In this article, we illustrate everything you need to know about SEO for cannabis websites. If you own and operate a hemp CBD e-commerce website or a retail marijuana dispensary, here are 11 effective dispensary SEO tactics and cannabis SEO tips to increase organic traffic from potential customers.
Essential Tips on SEO For Cannabis Websites
If you’re looking to improve your cannabis marketing SEO, search engine rankings, and drive real qualified traffic to your cannabis website, this article is going to help you get there, and fast!
In fact, the best time to be thinking about SEO for cannabis websites is when you’re just “budding” and starting to launch your marijuana business.
Even better, if you have an existing CBD or cannabis website, or are in the early stages of designing and developing your website, we’re going to outline 11 key steps to take, starting today, to get your cannabis marketing & SEO on point from the get-go.
Before we get started, if you’re unfamiliar with cannabis SEO strategy or what SEO for cannabis websites can actually do to help grow your brand awareness and online traffic to your store, check out these resources:
- Start Your Cannabis SEO Strategy With These 8 Steps
- 7 Cannabis SEO Tips That Will Boost Rankings & Increase Website Traffic
- How to Implement an SEO Strategy For Cannabis Marketing
Now let’s get to how you can improve your cannabis SEO strategy and start driving more highly qualified traffic to your website for FREE from organic search! Here are the best 11 Tips on SEO For Cannabis Websites.
1. Choose Your Cannabis Company Domain Carefully
While domain names don’t mean as much to Google today as they did many years ago, domain names for cannabis SEO are still part of Google’s 200+ ranking factors.
It’s definitely something that their algorithms take into to account to figure out what website is relevant to a potential customer’s search query.
Just be smart and careful about it. For example, a new client we recently began working with was in the process of registering a few domains they planned to use to for their new CBD website and online store.
A few of the domains this client picked out had the term “CBD” in the domain and matched his brand well. These were clearly good choices.
However, through our work with advertising cannabis on Google & Facebook, and recent campaigns with advertising cannabis and CBD products on Google, we’ve found that many digital platforms are more “friendly” with other terms.
So we suggested that our client also purchase similar, branded domain names with a few other semantically related terms that Google and Facebook seem to be ok with.
2. Find a Credible Hosting Company That Will Support Your Ecommerce
Website hosting for cannabis websites is 100% possible, and legal, but you need to make sure the provider you choose is reputable. Ask around to other website owners, do your own research, and read online reviews.
When it comes to choosing a hosting platform that works best for SEO for cannabis sites there are a few things you need to be aware of which we’ll outline here.
First things first, speed matters.
If you haven’t already heard, Google has gone on record to say that the load time of your website’s pages on mobile devices is definitely an important SEO ranking factor that will affect your site’s search engine rankings and overall cannabis SEO strategy.
Just think about your own patience when it comes to browsing your favourite websites for news and updates and online shopping. People are super impatient and we all expect sites to load within seconds, if not faster, right?
There are a number of ways to increase your website’s page speed which will significantly impact your cannabis SEO game plan, but one of the most basic, an important things is to pick a website hosting provider that will deliver on consistent speeds.
One more thing to confirm with your cannabis website hosting provider is that they can integrate with, i.e. play well together with, your e-commerce payment processes and any associated website plugins.
We’ve gone through a handful of cannabis website development projects where our client’s hosting provider wouldn’t “open up certain ports” within their servers and API so that our client’s payment processor could integrate with it accordingly.
We were using WordPress, with Woo Commerce, and tested the e-commerce and payment processing on our own private servers, our public servers, and on other popular 3rd-party hosting providers, and it worked on them all!
The client chose to move to another hosting provider who’s server’s could integrate with Woo Commerce, and everything turned out well.
But, the point is you can avoid a lot of technical downtime by ensuring your hosting provider actually provides everything you need when it comes to cannabis website hosting.
3. Effective Site Architecture Improves SEO For Cannabis Websites
Are you wondering what exactly is site architecture and how can it help you improve your SEO for cannabis websites? Let’s define it.
Hubspot says website architecture is the way your website is structured or, more specifically, how your website’s structure can help users easily and quickly find information and drive conversions.
Are you starting to see why it’s super important for your cannabis marketing and SEO? Or, are you thinking you have a really small site with just a few pages and all this doesn’t really seem that important right now?
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
It’s highly recommended, and super smart, to plan out your site’s architecture as early as possible so you have a logical and effective structure in places as you grow your business and grow your website.
When it comes to cannabis SEO on websites, you’re far better off to make it super easy for both users, and even more importantly, Google, to understand and effectively crawl your site’s pages in order to index them for relevant (i.e. profitable) keywords.
An example of effective site architecture is to view it as a pyramid structure. Your home page is at the top of the pyramid, and your next most important pages would all go below the home page.
What are examples of your “next important pages”? These are things that would typically be in the main navigation menu of your website. Pages like “About”, “Products”, “Shop”, “Categories”, Blog”, etc.
The strategy here is to plan your site architecture in advance, with the help of an experienced web developer or cannabis SEO specialist, to make sure that your website is properly and effectively organized for customers and search engines.
This means that Google and Bing can clearly understand your site and give priority to the most important pages in terms of how easy they are for visitors to find.
Search engines will also be able to see how organized your cannabis site is and that you make it easier for visitors to navigate between pages on the site to find what they need.
4. Mobile-Friendly Cannabis Sites Win!
This one seems super-duper obvious, I know. But, believe it or not, just this week I reviewed a potential client’s website and it was not mobile optimized or mobile-friendly.
I’m not sure how this can happen because the majority, if not all, WordPress website themes, Shopify templates, etc are all mobile-friendly.
You may not have heard about this cannabis SEO fact but many of the Google search algorithm updates announced in recent years have been all about mobile.
Google even has a separate search index for mobile searches exclusively! That’s right, there are actually 2 search indexes fromGoogle – mobile and desktop.
You, me, and pretty much everyone else uses their phones to do most of their browsing and shopping. That means that your potential customers and the world’s biggest search engines each expect websites to provide an intuitive mobile experience.
Bottom line, if you’re building a new e-commerce cannabis website, it’s imperative for your cannabis SEO strategy to ensure that it’s mobile-friendly.
5. Use Lucrative Keywords in Essential Meta Data Elements
This should be looked at as cannabis SEO 101.
After you or your cannabis SEO consultant have completed comprehensive keyword research, choose a set of popular, but less competitive, long-tail, intent oriented keyword phrases to use in your site’s keyword strategy for important metadata elements like:
- Page title tags
- Headings & subheadings
- Image tags
- On-page text/copy
- Meta descriptions
6. Relevant Cannabis Keywords in Your Title Tags
This is probably one of the most important tags on your website that requires some serious SEO attention.
When crawling your website to identify how it should rank your site, Google reads your page title tags first to learn what the page is all about.
Therefore, when it comes to SEO for cannabis websites, this tag is the most important place to add your primary keyword for that specific page.
The idea is to keep your title tags short (50-60 characters, max), and to the point. Ensure that your primary keyword, and maybe your secondary keyword are part of this tag.
Do not stuff keywords in this tag – ever. Your title tag should sound like natural flowing language.
7. Optimized Headings & Subheadings
The headings and sub-headings used in your actual on-page copy or blog article are just as important for search engines as they are to your site visitors and potential customers.
Users will appreciate headings and sub-headings because they allow you, or your cannabis content writer, to organize the text so that it’s easy to read, and/or easier to scan.
As for Google, if you’re using optimized headings and sub-headings you’re better helping Google to understand what your page is about, and therefore how and where to rank in search results.
8. Cannabis-Related Images Present a Huge SEO Opportunity
In my 15+ years of doing SEO, I’ve found a little secret that many SEOs and website developers have overlooked for years, and still continue to overlook today.
Every single image on your website, from header images to product images to blog images, all present incredible SEO opportunities that will help your CBD website get ranked faster.
Look at it this way, your site visitors can see the images on your site, but Google can’t “see” the images that are user-facing – i.e. on the screen.
In order for Google to understand what the images are on your page, smart and experienced CBD SEO professional use the image tags to drop in targeted and relevant keywords which can definitely increase your search rankings and boost your hemp CBD SEO.
The most important meta tags to optimize images are:
- Image filename
- Alt Attribute
- Title Attribute
- Image Description
When looking for a cannabis SEO agency make sure you ask them about their SEO strategy when it comes to optimizing website images. Magic can happen if you take the time to effectively optimize your image tags as part of your overall cannabis SEO game plan.
9. On-Page Cannabis SEO Copywriting
Ok, you need to be super careful when it comes to on-page SEO copywriting these days. For years now, Google will absolutely notice the old-school, black-hat practice of keyword stuffing.
As long as your cannabis content writing team are able to strategically use your target keywords and semantically related terms in contexts where they make sense, and sound like natural flowing language, your CBD hemp site SEO can significantly improve.
The key is to choose target keywords and relevant synonyms that describe exactly what the page is about.
10. Use Unique Meta Descriptions For Each Page
Here’s another gem of an SEO opportunity. Your page meta descriptions.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started to optimize a website or conduct an SEO Audit, only to see that meta descriptions are duplicated on every single page!
This was clearly done by a web developer who knows little about SEO best practices, or even worse, by a hemp SEO consultant who should be doing something else for a living.
The meta description in the portion of text that is under the Page title and the link in search results – highlighted in yellow here:
Every webpage should have a unique & highly relevant meta description that informs the user of exactly what the page is about.
If the user feels the description shows that the given page will answer their query, they’ll click on it, right?
If your site has engaging and optimized meta descriptions, your click-through rate from organic search will be much higher.
Google helps websites with this because any words in your description that match the terms a user searched for will be in bold font in the search listings. This helps draw a person’s attention to your result.
Since searchers are looking for an answer or a product, and they are trying to decide which of the results to choose, you can use the meta description to make a case for why your page is worth the click.
Always write a relevant meta description for every page on your website. Try to incorporate your keyword(s) for the page naturally in the description to hopefully end up with some bolded text on the search results page, and use the space to provide a brief description about what’s valuable on the page.
11. Start an Internal Linking Strategy From The Start, or Now!
Google’s original search listings, its original search index, was created because of relevant websites linking to each other, and other people linking to relevant websites.
In other words, Google’s search listing was built on links. The most important thing for any cannabis SEO marketing, or SEO as a whole, is links/backlinks.
When you link pages of your website together, with relevant, but not “keyword stuffed” anchor text, you’re giving Google the exact information they need to understand what your website’s pages are about (i.e. relevant for) and how the content on your site is related to search queries from potential customers.
Essentially, internal linking helps Google understand how to rank the different pages of your website. It also helps users stay on your site longer clicking through to related content.
All of this helps to improve your site’s authority, relevance, and trust, which improves your overall cannabis SEO plan.
We Can Help You With Your Cannabis SEO Game Plan
Organic search can be an extremely lucrative channel for your cannabis, CBD, or hemp business. There are no advertising restrictions!
With the experienced implementation of strategic cannabis SEO on your website, you can drive highly relevant potential customers to your site, for free, from organic search listings.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are searching for information on CBD (top of the funnel targets), vetting different CBD brands (middle of the funnel targets), and those who are looking to buy hemp and CBD oil online, right now.
Search engine optimization (SEO) for your website will help you attract the right people to your site, at the right time – when they are searching for info or to buy.
If you’re ready to get started, please contact us now to request a quote, or call us for a free 30-minute phone consult.
We’re Ready To Help You Grow!