MUSKEGON – Search engine optimization (SEO) for a cannabis business website is the fuel that makes your site rank (or show on top) when a specific topic is searched.

It is the process of getting traffic to your cannabis website via free or organic search. As you know, the competition in cannabis is fierce, so the engines behind Google, Bing and Safari need to present the BEST and most relevant sites to the searcher. This magic is done via algorithms, a mathematical and super-secret formula that takes into account hundreds of bits of information and that determine the ranking for keywords.

SEO has an air of mystery about it, and everyone wants it to work for them and to be a top-ranking page. Big companies have SEO staff or consultants that help with SEO, but what if you’re a cannabis start-up or a marijuana entrepreneur without resources to work on SEO day-to-day?

Don’t despair. We have some ideas for you to use to make the SEO for your cannabis business website work.

Here’s the thing: it takes time and effort, and results might come slowly. But if you’re persistent, you can make it happen.

SEO is comprised of multiple factors that work together for a successful search.

It begins with content on your site that matches a search, which are words people use when searching. If your website is rich with keywords that match what people are looking for, that’s a good start.

You need content that is optimized on your website, keywords and meta descriptions for each page. The words that people are searching for should exist on the page name, in the headers, and frequently within the content itself. A meta description is a small amount of content on a web page that tells the search engines and readers what’s there. Take care to write good meta descriptions that reflect how users are searching.

Content creation is essential to successful SEO for the cannabis business website, and that’s where people tend to have trouble. Creating content about cannabis is fun and easy if you’re a writer, videographer, or photographer. But, if you don’t have those skills, you’ll struggle, and fresh content is essential to SEO. People often ask about how often content needs to be added to a website. Ideally, three times a week. Yikes! Who has time for that? Shoot for once a week, or at least twice a month. And before you talk yourself into once a month, create a list of 26 topics you can write about, and you’ll have a starting point.

mac on a table, to illustrate SEO search for a cannabis business website

Other SEO Tips and Tricks.

You need to have an SSL or secure site, which is a certificate (of safety essentially) that you can get via your website host. You need to have a website that loads quickly, check your page speed here. A speed test will give you some ideas to speed things up for users.

Your site should have been created with mobile as its focus. You know instantly on a mobile device if a website isn’t mobile-friendly, and you don’t want that to be your cannabis business. Use the free Moz tool to review your domain name and authority. It provides a score between 1 and 100 and other information you might find useful. You can also review the domains of your competition and see how you compare.

When you review your Google analytics, check on the bounce rate and time on page data. Both have an impact on your SEO, and you want a low number of bounces and a longer time on page. If you have a high bounce rate, something isn’t working, and people are finding your site and leaving. Think about why that might be the case.

Links within your website and post are essential to your SEO success. You need to be generous with your outbound links and look for opportunities for backlinks (links to your site) too. The more credible a site that backlinks to you is, the better your SEO will be.

Social sharing also helps improve your SEO. Make sure to post your new content on your social media pages and in groups where you’re a member.

Make sure that you have a business listing on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Having an accurate listing with reviews, where that applies will help with your SEO.

image of a google business page to illustrate SEO for a cannabis business website
Example of a Google business listing

Inside of your site (if it is a WordPress site), there is a plug-in called Yoast. Yoast will virtually coach you through making new content SEO-rich. It will help you make decisions on headlines, keywords, keyword frequency and other SEO tricks. If not for Yoast, we’d be a lot less successful with our Canna Communication SEO.

Lastly, don’t ignore your alt text on photos within your site. Alt text is written for visually impaired users who are looking at your website. Write text that use your keywords and reflect the essence of the image. It not only helps your SEO, but you’re also doing something right to make your site welcoming and inclusive to all users.

Need help with implementing search engine optimization (SEO) for a cannabis business website? Give us a jingle we’d love to help you out.

Roberta King is CEO of Canna Communication, a Cannabis business marketing, and public relations company. She is based in Muskegon. You can email her at Roberta@CannaCommunication.Com.