.
Image optimization is often overlooked. It is hard for search engines to read images. However, you may optimize the images on your site is by specifying an ALT tag for each image. ALT tags tell search engines what the image is about. This is a key area to reinforce your targeted keywords, as well. Another overlooked image optimization opportunity is the filename of the image. Name the image file with keywords related to the topic of the page.
Search engines love fast loading sites. Google only allocates a certain amount of time to crawl your site. The faster your pages load, the more pages it can crawl. This gives you more opportunities to pop up in people’s searches. Also, this is a signal Google has publicly mentioned increases the ranking of your site.
Mobile-friendly design is essential to helping your site rank well on Google Search. We believe in a mobile-first approach at GrowthMJ. We know that today’s savvy cannabis consumer is likely to do most of their browsing from their phone, rather than a desktop display.
Readily available contact information is a must for great conversions. Ensure you have your main dispensary phone number or location in the upper right-hand corner of your website on every page. Also, have a contact form available for your potential customers in the sidebar of each internal page. Fewer input boxes will equate to more people filling out your contact forms—less is more.
A Word on Google’s BERT Update
On October 25th, 2019, Google set free its natural language processing algorithm, “BERT,” to roam the Internet and help improve the relevancy of users’ search results. BERT allows Google to understand the words of a search query in context. So, pre-BERT, a search for “cars that are not red” would likely have brought up a lot of red cars, since Google only understood the word “red” in isolation, but not in the context of the sentence. BERT, however, understands that you’re looking for results that include every other kind of car except red ones, and so your SERP results today are more pertinent than ever.
There is also some evidence to suggest that Google makes use of BERT to develop a more robust immunity to the old “black hat” hacks employed by swashbuckling SEOs just a few years ago. If BERT can read and understand the contents of your site better than the algorithms of the past, it may also be able to discern if the content on your site is truly an original and high-quality source of trustworthy information.
Google’s engineers and AI wizards work hard to purge the SERP page of sites that have only been made to appear authoritative through keyword stuffing, backlink schemes and other black hat tricks of the trade. The only way to really “win” in today’s changing SEO environment is with a commitment to quality content.
Google My Business Page
Make sure you only have one business listing, even if you have multiple locations. Your primary business page should be the one you actually want customers to see and Google to showcase in relevant searches.
Make sure your Business Page is verified. If it is not verified with Google, then it will never show up on searches.
Make sure your business name used on your Google My Business page is exactly as it appears in the offline world. This is crucial for credibility. Google now allows you to include a single descriptor to your business name to help customers locate your business. This descriptor is a great way to optimize your page for your location of interest.
You have to use the exact address of your business, ensuring it is consistent with the U.S. Post Office. It should only contain information that is part of your official address. Do not add cross streets or any other irrelevant information. P.O. Boxes are not permitted and any kind of virtual address could lead to a penalty.
Local Phone Number
Even if you may have a toll free 800 number, always use your local number for the purposes of Google My Business.
Your business category is one of the most important pieces of local SEO. If you get this wrong, you will be missing many sales opportunities for your cannabis business. Your listing could completely disappear from relevant searches! While getting it right can push you to the top of the search listings. Use all of the categories that are allowed for your industry; picking categories that describe what your business is and not what it does. Your primary category should be the one that most closely represents your primary keyword (like “cannabis” or “dispensary”) and then the following categories should be related to your main service (such as “cannabis delivery” or “CBD products”).
Most businesses only have one location, so your uniform resource locator (URL) should point to your homepage, but if you have multiple locations you should create a page specifically for each location. Be sure your site structure is set up properly where authority from your site is passing to your Google business page as well.
Your introduction description should not be spammy, should contain unique content, and be above 250+ words.
Upload photos that describe your business and show it off. Product, location, and relevant customer photos may be appropriate here.
Make Your Cannabis Business Seen
- About PageSpeed Insights | Google Developers. (n.d.). Retrieved March 23, 2020, from https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/insights/v5/about
- Nayak, P. (2019, October 25). Understanding searches better than ever before. Retrieved March 23, 2020, from https://www.blog.google/products/search/search-language-understanding-bert/
- Team, T. E. (2019, September 2). The Google E-A-T Score: What Is It and Why Does It Matter? Retrieved March 22, 2020, from https://medium.com/better-marketing/the-google-e-a-t-score-what-is-it-199f889f756a