If you’re an SEO company or someone who is just really good at SEO, I want to save you some time and let you know you may find this article a little too basic.
If you’re a cannabis business who is confused by SEO and looking for some simple advice that works, this article was written specifically for you.
This is the first of several articles on SEO written for cannabis businesses. There’s a ton of really good SEO training out there. But most of it is catch all training that is often too general.
My goal with these articles is to help the ‘Cannabis Entrepreneur” out there. So, if that’s you, read on. This was meant for you.
SEO That Gets You Customers Starts Here
The secret to the success of your Search Engine Optimization and entire search marketing strategy begins with keyword selection.
Commonly known as keyword research, this is pivotal to get right. If you get it wrong, everything you do later will either not work effectively or flat out not work at all.
If you plan to do your own SEO, getting help with keyword research can be money well spent. You really need to have this done well.
I’ve had the opportunity to perform a keyword audit on many cannabis websites. And one of the most common things I find is that businesses are just targeting the wrong keywords.
SEO Is Not Easy
If you’re doing your own SEO or even hiring an SEO company to do it for you, one thing you will learn is it is time consuming and can be technically difficult.
Google’s algorithm has changed dramatically in the past few years. The ‘Algorithm’ is a complex system that decides in real time what the search results will be. It sifts through mountains of data and matches sites that are stored in Google’s database, also called the Index, to they keyword. It then presents the results in order of what it believes the importance to be.
First, you need to make sure that your cannabis website is in the Index for the keyword you want to appear in search results for. Then you need to make sure your website is the most relevant and authoritative of all the other sites competing for the same keyword. No small task.
But To Make It More Difficult…
They update their algorithm all the time and it makes it much harder to do SEO. You have to stay one step ahead of the ever changing way Google makes its decisions.
Not only does Google change, users change too. Users are more sophisticated. They can’t be fooled into clicking on a search result simply because it’s on the first page. So how you display in the search results is more important than ever. And your content needs to be better than ever so that when they do click, they want to continue reading it.
And to make it even worse… there are more competitors vying for the same keywords than ever in this enterprising cannabis space. And new competition joins in all the time. Just think about how much competition you have. They all probably have websites and are trying to be on page 1 of Google just like you.
Google makes changes, your prospect’s behavior changes, your competitive landscape changes.
What has not changed is:
1: There’s still only a limited number of spots on page 1 of Google. So you need to be smarter and work harder than everyone else. If you don’t, you can’t compete. And…
2: Search runs off keywords. Whether these are typed or spoken, the search engine still needs keywords to understand what it is the person searching wants.
While they’re getting much better at deciding what they want, Google still needs a question asked first in order to give you an answer. And this is the best way to think about your keywords. Think of them as questions your prospective customers are asking.
What is the best dispensary in New York?
I need a 1200 watt LED grow
Find cannabis soil reviews
These are keywords. And to compete on the search engines, this is your first and most important step to success: identify the best keywords.
This Is The Best Way To Find Great Keywords
Before you begin, create a spreadsheet to dump these keywords into as you uncover them. Don’t worry about organizing it. Don’t worry about whether you have duplicate keywords. Just brain dump them into this spreadsheet.
Step 1: Ask
Forget fancy techniques. Forget keyword tools. Forget anything you may have learned and start here first.
Start with your customers. Go ask every single one of them how they found you. If they say Google, ask what they typed.
If they didn’t find you on the search engines, ask them what they would have typed to find you.
Ask everyone you meet for the next 2 weeks what keyword they’d use if they were looking for your service. Ask your friends, family, customers, random strangers, people in your business community, competitors. Ask anyone and everyone.
Step 2: What you do
List all your services. If you are a grow light manufacturer, you might list things like:
- Maximum yield
- Energy Savings
- Grow big buds
Make sure to put all these keywords into your spreadsheet.
Step 3: Solutions
List all the problems your products or services solve:
- Correct cannabis lighting
- Eliminate low yields
Once again, list all these solutions to your prospect and customer problems into your keyword research spreadsheet. You’ve now got something really cooking here…
Here’s What To Do Next
There is a lot more to proper SEO than I am covering here. The goal of this article is to give you a great start to easy keyword research without overwhelming you.
From here, you can take this list and dig deeper into keyword research. You can discover more keywords based off of the list you just created. You can research what your competitors are doing. You can uncover the possible search volume and competitiveness of these keywords.
Or you can just start creating useful content for your website or blog that answers these questions. Even without worrying about things like keyword density, title tags, meta descriptions and all the other little SEO nuances, you can create powerful content with this data.
If you create content from here, just speak to your customer, keep it very simple (no techie talk) and make it at least 500 words. If you do that, you’re going to do more for your SEO than most in this cannabis space.
In upcoming articles I will share ways to refine your research and organize your strategy for solid SEO. So come back next week after you’ve spent time asking and placing what you find in your spreadsheet.