SEO is a crucial driver of sales for any company, particularly in such challenging industries as cannabis retail. Despite the rapid growth of consumption, businesses are still facing challenges due to sporadic legalization and a ban on online ads. Their experience highlights the best tips and tricks for search engine optimization in 2022.
You can invest a lot of time and money in building a site, but if users cannot find it, all that effort will be wasted. While aesthetics and navigation are important, they will not push you to the top of Google search. The collaborative and detail-oriented team of the MjSeo agency helps cannabis businesses shine. Here are some of the most effective strategies for 2022.
What SEO Is All About
Most consumers use Google to discover new products and services. The tech giant rates websites based on a spectrum of criteria concerning content, appearance, and authority.
To make the most of your web presence, you need a comprehensive strategy covering all the bases.
While some businesses try to manipulate their rankings, they cannot get away with it.
Black-hat practices like keyword stuffing trigger penalties that may take months or years to remove. Play by the rules and focus on what Google values the most — relevant high-quality content that helps users solve their problems.
In the eyes of Google, website quality includes valuable and well-researched content, domain authority, mobile optimization, quick loading, and different aspects of design and user experience. Professionals will suggest an all-around strategy to help you get to the top. By building your website in the right way and optimizing it, you will drive traffic, conversions, and revenues.
1. Keyword Research
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What would you enter into Google to find the products or services you sell? It is preferable to focus on long-tail keywords, as they are more specific. For example, “health effects of CBD” is too broad to drive traffic to a cannabis dispensary. A more likely combination is “buy weed in (city)”.
You can use different tools, such as SEMRush or the content explorer of Ahrefs, to identify the most effective keywords for cannabis, marijuana, CBD, seeds, etc. Changes in search volumes reveal big opportunities in organic search.
Use the keywords on each of your pages, add them to URLs, titles, and metadata descriptions. Avoid using too many in one place, as you create content for customers, not search engines. Consider the following:
- Average monthly searches over time.
- Search intent (if the keyword is relevant to your product or service).
- Domain and page authority of top-ranking sites compared to yours.
- Keyword difficulty (how hard it is to rank for this word or phrase).
For example, Google interprets “cannabis tincture” and “marijuana tincture” as keywords for the same search intent. The traffic for these simple collocations has been rising for years, and they work well for e-stores with modifiers like “buy online” or “best”.
2. Building a Link Profile
To assess the credibility of your website, Google looks at other websites that refer to it.
Building a strong backlink profile is crucial for effective SEO. The more high-quality referrals you get, the higher your own authority for the algorithms.
Link quality pertains to the status of your referring websites. For example, a link from a university website or research institute is more valuable than a few dozen links from blogs. The easiest way to generate a profile is by using the services of an SEO agency specializing in cannabis.
When building backlinks, it is important to choose appropriate anchors. An anchor is a text (several words) that contains your hyperlink. It requires as much attention as the choice of keywords. If your anchors look irrelevant, they will only hurt your profile, credibility, and rankings. Here are a few tips:
- Anchors must look natural
Every anchor must describe where it leads to in just a few words. At the same time, it should not look out of place in the context of the article. Do not try to twist the content just to incorporate your link. Make sure all paragraphs with anchors look normal.
- Use relevant keywords
Links attached to “click here” or “go to website” look too random to be effective. Instead, leverage your keyword research. The match may be exact or partial, and you can also use your brand name! Do not abuse keywords, though, as your anchors will look spammy.
3. Producing Plenty of First-Class Content
Be committed to producing useful, engaging, and well-optimized content. Create well-researched articles that bring actual value to readers. Focus on the expectations and preferences of your audience to meet their informational needs.
Include photos and videos, as graphics are always more engaging than pure text. At the same time, be careful to pick the optimal quality, as large files can slow down the site.
Establish yourself as the go-to source for cannabis insights and keep the content updated to stay relevant.
4. Harnessing Social Media
Social media does not allow cannabis ads, but you can still achieve a lot with a solid presence on these networks. Make Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn your ally in driving organic traffic. These platforms connect billions of people, so they can expose your brand to a gigantic audience.
Your company’s profile will also rank in search results. It is a business necessity, just like desk chairs or printer ink. You must be on social media, even though building an engaged community is not easy. Use your social media channels to promote your blog and website content. Your profiles will also bring organic traffic, just like search engines!
To Sum up
In-depth keyword research and link building are still crucial for SEO. Develop a solid presence on social media to gain another channel of traffic, and focus on the quality of content. In a highly censored industry like cannabis, companies should become educators. Help customers learn more about cannabis, CBD, and other products. Make your website a trusted source of information, and your rankings will surge.