Marijuana SEO: Local SEO for Dispensaries
Marijuana SEO is the act of optimizing your dispensary’s website and building quality backlinks to it, resulting in more organic (free) traffic from Google and other search engines. Many dispensary owners aren’t aware of this relatively simple way to get more visitors and customers into your store… both online and offline.
This method of gaining more visitors from Google Maps, Google Local and Google Places is called Local SEO.
Why Local SEO is important for Dispensaries
You may be asking why search engine optimization is so important for dispensary websites. One of the most important reasons is that most of your customers will search for you online before even thinking about visiting your dispensary.
This means it vital that your dispensary shows up before your competitors or you may be losing a lot of potential customers. Another important reason is that customers who find you first are more likely to visit your store instead of your competitors!
Another important reason for using Marijuana SEO on your dispensary website is that local searches are the key to customers finding your business via Google. Here local search for ‘nevada dispensaries’ where you can see 3 of the top rated dispensaries in that area:
With Local SEO, your dispensary can be at the top of this list!
Many small business and dispensary owners think that local SEO is difficult and time-consuming… and you may be right, but its one of the most profitable investments you can make on a online business or dispensary.
So how does it work? We are going to get in-depth with some powerful techniques that will increase your dispensaries traffic online and in-store with local SEO.
Local SEO for Dispensaries
Local SEO is probably the most important SEO technique you should be using for your dispensary. Local SEO helps you rank better in the geographical area around your business. For example, if someone searches ‘Dispensaries near me’ while they are in Denver, Colorado, Google will show more results of dispensaries in that area.
The reason that local SEO is so important for dispensaries is because 99% of the time, searchers are looking for local dispensaries to visit instead of just viewing random dispensaries throughout the United States. Local SEO will help you rank better than the competition in your businesses geographical area.
The very first step when looking to do Cannabis or Marijuana SEO is to add your dispensary/business to Google My Business:
Google My Business
Adding your business to Google My Business is pretty simple. Just head to Google My Business and click the big green ‘Start Now’ button.
Fill in the appropriate fields in the ‘add your business’ form.
Make sure that you copy this information (or write it down) exactly how you have added it here. We are going to add NAP(W) (name, address, phone, website) citations to more directories and consistency is very important with these citations.
When you have added the all the details about your business, making sure everything is correct and spelled right, click ‘Continue’ to confirm your Google My Business listing for your dispensary.
Once complete, Google will mail you a postcard to your dispensary in about 1-2 weeks time. When you receive the postcard, it will have a 4 digit code on it that you will use to confirm your dispensaries location in Google My Business.
Your dispensary should now be view-able in Google Places, Google Maps and in Local searches like these:
Add Your Dispensary to Marijuana Directories
Now that you have added your dispensary to Google My Business, its time to get more citations on relevant directories. This will increase your position in search engines for local dispensary searches and boost your rankings overall.
We have collected a handful of great marijuana dispensary directories to add your store to. Remember to submit the exact same information you submitted to Google so that it’s consistent across the web.
Leafly is one of the largest marijuana sites and directories out there. You can add your dispensary to Leafly.com, which will help boost your search rankings, gain more referral traffic and make your brand more visible to your target audience.
Simply visit Leafly’s Dispensary Addition page and add all of your relevant NAP+W information, making sure it matches what you submitted to Google. Once they can verify your dispensary, they will contact you about adding you to their dispensary directory.
Adding your dispensary to Weedmaps can increase your cannabis SEO and referrals from the popular app/website. To submit your dispensary to Weedmaps, simply head to their website and create a free account.
Once you have created an account, visit the Add a Dispensary page where you can enter your dispensaries NAP+W information.
Remember to keep it consistent with all the other listings you submit online.
When you are done confirming your dispensaries listing information, click the ‘ADD DISPENSARY’ button and you will be taken to the dispensary list page, where you can see all the dispensaries you have added. If you have multiple dispensary locations, add them all here.
To view your listing click the action dropdown and select ‘view’ to see how your listing looks in Weedmaps.
In order to get your listing to go live, Weedmaps must verify your listing and will call the number provided to confirm you are a real business/dispensary.
Once they approve your dispensary, it will be searchable in Weedmaps. Be sure to add as much multimedia and information as possible.
This means adding your marijuana menu, hours, contact phone/email, images of your products and even videos. The more you add, the more likely you are to show up higher in the list. Having great reviews is another important factor for how you rank in Weedmaps, so be sure to ask your customers to review and rate you.
Try adding a link to your Weedmaps listing on your dispensary website so users can easily rate and review their experience at your dispensary.
Submitting your dispensary to GetNugg is a little more of a manual process than the first 2 directories. In order to get included in GetNuggs dispensary directory, you must email them your dispensary information so they can manually add you to their directory.
Send an email to email@example.com that includes your dispensaries name, address, phone, website and any other relevant information that you have submitted to the previous listings. Once GetNugg verifies you’re a real dispensary, they will include to in their dispensary directory.
MerryJane.com is another popular marijuana-related website that has a dispensary directory that will boost your Marijuana SEO. Adding your dispensary to MerryJane’s directory is very similar to GetNugg.
Simply head to MerryJane.com and scroll all the way to the footer of the website.
In the resources menu, there is a link to ‘Add a Dispensary’.
If your dispensary is not already included in their directory, then click this link and fill out the contact form:
Add your business email and enter your dispensaries contact information and click Submit.
When MerryJane confirms your dispensary has been addded, they will send you an email confirmation with your dispensaries link.
If your dispensary is already listed at Merry Jane and you want to claim it, you can go to the bottom and click claim dispensary.
You can also visit your dispensaries listing, and click the ‘claim it now’ link in the basic info box. This will allow you to take control of the listing and add/update any important information.
Dispensaries Near Me
Dispensaries Near Me is another great dispensary directory that you can add your business citation to. They feature a simple user interface and free submissions that will boost your marijuana SEO for your dispensary’s website.
Local NAP Citations
Not only is submitting your dispensary’s listing information to marijuana-related sites important, but its also important to add it to normal Local IYP (internet yellow pages) aggregators like YellowPages, Superpages, Yellowbook and Manta.
Including your listing is as many IYP website directories will help increase your local SEO and grow your traffic from local searches. Remember to keep your listings consistent all throughout the web and fill out as much information as possible at as many IYP sites as possible.
There are also services like Manta.com, that submit your information to most of these sites automatically so that you don’t have to manually add it all over the web.
On-Page SEO for Dispensaries
Another very important part of Marijuana SEO for dispensaries is having a well-coded, SEO-friendly website. Search engine optimization is always evolving so sticking to the latest Cannabis SEO principles can allow your dispensary to rank the best it can.
This is accomplished by adhering to the latest on-page SEO practices for dispensaries which include the following tactics:
Structured & Schema Data
Google is great at crawling website but sometimes it has a hard time deciphering what a website is about, what companies it is and whats included in it. This is why having structured data on your dispensary’s website is critical to ranking well in Google.
Structured data tags can be added to your site to provide additional information for:
- Creative Work
This means that you can add structured data schemas to your website if you have a place, product or even events.
When you include this data on your website, you can stand out from your competitors by allowing Google to display additional snippets about your webpage.
As you can see here, structured data was added that shows ratings and votes for this Leafly app.
To add structured data to your dispensary’s website, just use a structured data generator tool and fill in your dispensaries information (making sure it matches your NAP listings).
It will spit out some code which you need to add to your footer so it’s on every page of your dispensary’s website. You should also add this code to your contact us page.
Here is some sample code for Local Business:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness"> <h1 itemprop="name">Marijuana SEO</h1> <p itemprop="descripton">Marijuana SEO provides high quality SEO & Marketing for Dispensaries.</p> <p>Open: <time itemprop="openingHours" datetime="Mo-Fi 09:00-17:00">Monday-Friday 9am-5pm</time></p> <p>Phone: <span itemprop="telephone" content="+16463502789">800-208-9214</span></p> <address itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress" itemprop="address"> <span itemprop="streetAddress">420 SEO street</span> <span itemprop="addressLocality">Denver</span>, <span itemprop="addressRegion">CO</span> <span itemprop="postalCode">80014</span> </address> </div>
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is your report card from Google about how your site is doing in Googles rankings, how many errors it has and other very important information about how Google sees your dispensary’s website.
To add your dispensary’s website to Google Webmaster Tools head to the Google Webmaster Console and click ‘Add A Property’.
Verify Your Dispensary
Next, you have to verify that you own the website/domain that you are trying to add to Google Webmaster Tools.
Add Google Verification Code
In order to prove to Google that you own the website you added, they ask that you confirm your site by either using Analytics, File Upload, DNS, Google Tag Manager or HTML tag.
The easiest way is to add the simple HTML tag to the header if your website. Select the HTML tag radio button and a special code will show up that looks like this:
<meta name="google-site-verification" content="nT0o3GJh09cFrsPFtFVYxMwReZNapE13t5wBRH_Olbg" />
Copy this tag and add it to the homepage of your site in between the <head> and </head> sections.
Once added to your website, head back to Google Webmaster Tools and select ‘Verify’.
Your website is now verified in Google Webmaster Tools.
Note: Be sure to add all the versions of your website if you have both an https and http version.
Submit Your Sitemap
A sitemap tells Google all your URLs, pages, images and other data that helps them better crawl your website and index important pages that you may not be linking to.
Submitting your sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools is quite simple depending on what your dispensary’s website is running on.
If you use WordPress, creating a sitemap is as simple as download the Yoast SEO Plugin and creating a sitemap through the plugin.
Once you install the plugin, it will automatically create a sitemap at: yoursite.com/sitemap_index.xml
In Webmaster Tools, click Crawl->Sitemaps to go to the sitemap management page.
Click Add/Test Sitemap in the top right corner and add the URL to your sitemap.
Click ‘Submit’ and your sitemap will now be submitted to Google!
Heading tags are what tell search engines what your website, sections or pages are about. These tags are normal HTML tags that look like this:
Using these tags on your dispensary’s website is vital to ranking well in Google and other search engines. But you can’t just throw them all over your pages.
The heading tags have a set structure to adhere to that if set up correctly, can increase your rankings significantly for target keywords:
- The H1 tag is the most important heading tag and often describes the web page.
- The H2 tag is the second most important heading tag and is used to describe a section of a web page.
- The H3 tag is the third most important heading tag and can describe a sub section.
Having this structure on your website will help it be more search engine (and user) friendly.
Meta tags are HTML tags that are placed in the <head></head> section of your web pages. They describe what the web pages are about and have a strong effect on your rankings in Google and other large search engines like Bing/Yahoo.
The title tag is an important meta tag for Cannabis SEO. It provides search engines and browsers text to use for displaying results and tabs.
Here is an example of our website in the SERPs (search engine results pages) and you can see that the title tag used for this page is: ‘Marijuana SEO: Marijuana Marketing & SEO Agency‘
So you can see how having a good meta title can increase the click-through-rate of your search engine listings. The better and more relevant your title tags are, the higher chance that people will visit your website.
You should also use unique meta titles on every page of your website. Google will ding you for using duplicate meta titles for one or multiple pages.
<title>Marijuana SEO: Marijuana Marketing & SEO Agency</title>
The description tag is also an important meta tag that describes what a web page is about in more detail than the title. Search engines like Google, often use the meta description as the information text in the SERPs.
Here is another example of our homepage in Google in which they are using our meta description as the text to describe the web page.
Just like the meta title, you can see that this is a very important tag to have on your site. Visitors often read this to see if the web page is what they were searching for.
Also remember to use unique meta descriptions on every page of your website. Google will ding you for using duplicate meta descriptions.
<meta name="description" content="We specialize in Marijuana SEO & Marketing for dispensaries all around the United States. Start getting more traffic to your website and store.">
When it comes to good Marijuana SEO, using alt tags on your dispenary website can increase your rankings in both local searches and worldwide searches. Alt tags are HTML tags that are placed on image tags to describe the image.
Google is really good at crawling and reading text but its still hard for Google to decode images. This is why using alt tags is so important to having good SEO for your dispensary. Alt tags should explain the image like you are explaining the image to a blind person.
<img src="/path/to/image.png" alt="marijuana seo image"/>
Make sure that your entire dispensary’s website has alt tags on every image. If you feature products or a menu, add alt tags to each image and describe the strain or whatever the image is about.
This will help increase your searches from Google Images, which will in turn, increase your normal rankings.
Have a Responsive Dispensary Website
Google has announced that it gives priority in the SERPs (search engine results pages) to websites that are mobile-friendly.
So in order to have good Marijuana SEO, your dispensary must have a responsive website that works on all devices.
This will increase your time-on-page, which tells Google that people like your website, resulting in better rankings.
Publish Good Marijuana Content
Google loves good content… and so do people using Google. That is why having quality content on your dispensary’s website is ideal to having good Cannabis SEO.
When you create good content, people link to it…and that’s the most important part of getting great rankings.
Backlinks are like votes, and whoever has the most votes for a certain keyword is going to be #1 in Google.
Content can come in many forms but here are a few to get started:
- Marijuana Strain Reviews
- Marijuana Videos
- Marijuana Articles
- Marijuana Infographics
- Marijuana Podcasts
If you take out a few hours a week to create some good content and publish it on your dispensary’s website, you will see a large increase in organic traffic.
Wrapping Up With Local SEO for Dispensaries
We have gone through a lot about Cannabis SEO for dispensaries but if you take the time to implement the techniques mentioned above, you will see a large increase in organic traffic to your dispensary’s website and even your store!
If you simply don’t have the time or would like a professional agency to help you with your SEO, we provide a high-quality Marijuana SEO service that helps grow your small dispensary into a marijuana-selling machine.
Tyler Horvath is a serial entrepreneur, digital marketing expert and King of Search Engine Optimization, with over 15 years experience building traffic online.