Can You Do SEO Yourself?
For cannabis websites, search engine optimization is absolutely vital. Due to the ban on Google and social media ads, there is no other way to reach a large audience. The higher you rank in organic results, the more potential customers notice and visit your website. Effective practices result in conversions and revenue. Yet, establishing a solid online presence is not easy.
If you can devote time to DIY SEO (a lot of time!), our article has all the basics. There is no shortage of guides and insights on SEO for cannabis industry, particularly since the pandemic has caused a surge in demand. With some research and practice, you can learn to apply the key practices to your online dispensary. Let's begin by clarifying the basics.
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a set of methods and techniques aimed at pushing websites up the SERPs (search engine results pages). It includes actions taken on and off your website.
The on-page dimension concerns things like keywords, content, and navigation. It also encompasses technical aspects like the XML sitemap, which helps search engines navigate your site. Off-page optimization mainly concerns your website's reputation. You can use the best SEO websites for cannabis to grasp the key terms and techniques.
Where to Begin
Create a checklist and optimize your online dispensary step by step. First, perform an audit of your site using special online SEO checkers. The goal is to understand what you have been doing correctly and what things hurt your rankings.
Tackle On-page SEO
When users see your URL in search results, they are also shown the title tag and meta description. Like all text and media content throughout your site, these pieces of text must be optimized for specific keywords.
How to use keywords
Keywords show search engines what your site is all about. They also determine when it appears in Google results. Dispensaries are optimized for words and phrases, such as “buy CBD in Denver”.
The first rule is applying keywords naturally. Use them sparingly and avoid keyword stuffing. Remember that usability and readability are both crucial for rankings.
If you have a blog dedicated to different topics (health benefits, how to choose paraphernalia, comparing CBD with weed, etc.), incorporate relevant keywords into every page. This way, when a customer googles the health effects of weed, they will see a relevant article from your blog.
How to research keywords
To find keywords driving the most traffic, use special tools. Software and online services with keyword suggestions will also show difficulty — i.e., how hard a keyword is to rank for. For example, try Ubersuggest.
Image Credit: Pixabay
Boost Your Off-page SEO
To determine the trustworthiness of your site, Google considers backlinks — references from other websites. These should also come from platforms with high domain authority. If they link back to your online dispensary, the search algorithms regard it as more credible.
Google wants to provide relevant and useful content to its audience. This makes authority one of the primary criteria. It is part of the E-A-T trio, which is crucial for SEO (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness).
Earning links is difficult. Unfortunately, some business owners still buy backlinks. Google quickly detects manipulation and penalizes their websites. This negates all of their work. Be patient and persistent, as acquiring links takes time. It all starts with great content.
Step 1. Create useful content
Provide valuable posts, articles, or videos to give other websites something to link to. Explore your competitors' sites for ideas.
Choose trending topics to gain links faster. Google Trends will tell you what users are talking about. Check out forums like Reddit and Quora, or try online content idea generators.
Step 2. Promote your content
Cannabis businesses are not allowed to place explicit ads on social media, but you can promote articles from your blog. Platforms like Instagram give instant exposure to a large audience. Additionally, reach out to website owners by email. Choose authoritative pages like trade publications or bloggers who may share your infographic.
Local optimization makes you visible to users searching for products in a particular area. Does your dispensary have a physical location? In this case, you must have it listed by Google so it will appear on Google Maps. Set up a Google My Business account and add an accurate description of your products, services, working hours, etc. Include high-quality images showing the interior, products, staff, or even the view from the street to help visitors find you.
You Can Do SEO, But Should You?
Optimization for search engines requires a multifaceted approach. Handling everything by yourself is feasible but challenging. The biggest difficulty for non-professionals is technical SEO, with aspects like responsiveness and security.
You cannot work on these dimensions without a ton of technical expertise. This is a stumbling block for small businesses that try to manage everything in house. Furthermore, things can get quite ugly if they are handled wrong.
Even mastering on-page optimization can be daunting and time-consuming. To get the best results as soon as possible, delegate the job to experts — most preferably, agencies specializing in optimization for cannabis and CBD.
(Devdiscourse's journalists were not involved in the production of this article. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)