Google has confirmed that approximately 1 in 5 searches has local intent. Cannabis dispensaries who choose to ignore local search optimization (SEO) are missing out on new customers and the resulting revenue. With searches on mobile devices trumping those on desktops, having your site local and mobile-friendly should be a high priority this year. Before we start, let’s identify the key performance indicators (KPI’s) for your dispensary. From my experience, the primary KPI’s for a cannabis dispensary are customer actions, traffic, rankings, and ultimately sales. For an in-depth look at KPI’s, check out our guide to top KPI’s for cannabis dispensaries.
Understanding Your Mobile Audience
When it comes to local search, your mobile audience is often very different from your desktop audience.
Since most desktop searches come from home or work, local desktop searches have a delayed search intent. In most cases, the search is happening for an event that is in the future. They are often checking to see if any local businesses have the product or services they need, but do not have the intent of the immediate action.
The person searching may be interested in visiting your business, but just not in the immediate present.
For a person searching locally on mobile, the intent is often direct. People are searching on their mobile device because they want something now.
To optimize mobile for local searches, you’ll need to focus on the immediate nature of the searches. Give mobile searches the simplest and easiest answers to the questions or products of interest.
On mobile devices, people tend to find things that are nearby and use short search phrases. To determine which keywords to target, you will need to do keyword research. Tools such as AdWords Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer can help, but your research should come a diverse set of tools. Read our guide on keyword research for your cannabis dispensary.
Scan through Google Analytics or Search Console to see exact search queries, which are helpful when brainstorming and identifying your target keywords.
Optimizing Your Pages
People tend to be less patient on mobile so make sure that you test the user experience design (UX) and identify any areas that might frustrate your website visitors. Remember, Google is trying to determine which pages will make its users the happiest, so if your visitors are satisfied with your page, Google will be too.
When it comes to ranking locally, it’s vital to include your keyword and location in the following places:
- Title Tag
- Page title (h1-tag)
- Alt text on your images
NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) should be part of the header, footer, sidebar, and displayed on every page. Google uses this information to determine a website’s relevance to local searches.
Page Load Speed
Page load speed is vital on mobile. Over 40% of users leave the site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. The goal is to create a pleasant experience for your mobile users and fast load times are critical. Page speed is so important that Google has developed the Mobile-Friendly Test tool to help sites identify if they have speed issues.
Schema Markup is another Google tool which can give your mobile site an extra boost. Use Schema to markup your address and phone number in Schema (Schema.org/Place) to give your local presence more search engine visibility.
When creating your mobile site, there are a few things to keep in mind from a design perspective.
- Flash: Avoid using flash. In some cases, the Flash plugin might not be available on a user’s phone. HTML5 is a better alternative to flash as it requires no plugin.
- Pop Up’s: Don’t use pop ups on the homepage. Google has come out and stated that having a pop up on the homepage will negatively affect your website rankings.
- Large Fingers: Design buttons for larger fingers and make sure there is enough spacing between the buttons, so users don’t accidentally click on something they didn’t want.
Mobile and local work together. By optimizing your website for both, you’ll see fast local keyword ranking gains, and you’ll therefore ‘leapfrog’ the competition.