Dispensary Local SEO in Canada

cannabis local seo

Any local business needs to make itself visible on a crowded internet in order to remain competitive in its niche. To accomplish that, a local SEO strategy is required. Local SEO involves optimizing a website to boost organic traffic, convert leads and build brand visibility and awareness from local searches.

The local SEO services offer approaches that optimize the Google My Business profile and other aspects associated with local searches, including Google Maps. Forty-six percent of all searches on Google have local intent, which means that the search engine assumes users are looking for something closest to them.

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How Does Local SEO Work?

Local SEO cannabis business works on the same principles as a regular search. Google goes through its index when someone searches for anything in the cannabis industry to give that person the most relevant result. Dispensary local SEO diverges from the general search by taking granular local SEO tactics.

The local search considers the following things (not ordered):

  • The searcher’s location — Include your address and fill in location information for Google My Business and Google Maps for accurate searches.
  • NAP (number, address, phone) citations — The business’s information online is what we call citation and primarily includes the address, business name and phone number.
  • Social media shares — A social media presence drives organic traffic by leveraging a fully mature but dynamic and evolving social media marketing ecosystem. More shares lead to an expanded presence on social media, which is essential to rank in local searches.
  • Online reviews — Reviews are like currency. A potential shopper looking for an item will look at it favorably if it has good reviews, maybe negatively if it has a bad or middling/mediocre review, but suspiciously, on things that don’t.
  • Traditional ranking — Just because you filled in your NAPs and other local information doesn’t mean you aren’t still required to stick with Google’s traditional ranking system to rank higher. All of this involves page optimization.

Other important aspects include:

  • The existence of a Google My Business profile;
  • Google My Business profile keyword research;
  • Google Maps rating for the business;
  • Keywords in online reviews;
  • The number of check-ins at the location.

The importance of how everything on this list is leveraged cannot be overstated, especially when a business wants to rank high to the people geographically nearest to it.

Also known as the local pack, this term refers to a set of three local businesses results with a map, shown on Google Maps. This Map Pack has its own algorithm and rules. To check where you are, a rank tracker is an excellent way to go.

We recommend using granular Map Pack tracking to ensure that you know how you rank across an entire local area since local rankings can change from location to location, down to sections across cities.

If you know where you are in the local directories, you can optimize your small business to rank well locally across the map of your target area, which is why Map Pack tracking and optimization are essential in local SEO.

It is no secret that mobile devices are the future of online shopping and product/good(s) discovery. Google says that 20% of all Google searches done on mobile are now voice searches. Voice is much harder to do on PCs, making mobile devices (and speakers to a limited extent) a popular medium to order products or services.

Since mobile devices are so well-calibrated to location, they turn up local marijuana SEO searches by default unless settings are tweaked (many don’t). Because of this, a business has to not just optimize the site for mobile devices but also for local SEO too.

cannabis seo

Cities that need local SEO

In Canada, doing granular local SEO for dispensaries requires knowing what kind of city your business is located in and then optimizing for where it is. Canadian dispensaries situated in large cities like Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, and Brampton must optimize for their locations.

The answer to ‘which cities need SEO?’ is — all of them! Well, within reason.

You do not have to be limited to doing Ottawa dispensary local SEO alone. As it turns out, you can do local SEO optimization in more than one city.

A dispensary Brampton locals frequent can optimize to rank as high or even higher than a Toronto dispensary, even with the distance separating them.

How? By using city landing pages/SEO city pages. The idea is to target multiple locations with content optimized for the area. For instance, a dispensary Vancouver residents use could be designed to fit in with the themes of the city, its people, its culture and familiar aspects that are most relevant to the area.

Business owners have to know that this is not as easy as duplicating pages and changing the city names. There are some other augmentations needed.

  1. On-page optimization — The pages need to be optimized for the areas they target with proper tagging, a meta description specific to the city, keyword research and location used in an H1 heading, featuring the location and top keyword in the URL, and linking with your other relevant pages to offer richer content.
  2. Offer unique content — Create content unique to the people of each city, so they feel right at home on your site.
  3. Use trust signals — Trust signals are elements displayed on the page to ensure people perceive its trustworthiness. They can include logos of associations or bodies whose regulations you adhere to or whose approval you have. It helps when you can find some from the place you target.
  4. Contact information — Where can the people reach your business, where are you located, what is the name, do you have photos, collaborate with or sponsor local programs, have an event coming up soon, and what time do you close or open? Your business has to exhaustively answer all of these questions in your contact information in the local directories, so locals feel how close you are to their city.

The best way to rank in multiple cities is to optimize for each one, adapting the pages to have relevance to each city’s residents.

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Why is local SEO important for my cannabis business?

Local SEO is your most significant opportunity to differentiate your business, expose it to more people and stand out in an increasingly crowded eCommerce space. Even if you do not have a website or content with high-quality links, the basics of local SEO tactics alone are enough to ensure that when people near you search for a cannabis outlet, the search results include you.

A business is always on the lookout for more leads, and in the age of internet shopping (with its streamlined shipping and logistics), more traffic is no problem since businesses can scale up. However, before a company can dream big, it has to dream local, depending on the resources and goals in mind.

Local SEO ensures that a local business can build a good reputation with high ratings by serving its local community well and making new customers. None of this happens if they can’t find you, hence applying local SEO’s best practices.

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Local SEO refers to search engine optimization explicitly done to rank higher in and around the physical location of your business. The aim is to increase traffic, generate leads, expose the brand and capture local opportunities.

Typical tasks include proper keyword discovery and usage, optimizing the Google My Business profile, and fleshing out NAP citations. This information can further be optimized to ensure that your business comes up first in the listing wherever you might be in a city.

Local SEO (for instance, in Vancouver) also involves using various tools to find out how your local business ranks and the shortcomings, to tweak more and more components of how you operate to reach a wider audience.

Any business with a physical location serving a geographical area needs local SEO. If people near you search for anything containing keywords relevant to you should be able to see your business recommended on the page and shown on the map.

If you do not have a presence online, competing locally can be difficult. For instance, in a city as big as Ottawa, new people coming into the town may not know your location, even if local traffic comes in. Many people who live in cities don’t even know where everything is. Some might even be surprised there’s a cannabis store nearby.

Remove all the ambiguity about your existence by optimizing the ranking factors of local SEO to appear when anyone searches for what’s relevant to your business.

Local listing is the publication of your business information in local directories to ensure your business appears in the local search rankings results. Think of local listings like the Yellow Pages or telephone book of the modern era, which cannabis business owners can leverage to make the business easy to find.

Given that 46% of all searches are local (a local audience looking for a business near them), business listing gives you further visibility so people can reach your store easily, either through looking at Google Maps to find it or just getting in touch via phone or provided contact information.

A local listing is the least you can do to ensure that you come up in the results before you can even begin optimizing and reap the benefits of that work.