When it comes to sharing your company with the world, local SEO for cannabis companies matters. Using local SEO in your digital marijuana marketing strategy can not only increase the traffic your company’s website receives online, but bring in more foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar store.
Even though you’re selling products in a physical store, to make prospective customers aware your company is out there, you have to meet them where they are looking: online. Customers begin their journey to find a product or service online, and many of them won’t ever make it past the first page of search results.
It’s more important than ever to have the right pieces in place for your business to land on the first Google search page and ultimately to be found. There are a number of ways companies can be found on the first page of the search organically, including Google My Business profiles, the Google local pack, as a snippet, and in Google Maps search results.
The Local SEO for Cannabis Toolbelt
There are several ways your business can eclipse organic search rankings to earn a higher spot in an internet user’s search query, and they all focus on promoting your location.
Google My Business for Cannabis
How often have you personally started your search for a nice bite to eat or a gas station when you’re running on empty with “… near me?” You’re not alone. Customers are using the same mechanisms to search for businesses like yours, and it’s time to take advantage of that knowledge.
Google My Business is a free directory service that local businesses can use to list out all the information a customer may need to learn more about and hopefully buy your products or services. It’s a place for companies to share their geographic location, contact information, the company’s website, and more.
Through Google My Business, companies can even relay a description of what they sell, the location’s hours of operations, and business categories.
Companies can add up to 10 categories, but it’s recommended to choose one or two key categories that aptly describe your company. Companies that are more specific and accurate in the information they provide will rank higher in Google’s search results and allow customers to build trust that your business is legitimate.
Additional features can be added as well, like whether your physical location is ADA accessible or offers free Wi-Fi and other features based on the industry the company is under. For example, service-oriented businesses can display a menu of their services or provide a button to request and book your services online. Small or medium-sized companies can share product catalogs with interested customers directly from their Google My Business profile.
The ability to include photos of your company’s physical store or products or even a virtual 3D tour of the space (which Google gives preference to in its rankings), gives further information for Google to crawl and match with a customer’s search.
Your Google My Business account can also share valuable insights into what information customers are interacting with and what may need an update. Google My Business analytics show how many customers are searching for your company, how many are calling your business, how many requested directions to your store, how many clicked on your photos, and more. This allows a company to see what information is the highest priority to keep updated for customers.
Creating a Google My Business account will allow Google to learn more about your company to make sure your information is readily available and featured at the top sections of search engines
Get Ahead with Google Local Pack
When consumers are looking for a certain local product or service online, Google will show them the top three local company listings in their geographic vicinity. This is called the Google Local Pack, and it’s where your company will want to be to stay ahead of the competition.
The key benefits of being part of the local pack go beyond being in an exclusive list of businesses Google pulls up for certain location-based searches. That’s because the local pack doesn’t rank based on the search engine’s normal SEO rankings, but rather by relevance, distance, and prominence.
Relevance: The relevance ranking factor will rank your business based on how good of a match your company’s keywords are to the user’s search. It’s important to include detailed, accurate information so Google can accurately match you with the consumer.
Distance: Google will place and rank those in the local pack by how far away they are from the user’s defined search, such as “… near me,” “… within 25 miles,” or “…open nearby.” If a location isn’t specified, Google will give higher priority to those companies that are close by.
Prominence: The prominence ranking helps to list local companies by how well they’re known in their online and offline communities. Companies with a higher prominence will place higher in the local pack. Higher prominence can be achieved by being listed in local directories or by other authoritative websites that link back to your website.
Unlike GMB profiles which make it easy to rank number one for your branded terms, local pack focuses more on ranking for non-branded terms. For example, Perfect Afternoon ranks second when you search “Pleasant Ridge web development,” a non-branded term for our company. Customer reviews can also affect your local pack ranking as well as the customer’s trust in your service or product.
According to a survey by Bright Local, 84% of customers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations; Think with Google data even shows that percentage is higher at 88%. Similarly, 74% of survey respondents said they trust a business that has mostly positive reviews.
It’s about more than just getting positive reviews. For local SEO to work well, cannabis companies need to respond promptly to positive and negative reviews to show customers they’re trustworthy and credible. To be part of the local pack, it’s paramount that cannabis companies publish enough information online for Google to crawl that may match with an internet user’s search.
Leverage Local Keywords
Local SEO for cannabis companies doesn’t end with Google’s free tools. Keywords can be a great way to leverage your local search rankings.
Using local keywords, like the city or state your company is located in, across your website and GMB profile can be highly advantageous to where you place in search results and how many potential customers see you online.
Local keywords can be added into the headings used across your website, as well as in the meta descriptions for your pages. The slug could include a geo-specific or keyword-specific term in the URL or adding alt tags to your photos and videos to pinpoint their, and subsequently your, location.
Establish Directory Listings
Beyond the Google My Business profile your company should set up, there are a number of other directories online that your company can benefit from being listed on. Being listed on local directories, like Yelp, YellowPages, and more specifically Weedmaps for the cannabis industry, can further optimize your local search results and give authority to your brand.
Weedmaps is an online community that allows consumers to search for cannabis products and locate them, as well as read about cannabis-related news, industry updates, review cannabis businesses they’ve dealt with, and connect with other users. The tool is free for companies to use. On top of Weedmaps, there are other directories that focus on all services and products in the cannabis industry.
Optimize All Your Locations
For a cannabis company with multiple storefronts, it’s advantageous to optimize each location separately for local SEO rather than try to have one parent company carry them all to the top.
We recommend creating multiple landing pages for each location your company owns, so those locations can be optimized individually with great keywords and their own Google My Business listing. That way when a customer searches for where to buy marijuana fertilizer in Detroit, for example, they can be directed to a location of yours that’s closest to them, rather than a broader national list of results.
Let the Professionals Help
At Perfect Afternoon, we know SEO can be a daunting task for some cannabis companies, and leaning into local SEO is only one facet of that, but we don’t expect you to know it all. That’s why we’re here to help.
We know local SEO has the power to transcend your cannabis company to a higher level, which will only result in greater brand awareness and more customers coming through your door. The question is, are you ready to get started? Contact us today; we can be your best new bud for digital marketing.
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