How to be Found Online: Maximizing SEO for Cannabis Brands
The Cannabis Industry is expanding at a rapid rate. In fact, just this week Marijuana Business Daily released their 2016 factbook showing that the industry is expected to inject as much as 44 Billion dollars into our economy. That’s some serious money. But beyond an influx of cash (remember, cannabis businesses have a major obstacle with banking) this industry is changing fast. So, how does a cannabis brand stand out from other brands that may already make up significant market share? One surefire way is to ensure your customers can find your website quickly and easily. The best way to ensure this happens is to maximize your SEO.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a marketing practice that involves successfully defining your brand online through increased visibility on search engines driving more traffic to your site. Is it a big deal? YES. Your sites need SEO to exist online. MOZ, a leading SEO consulting and software company, considers that the right SEO drives targeted traffic to your site and has the potential to increase visibility and revenues, whereas poor SEO (or lack thereof) will ensure your site can only be found in the search engine graveyard — a place where no customer will ever find you
SEO is a complex set of variables that play a role in the ranking of websites in search engines. Some of those factors include links, social accounts, and keywords.Search engine queries sort the ranking regarding relevance (related to keywords in the search) and popularity (page hits). SEO can be tricky for even the most tech-savvy people, and cannabis brands and businesses are no exception. A basic understanding of how SEO affects your website, how your customers find you, and how that translates into sales (and revenues!) will help maximize interest in your business or products.
Since there are a ton of factors that can impact the SEO for your website, Refined Bud created a ganjapreneurs’ guide to maximizing SEO for cannabis brands.
Descriptive and human-friendly URLs
Creating a domain for your business is just as important as naming your business. The domain provides users with a glance of your company in a short link, even before entering your site. You want to be clear and descriptive at what your website is about because that is what you will provide for everything relating to your business including product/service information, social media accounts, and even business cards. Your domain and all of your URLs are a part of your brand image, so make them consistent and reasonable.
As your business booms, you will develop more pages of content. Each of these URLs should be easy to understand, descriptive, and connect with the content on that particular page. You want users to know how they came to this page and how they can return to it in the future. Using concise, relative keywords will increase SEO because it will be clear to people and it contains keywords that are about a search engine. For example, a business that creates cannabis infused cocktails would use a URL such as:
The domain is clear, simple, and the pages are descriptive and reader-friendly. I would imagine this URL would take me to a recipe for a gin and tonic infused with cannabis. The URL is also search engine friendly because it uses keywords you would find in a search query. For more information on creating the best URLs for your company, read the 11 Best Practices for URLs blog from Moz.
Easy to read content and practical navigation
After you’ve double-checked the URLs for your pages, the next step is to create content for those pages. Start by choosing a color scheme that relates to your brand and is mindful that not all colors can be easily read on certain backgrounds and landscapes. Although it may work in your logo, when you have pages of information, an intense color can be too harsh on the eyes and make your content illegible. Your content should also be straightforward—people are reading this information online and are usually looking for specific content and often skim large paragraphs. TIME mentions that 55% of people spend fewer than 15 seconds on a page before closing the page or finding another option, which means you have 15 seconds to make the best first impression of your brand. If you want to expand on a subject or area of your business, consider adding a blog to your site or a newsletter.
Using graphics or drop down lists to assist with navigation create a practical flow and help to organize large pieces of information.
Refined Bud designed their website to be simplistic. We used graphics with scroll over text to organize the services we offer in different pages of content. This design organizes information in a user-friendly and eye-catching way.
It’s important to note that your content should be arranged in a way that customers can navigate your site without complications. Your customers or patients must be able to find what they are searching for quickly. Simplicity and ease of content access can boost the popularity of your site, increasing your ranking among search engines.
Matching keywords through market research
Market Research of what customers are searching for when they find you essential to determine the keywords used in your content. Including the same keywords in the text of your content as the search engine queries for products or services you offer will increase the likelihood your site will be ranked higher based on relevance.
Keyword Research is the process marketers use to define search terms people enter into search engines to develop a marketing strategy. HubSpot offers an excellent example of the consuming process of keyword research. We recommend you contact the professionals at Refined Bud, who have the tools, expertise, and dedication providing you with the right keywords people using in search engines related to your business.
Linking to Others
Links are one of the most useful tools to improve your website’s SEO. Think of links as bridges connecting people to other lands, or to more content that interests them. Links are how consumers explore the world online. They connect sites together, bridging audiences and sharing information. When you include links on your site in the text content, you allow search engines to pick up that information and make the connection that the content found on that website is relevant to yours.
Links also play a role in connecting all of your accounts (social media) so that search engines and people can quickly find the “official” social profile for your business and they will appear alongside your website in search results.
Be careful with using excessive graphic links or text links, as it does not always read well for search engines as well as people.
Lastly, remaining consistent is vital for SEO. Congruity is necessary across all areas of your business, whether it is in packaging, marketing, billing or representation. Your brand identity is what defines your business, and when your website, social media channels, and keywords are inconsistent, it gives the impression that you are indecisive or careless.
Remain consistent even in the minor details and it will truly make a difference in SEO. For example, if you have the same of URLs on all of your pages, don’t create a unique URL for a new page. Continue with the style you developed so search engines and people will understand they are still on the same website.
These SEO tips we just described will jumpstart your website’s presence online. But there’s more to SEO than just following these tips. To learn more about SEO or to explore Refined Bud’s digital marketing packages, email us. Our SEO strategies are successful and will drive traffic to your site defining your brand and cannabis product. Your customers need to be able to find you — don’t leave that up to chance.