How To Optimize For Local Dispensary SEO – Rank #1 In Google
Marijuana dispensaries are becoming more and more popular, but how can you properly optimize for dispensary SEO? Because of the major changes in the law with the industry, most advertising alternatives such as Facebook, Google Adwords, and other social platforms won’t let dispensaries market.
This leaves many dispensary CMO’s and CEO’s wondering where to put their money. After all, if you spend money on marketing, it is likely that you’re looking for a return on investment.
With Google being the worlds largest search engine and currently directing 97% of the internet’s traffic, dispensaries should be optimizing for SEO.
What Is Dispensary SEO?
Dispensary (SEO) search engine optimization – is the practice of adding content to a dispensaries website (just like you’re seeing this now) to drive local foot traffic and visitors online. Because Google is all organic, medical marijuana dispensaries don’t have to worry about rigid advertising policies.
This gives a dispensary a major leg up against competitors because it is likely that they are using other organic marketing tactics that just don’t work well. Some of these marketing tactics include:
- Facebook organic page growth
- Instagram organic page growth
- Direct mail advertising
Although there is a benefit to the strategies listed above – they are not as high quality as the traffic coming from Google.
How Can I Rank My Marijuana Dispensary #1 In Google?
Now that you understand why SEO is the best form of marijuana marketing, let’s look at sure-fire ways to rank you at the top of Google organically.
Generally speaking, when we mention Marijuana SEO, we mean two different types:
- Local Marijuana SEO
- Organic Marijuana SEO
The two are different for optimizing. As Local SEO you’re competing for the Google maps listing whereas Organic SEO – you’re optimizing your marijuana dispensary for the organic listings.
Let’s break down both so you can have a clear-cut strategy with your dispensary SEO
Local SEO Tips For Marijuana Dispensaries
To go local, it’s all about the map listings. When customers type in “marijuana dispensaries near me”, it is likely that Google will display map results immediately. Why? Well, that’s because someone who types in “near me” usually has a local commercial intent. Meaning they are looking to visit a store immediately.
Here is an example of a map listing in Google, we’re also going to cover exactly what you should be optimizing for:
As the top result in the map, get’s roughly 33% of the clicks, the top result is also the dispensary getting all of the organic traffic being searched in that area.
Let’s cover 3 quick things you must do for your cannabis website:
How To Outrank Your Competitor Dispensaries In Google Maps
Verifying your Google My Business listing is simple. But, did you know there is a much more advanced optimization strategy for Google My Business?
If you haven’t registered your business under Google, go here: https://www.google.com/business/
Google My Business needs to be full of information. The more you can add to your listing, the higher you will rank the maps. After you verify your GMB, make sure you optimize the following things:
- Add as many images as you can
- Add your dispensaries hours
- Verify all of your locations so they are all visible
- Add a lengthy description about your dispensary
- Upload videos to your Google My Business (huge SEO boost)
Google has even stated that the more information you have on your Google My Business account, the higher your medical dispensary will rank in the search engines.
See an image below from Google maps telling us (DeveloMark) our listing get’s 600%+ more views
This should be the first step anyone takes before leveraging any medical marijuana marketing strategies. After working with several SEO clients, we’ve noticed most of the conversions come from Google My Business.
But what if every medical marijuana dispensary optimizes for GMB – here is how you can do more to stay on top.
Ensure Your Dispensary Is Listed On Important Directories
One of the most important ranking factors Google looks at is (NAP), short for:
- Phone Number
You’ll even realize this to be true based on how Google sorts information on maps:
Google takes (NAP) very seriously and uses it as a large ranking signal. So exactly what directories should you get on to create a more consistent online presence?
The first two listings you should immediately verify are:
- Pot guide
Getting on these dispensaries will allow you to add in your listing, giving your website another chance to have a consistent NAP. Both of these marijuana directories you could include in your information and get a link back to your site from these directories
In short, the more relevant directories you can place your directory on – the more SEO power you can obtain.
Using A Local SEO Tool For Fast Directory Listings
As an SEO agency, we like to use a tool to list our clients. You can do the same with your Marijuana dispensary. The most beneficial directories for your business to be listed on are the following (according to YEXT):
- Yellow Pages
- BBB (Better Business)
You can click the link above to verify each manually – but you shouldn’t do that. Time is money, use a tool that can take care of it for you. Here is how:
Using YEXT & Moz Local For Dispensary Local SEO
There are two great software that will allow you to maximize your directories for local. The two tools are:
- Moz Local
Both great tools but I’d like to cover some of the benefits of each as well as price:
YEXT – allows you to systematically optimize all listings – $500
Moz Local – more of a manual approach but much cheaper – $99
Understanding Your Local Scores
Regardless of the software you choose, you will be presented with a “local score”
The local score is a metric created by Moz and YEXT to gauge how accurate your listings are. The higher the score you have, the higher you will rank in Google.
If you want to increase your local SEO score, simple check where you have SEO inconsistencies/unlisted directories.
Make sure you click on incomplete to see which directories you could easily just fix – by hovering over the red numbers below, you would be able to actually see what’s wrong with your listings
We encourage that you fix all of the inconsistent listings to your ability. Doing so would create increased relevance.
By following these steps, you should skyrocket to the first result in Google maps. But now that you understand Google Maps, how can you go about ranking your dispensary in the organic search results?
Although the rules are a little different, the same work and effort applied. Here is exactly how you can have the best organic SEO strategy as a medical marijuana dispensary
Organic SEO Checklist For Marijuana Dispensaries
Google is a robot, therefore it reads as one. Google works as a quality control officer. It lands on a website and immediately starts crawling the website to ensure it meets its checklists.
Before we begin, I’m going to tell you exactly what to look for as well as how to compare your dispensary to other local dispensaries in your area.
Anyways, Google looks at the following for dispensary SEO in order of most importance:
- User experience (how are people interacting with your site)?
- Bounce rate (how many people are leaving your site before 2 minutes)?
- Content (is your content informative and directional)?
- On-Site Optimizations (Title tags, heading tags, META tags, keyword density)
Now that you know what’s important, here is a good rule to go by:
- Make sure your website has an https certification
- Add at least 1,000 words on the home page
- Include your target keyword at least 8 times in your content
- Add videos to your targeted page to keep UX (User Experience) high
- Use engaging images to keep users on your page
Because Google is a robot, it uses the listed items above to gauge if your website is worthy to receive traffic. The goal should be to make your website a user central to the topic of marijuana.
An Easy Way To See What On Site Problems You Have
Because of the importance of on-site SEO, there are many tools that a dispensary can use to check their results. For example, most marketing agencies use a tool like screaming frog, but that is expensive and if you’re just starting out, that might now be an option for you.
We recommend you head over to Neil Patel – a website where Neil offers free tools for you to check your metrics.
It’s simple, head on over to “Website Analyzer” on NeilPatel.com and enter your domain name
Once you’ve entered your domain, you should have something that looks like this:
Here you can immediately identify any errors, warnings, and it will show your passed SEO checks. These are good to go by as a beginner. As a local dispensary, you may want to click on the “warnings” or any other tab if you have them.
Go through and clean this up and you will be in a good place. The higher you can get that “SEO Score“, the better your dispensary website will rank for search terms near you.
Having a clean on-page is crucial to your SEO success. But aren’t you curious about your competitor? With Neil Patel’s tool, you can also analyze your competitors to make sure they don’t have a higher SEO score than you
Simple just click “compare up to three pages” and you can add up to three competitors:
Once you’ve typed in your competitor URL’s, watch as you can now compare results with all three
Base your SEO campaign off of these metrics and get these fixed as soon as possible. The moment your competitor has a better on-page and user experience than you, the moment your dispensary will be outranked.
Blogging Your Way To Dispensary SEO Success
Blogging is extremely important for any type of SEO. Often, companies will leave their blog section like a desert. The reason being, blogging takes a lot of time.
At the moment I am writing this blog to you, I am in three hours so far. It is this reason alone so many companies completely avoid it – it takes time.
Google has said numerous time that blogging is one of the most important parts of SEO
Blogging adds relevance and authority to your website. The significance in SEO comes from the fact that the more you blog, the more Google will show your website throughout the search engines.
Why? Well when you create more content, you create more pages which allows you to rank for more words.
But how exactly should you be optimizing your blog for a medical marijuana dispensary? Start with Buzzsumo.
Using Buzzsumo To Find Hot Blog Topics For A Dispensary
Buzzsumo is an aggregation tool that shows you content that has performed in the past. As an SEO, we use the logic that if has performed in the past, it will perform just as well in the future or present.
But here is the golden SEO strategy – start with a simple search of the keyword you’re targeting
Once you enter the “search” option you will be presented with articles that have had significant value in the past
As you can see the hottest new thing is getting a card in Pennsylvania – so it may be worth it to blog about that topic.
Pick an article that you see listed in Buzzsumo, then remaster the article adding more:
When you do this, you create a better piece of content and it will rank favorably in Google. Generally, when you write out your blogs, try to write with:
- 2,000 words or more
- 10 images or more
- 3 videos or more
Many SEO’s say that consistency is better but this is not true. Google loves content-heavy pages, and they even stated the average first-page ranking has around 1990 words in the article.
So if you or your SEO team can handle 2-3 posts like that a month (with the guidelines listed above), you will be in a good place organically. Always make sure to check your competitor’s blog posts and see if you can provide more value than them.
SEO is the best marketing strategy for Marijuana Dispensaries. It’s completely legal proof, and is all organic. It’s seems it is the best way to “advertise” with medical. Because Google is not a restriced platform, it would be smart for a medical marijuana company to start embedding their authority throughout Google.
If you need help with medicinal SEO, start by contacting us today. We would love to work with you on your next SEO Campaign and can provide you with a free digital marketing analysis.
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