Today, over 90% of online experiences start with search engines. Therefore, regardless of the niche, you need to have a solid digital presence. When people want to find dispensaries, marijuana products, and services, they start with a simple Internet search.
Fortunately, search engine optimization (SEO) can help businesses improve their rankings and online visibility. But what if you are a local cannabis business looking to increase traffic to your store or dispensary? How is local SEO different from national SEO, and what should you give preference to? Luckily, the MjSeo Agency is here to help you in finding responses to all of your SEO-related questions.
National and Local SEO for Cannabusiness: What’s the Difference?
Both national and local search engine optimization aims to improve your ranking in online search results so more people can find, connect and buy from your marijuana business. While national SEO, in other words, traditional, aims to improve the visibility of your site nationwide or even globally, local search engine optimization allows you to cover the local search territory to connect with potential clients in your area.
Let’s take a look at some distinguishing features of each strategy.
What is National SEO?
We’ll start by defining traditional SEO, also known as organic or national SEO. Search engine optimization is valuable to businesses in any sector, in particular, cannabis and marijuana, since this niche is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the legalization of marijuana in many states, as well as the movement in the direction of legalizing it at the federal level. National SEO involves numerous on-page and off-page strategies to boost your site’s ranking in the SERP.
To better understand how traditional SEO works, let’s take a look at the search results for any keyword. Let’s say, we type cannabis dispensary in the search bar.
- Paid advertising: When you search on Google, you will first notice a series of paid advertisements. These pay-per-click (PPC) ads, labeled with the “Ad” tag, appear at the top of the search results – above the regular results. In terms of SEO, especially for the cannabis niche, PPC ads are not the main source of traffic. The main reason for this is the fact that to set such an advertising campaign, it is necessary to carefully select keywords so that not to be banned by the search engine. In any case, this kind of ad is worth mentioning.
- Additional SERP capabilities: Next, you will see several results of the search engine based on the query you have typed. SERP features are special results designed to provide useful information right from the search engine, often without having to click on a result. These are featured snippets that provide users with a possibility to get the desired response with no need to click on the link – the so-called zero-click approach. For your site to appear in the Featured Snippets, your pages need to meet several essential criteria. A professional SEO specialist will help you to optimize pages for this purpose.
- Regular search results: Finally, you will see a list of unpaid search results – organic SEO results.
Since 68% of all clicks are in the top five positions in search results, it is crucial to maintain high rankings so that people can find your website and get in touch with you.
How do you rank at the top of search results nationally in the cannabis business? The answer is SEO, and it consists of a variety of ranking strategies.
National SEO strategies
When optimizing for traditional SEO, you will need to use the following strategies:
- Do keyword research and select relevant KWs for your cannabis website.
- Create high-quality and detailed content about your industry, products, and services. It should be interesting and valuable for the target audience.
- Speed up your website loading time.
- Optimize your code and navigation. The site needs to be user-friendly and intuitive.
- Get backlinks from reputable websites to boost your domain authority.
In short, these SEO strategies will ensure that your marijuana business appears at the top of search results when people search for keywords related to cannabis products and services. Ultimately, SEO allows more people to find, connect, and buy from your business – and this directly translates into higher profits.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO, which is a subset of traditional SEO, focuses your optimization efforts on reaching more local users. For example, let’s say, users are searching for “the best dispensaries in Los Angeles”. If you own or operate a dispensary in the Los Angeles area, you want it to appear at the top of the results for such search requests, and your local SEO efforts can help you with that.
Since 80% of local searches are converting, it is essential to invest in local cannabis SEO if you are a local business looking to increase traffic, sales, and profits.
Typically, searches are performed for queries such as [product] near me, [service] near me, [product] in [city], [service] in [city]. After users enter regional search queries, local companies go to the top of the search results. Here are the main steps to take for your cannabis business to appear in the SERP for local searches.
For your site to rank higher in local search results, add the physical address of the store or dispensary so that search robots can index this information. Another effective local SEO optimization technique is placing a phone number with a regional code.
Optimizing title and description meta tags
The top priority for dominating local search results is to optimize your site’s meta tags. These details are an integral part of classic SEO optimization and have a significant impact on the local rankings of an online store.
Make sure to add a local keyword in the meta title (city, state, etc.). To create the perfect meta title, you need to place your most important and relevant KWs at the beginning. Then put the required local keyword, and at the end, add the name of the company. Do not overdo it, the meta tag should not be spammed with queries – this will not inspire confidence among customers and search engines.
Integration with Google My Business
Creation and verification of an online store profile in Google My Business is a prerequisite for attracting local users and growing positions in local search results. Together with the verification checkbox, you get 25% of the ranking factors. Besides, the presence and activity of a company in GMB is an additional signal of Google’s ranking and also inspires trust among more users.
By registering your company, you can not only choose a cover but also add a logo of your company, which will contribute to brand awareness.
More than 90% of users, when evaluating regional companies, perceive reviews as personal recommendations. Reviews are useful for gaining higher rankings and improving your site’s visibility. The search engine evaluates the popularity of your business by the number of reviews and their content. It is also essential to promptly reply to every feedback, both positive and negative.
Microdata is a special code that is added to the site so that the search engine can extract the information users need and show it in answer boxes, carousels, and extended snippets. This code should be used by cannabis online stores to dominate local search results.
Do National and Local SEO Affect Each Other?
It is impossible to draw a line between traditional and local SEO, and there is some overlap between the two strategies. However, your traditional SEO efforts are likely to end up helping your local SEO, and vice versa, if done correctly.
If you already have an SEO plan, it may take a few steps to start attracting more quality local traffic. For example, adding location-specific keywords and content over more general information allows you to reach out to local audiences. Adding these pages will also help your organic SEO strategy as you have more room to rank in relevant search results.
If you are not sure if you are carrying out the SEO promotion of your dispensary, cannabis retail platform, or store correctly, get in touch with the MjSEO Agency, the industry professional to get an audit of your site.