Getting your cannabis dispensary to rank high in Google’s search results is crucial to getting foot traffic through your dispensary doors. An effective local search engine optimization strategy is the best way to boost your site’s Google ranking and increase your visibility to local customers.
However, many businesses struggle with local SEO. With more and more businesses turning to search engines in order to connect with their customers, the SEO landscape has never been more competitive. Plus, there are more signals than ever that factor into SEO success, making SEO more complicated than ever.
However, local SEO is crucial to the success of local retail businesses like dispensaries. Having a web presence that is optimized for search engines will help you to capture valuable organic traffic from search engines and convert it into paying customers.
Where do you start with local SEO for your dispensary?
Be Aware of Local SEO Signals
The most important thing is to be aware of how different signals affect your local SEO performance. A recent Moz survey indicated that there are about 8 different signals that factor into the success of local dispensary SEO.
According to the survey, the most important local SEO ranking factors are link signals, on-page signals, GMB (Google My Business) signals, behavioral signals, citation signals, review signals, social signals, and personalization signals.
Taking a moment to think about where your site stands in relation to these ranking factors is one of the first things you should do when optimizing your site for local SEO.
The Google 3 Pack – Reach For The Stars!
The best way to improve your dispensary’s visibility to local customers is by having your site appear in Google’s “3 pack.” Otherwise known as the “Local 3 Pack” or “Google Snack Pack,” the 3 pack is a listing of the top 3 local business listings that are most relevant to each search query in a specific geographic area.
Click-through rates for websites in the 3 pack are significantly higher than for those outside of it. It goes without saying that appearing in the 3 pack should be a top priority for any local business. However, businesses will need to fully optimize their local SEO signals in order to even have a chance of showing up in the local 3 pack.
How can you optimize your website to appear atop Google’s rankings and increase your chances of appearing in the local 3 pack?
Set Up Your Google My Business (GMB) And Bing Places For Business Accounts
The very first thing you should do when optimizing for local search is to claim your Google-My-Business (GMB) and Bing Places For Business pages.
A GMB page is like a personal advertisement that shows up alongside search results when someone searches for your business by name. It provides searchers with direct links to your website, phone number, and address, as well as with important information about your business such as hours and location. Similarly, Bing’s Places For Business feature creates a personal listing for your business that will appear alongside Bing’s search results.
While Bing does not enjoy the same level of traffic as Google, Microsoft’s search engine is still home to a significant number of searches being performed every day. In 2017, Bing claimed to possess nearly 33% of the US search engine market.
Together, Google and Bing are responsible for almost all searches being performed in the world. By having a business presence on both platforms, you can ensure that local customers can find you, regardless of which platform they prefer.
Make sure to set your business category correctly on both Google and Bing. Categorizing your business as accurately as possible will help Google to do its job better. Selecting the right categories for your dispensary may even help with keyword ranking and Google Maps visibility.
Additionally, you should also make sure to include photos of your physical location. Photos of both the inside and outside of your location will give your dispensary more credibility, make it easier to find, and give your dispensary SEO a boost in the process.
Not only will having these pages make it easier for local customers to find and contact you, but they will also have a positive effect on your SEO signals. An active, accurate, detailed, and engaging GMB presence indicates to both searchers and search engines that you are a serious business looking to connect with customers in your community.
Integrate Your Social Media Pages
Social media profiles for local dispensaries can show up in Google’s rankings, just like any other page. However, in order for this to happen, your social media pages must be optimized with correct information and must have a respectable engagement rate with users.
Social media signals are believed to be a major contributor to local SEO success. Things like shares, likes, views, and votes signal to Google that your brand is being talked about by customers. Since Google’s ultimate goal is to provide a superb user experience for searchers, positive social signals function as recommendations from customers that vouch for the value of your website and your brand.
Having an active and established social media presence also has practical benefits, outside of just SEO. Linking your social media pages will allow potential customers to learn more about your dispensary, and may even result in new followers and a bigger social media presence.
Connect With Review Sites And Manage Your Reviews
Managing your dispensary’s public reviews is key to successful local SEO.
Good reviews are believed to boost dispensary SEO signals by building relevance, trust, and authority for your business. This is especially true for Google reviews. According to Google, having more reviews and positive ratings will likely lead to improved performance in local rankings. Positive reviews also improve your chances of appearing in Google’s local 3 pack.
List Your Dispensary in Online Directories
Listing your dispensary in online cannabis and business directories will make it easier for potential customers to find you while building your online presence in the process.
Listing your dispensary on each and every directory around is not necessary because not all directories are equal. Focus on directories with high domain authority and high visibility. Spammy or otherwise low-quality directories may negatively affect the value of the backlink you receive from the directory listing.
Additionally, try to be as consistent as possible with your listings. It is important to make sure that your NAP (name, address, phone number) are listed correctly in every directory.
Develop A Comprehensive Dispensary SEO Keyword Strategy
Developing and implementing a cohesive and comprehensive keyword plan is crucial to any SEO strategy.
Whether searchers are looking for information about cannabis, searching for dispensaries near them, or are simply searching for your brand by name, the keywords they use help them find what they are looking for. Using keywords in your content allows you to connect with search users looking for those specific keywords.
A local SEO strategy should focus on local content and local keywords. Local keywords will make you more visible to local searches. Local news, industry gatherings, and events can all be leveraged to create local content that draws clicks.
Take some time to do some keyword research and develop a content plan that will appeal to local customers. Look for a combination of long-tail, short-tail, and semantically related keywords and phrases that cover the range of queries potential customers are likely to make.
Optimize Your Website For Mobile Viewing
Improving your website’s mobile responsiveness and optimizing it for mobile viewing will have both technical and practical benefits.
More people than ever are using their phones to find information or shop online. According to Google, people are performing more searches on mobile than on desktop – and they have been for a while. Additionally, data indicate that more and more people are using mobile to perform presale searches before shopping for or purchasing products. Google recently found that searches for product reviews have increased by roughly 35% over the past 2 years.
Optimizing your website for mobile will allow you to connect with these customers while boosting your SEO signals in the process.
In 2017, Google switched to ‘mobile-first indexing’. This means that Google uses the mobile content of a web to determine its search engine value and ranking. So, if you aren’t optimizing for local dispensary SEO, you may risk having poorly ranked content regardless of keywords.
You can learn more about SEO and digital marketing via our webinar series. Check out our on-demand dispensary marketing webinars now.