Local SEO for Dispensaries: Best Tips & Strategies in 2023

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Local SEO for dispensaries is a non-negotiable strategy for winning traffic in your geographic area. As a local business owner, you don’t always want (or need) broad traffic—you need hyper-focused customers in your area.

Local SEO can be a competitive landscape, especially in the world of cannabis, hemp, and CBD. Fortunately, we have the tips and strategies you need to succeed and beat out the competition.

What Is Local SEO for Dispensaries?

Why Are Local SEO Strategies Important?

Let’s face it: the cannabis industry is growing rapidly, and competition is increasing. As a dispensary owner, standing out in the crowd has never been more crucial.

Implementing local SEO strategies effectively can put you a step ahead, enhancing your potential to attract a larger share of the local market. This leads to better visibility, more customers, and, ultimately, improved business performance.

But there’s more.

You see, local search results don’t just show locations—they also display reviews of your dispensary. These reviews are like word-of-mouth recommendations in the digital age. They play a significant role in shaping the perception of your business. A stack of positive reviews can be the deciding factor for potential customers choosing between you and your competitor.

Reviews have power. A potential customer who reads about the top-notch service and quality cannabis products at your dispensary is more likely to drop by and see for themselves. It’s about creating a strong first impression that encourages customers to choose you.

For cannabis dispensaries, local SEO is a must-have. In the increasingly competitive cannabis industry, every tool and strategy that boosts your visibility counts. Local search results not only help you reach potential customers but also allows you to build credibility and trust through customer reviews.

Driving Organic Traffic to Your Local Dispensary

Let’s talk about visitors to your website.

Now, there are several ways they might find you, but two are very popular:

  • Organic search results
  • Paid ads

Organic Search Traffic

First up, organic traffic. This is the crowd that stumbles upon your website naturally, all thanks to search engines like Google. Flashy ads don’t entice these folks—instead, they find you through their own searches.

It’s like bumping into a fantastic restaurant while taking a stroll down the street—it’s unplanned, but it might just be your new favorite spot.

What’s great about organic traffic?

Well, first off, it’s free. There’s no advertising cost attached to these visitors. It’s the result of a robust local SEO strategy that puts your dispensary on the map for potential customers. Plus, these visitors tend to be more engaged. They’re actively searching for what you offer, and when they find you, they’re more likely to stick around.

Paid Search Advertisements

Now, onto paid ads.

While they can be a helpful tool to drive more traffic to your website, they’re like renting a flashy billboard—once you stop paying, it comes down, and so does your visibility. Paid ads can offer a quick boost but might not provide the long-lasting impact that organic SEO strategies can.

But here’s where things get tricky for cannabis dispensaries. Due to current regulations and policies, many major advertising platforms do not allow cannabis businesses to use paid ads. It’s a bit of a stumbling block in the path to visibility.

That’s why, for cannabis dispensaries, a strong local SEO strategy isn’t just a good-to-have; it’s an essential part of success.

With the inability to use paid ads, SEO becomes the key player in getting your cannabis dispensary noticed. It’s your ticket to increased visibility, attracting potential customers who are actively searching for your products.

It might take some time to build up, but remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. With the right local SEO strategy, you can steadily grow your online presence, draw in organic traffic, and, ultimately, boost your business growth.

Local SEO Vs. National SEO?

National SEO focuses on ranking keywords nationally, disregarding geographic location. It’s essential for businesses targeting a national or international audience.

On the other hand, local SEO is all about reaching local customers. It’s about getting your dispensary in front of people in your specific geographic area.

For cannabis dispensaries, local SEO is crucial since they primarily serve local customers. Unless you distribute more broadly, you want local customers with purchase intent.

By implementing a well-planned local SEO strategy, dispensaries can improve their visibility to potential customers within their area, increasing the likelihood of attracting more visitors to their physical locations.

Mastering the Local 3-Pack

Appearing in the Google local pack—the top results that appear when someone makes a local search on Google—can significantly increase your dispensary’s visibility and attract more local customers.

It’s a coveted spot that can give your dispensary a competitive edge.

Additionally, having a strong local SEO strategy can also improve your dispensary’s online reputation. By appearing in the local pack, your business can be perceived as more credible and trustworthy, leading to more customers choosing your dispensary over competitors.

Local Ranking Factors

Local ranking factors include factors like:

  • Proximity (how close the searcher is to your dispensary)
  • Relevance (how relevant your dispensary is to the searcher’s query)
  • Prominence (how well-known your business is)

Understanding these factors can help you optimize your local SEO strategy.

Moreover, other factors such as online reviews and Google My Business signals also play a crucial role in local rankings.

Ensuring your business has positive online reviews and a well-optimized Google Business Profile can significantly improve your chances of ranking high in local search results.

Best Local SEO Strategies for Dispensaries

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO, in the simplest terms, is like the backbone of your website. It’s all about optimizing different parts of your website to ensure it ranks well in search engines and attracts the right audience. If you’re running a cannabis dispensary, on-page SEO is your secret tool to catch the attention of potential customers.

Picture your dispensary’s website like a well-stocked shelf at your store. Just as you’d organize your products for easy accessibility, on-page SEO helps structure your website in a way that’s easy to understand and navigate for visitors and search engines.

It involves tweaking various elements on your website, from the content you publish to the meta descriptions and title tags you use, all with the aim of increasing your search rankings.

Another vital part of on-page SEO is speaking the same language as your customers—and I mean this quite literally. This is where keyword research comes into play. For instance, if you’re a dispensary that specializes in a particular strain of cannabis, you’ll want to include that keyword naturally in your content.

This way, when potential customers search for that strain, your website is more likely to appear in their search results.

Let’s take an example.

Suppose you’re running a dispensary in Denver and notice that “best cannabis edibles in Denver”  is a popular search term among your target audience. An effective on-page SEO strategy would be to create a blog post on your website discussing your top-selling cannabis edibles in Denver.

Not only does this target the specific keyword, but it also provides valuable content to your audience—a win-win!

Google Business Profile Optimization

Google Business Profile, previously known as Google My Business (GMB), is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including search and maps. It plays a crucial role in local SEO, allowing your dispensary to appear in local search results and on Google Maps, boosting your visibility.

Google Business Profile is also an excellent platform for showcasing customer reviews, providing directions to your dispensary, and sharing updates about your business.

Regularly updating your profile and encouraging customers to leave reviews can significantly enhance your online presence.

Creating a Compliant Dispensary Website

Adhering to all legal requirements and regulations is essential when creating a dispensary website. This includes age verification measures and accurate product descriptions. A compliant website helps you avoid legal issues, and fosters trust with your customers.

However, compliance alone is not enough. Your website also needs to be SEO-friendly. This involves using relevant keywords, having a mobile-friendly design, and providing high-quality content. An SEO-friendly website is more likely to rank higher on search engines, which can lead to increased visibility and more customers.

Local Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines. It’s a crucial part of SEO as it helps you understand what keywords your target audience is using. Incorporating these keywords into your content can attract more relevant traffic to your website.

Keyword research also helps you understand your competition. By identifying what keywords your competitors are ranking for, you can develop a strategy to rank for those keywords yourself. This can give you a competitive edge and help you attract more customers to your dispensary.

How to Measure Local SEO Success

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that helps you monitor and troubleshoot your website’s presence in Google Search results. It’s a valuable resource for local SEO as it provides insights into how your website is performing in search results and what you can do to improve its performance.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides valuable insights into website performance, helping dispensaries gauge the effectiveness of their local SEO strategies.

One of the key benefits of Google Analytics is its ability to reveal the keywords that bring visitors to a dispensary’s website. Knowing which keywords drive traffic can help you optimize your website content to enhance your local SEO.

Google Analytics offers valuable information on user behavior, showcasing the paths visitors take on your website. This data empowers you to optimize your website structure, ensuring an engaging user experience that keeps visitors coming back.

For example, if you know which pages customers tend to visit first, you can optimize these better for conversion and retention.

You can also use Google Analytics for conversion tracking. Learn which channels drive the most traffic and sales on your website, informing your future strategy and investments.

Google Business Profile

Use Google Business Profile to see your location views, interaction, and customer reviews. Have conversations with your customers, keep your business information up-to-date, and respond to every review (good and bad).

You can also find out how buyers are discovering your business. You can view data on how customers found your profile, whether through direct searches, discovery searches, or by viewing competitor profiles

Game-Changing Local SEO for Your Dispensary

A local search engine optimization strategy is a must-have for any dispensary aiming to thrive in today’s competitive market. It provides enhanced visibility, target outreach, and credibility—plus, it’s way more affordable than paid ads, especially in the long run.

However, building and executing a local SEO strategy for your cannabis business is easier said than done. It’ll take investment, commitment, know-how, and regular monitoring and maintenance.

Reading this guide to dispensary local SEO is just the beginning—now, it’s time to take action.

Fortunately for you, we’re experts in local dispensary SEO services. We work with your business to identify customer paths and help more interested buyers find your store.

Curious how we can help? Let’s chat.

Book a FREE Organic Strategy Session with one of our experts to see how our Dispensary SEO services can be a game-changer for your cannabis business.


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