Business Resource Center

5 successful tips for increasing your dispensary's local search ranking

With mobile search on the rise, prospective customers are looking for businesses like yours online. Make sure your businesses is optimizing it's local search listings to its fullest potential with these 5 tips:

Tip #1: Optimize your on-site elements

The first step in local search optimization for a dispensary is ensuring you have established a solid foundation from which to begin your outreach. Think of your website as the central hub for all of your other internet marketing activity.

Proper optimization of your website ensures web crawlers will properly identify, categorize and index your online presence. If you haven't already optimized your website, Moz.com provides a number of great resources on on-site optimization and optimizing for local search.

Here are a few key items to verify:

  • Listing your name, address and phone numbers on every page of your website in a plain text format. Avoid including any of this information in a graphical format.
  • Inclusion of your target keywords within your website title, meta data, headings and body text. Be sure to include your locality (city & state) where possible, but also remember to use unique keyphrases and copy for each page!
  • SEO Friendly URLs: Make sure your website URLs are in an intelligible and comprehensible format (yourwebsite.com/marijuana-menu vs yourwebsite.com/content.php?id=123). Where possible, include your target keywords for that page in the URL.
  • Make sure your website is mobile friendly. Last year, Google stated that websites that offer a mobile format will outrank those without and that they prefer responsive websites vs a separate mobile website.

    Google Mobile Friendly Test Tool: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
  • Submit your website sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools and verify Google is able to properly crawl your website.

Tip: If you're using WordPress, be sure to check out the Local SEO by Yoast plugin.

TIP #2: Claim & optimize your third-party listings

Adding your business to the multitude of local search sites is important for driving consistent & verified business signals across the web. When claiming your profile on these websites, be sure your business information (name, address, phone, website, etc) is consistent across all platforms. This is extremely important!

Google:

When a user searches locally, Google will display local businesses within a carousel or a list and often exclude common third part directories in favor of Google's local search ecosystem. Because of this, you should consider your Google Business Profile a top priority for optimization.

  • Include proper geographic and contact information (business name local phone number, address, website, etc)
  • Keep in mind that Google cares about engagement! Treat your Google business page as if it were your own website - write unique copy that engages your customer even if they never visit your website.

Google Business: https://www.google.com/business/

Other Tips:

  • Make sure you select the proper categories for your business. With the marijuana industry constantly evolving, dispensaries have yet to receive their own classification on many directories.

    Based on our research, we've found that these are the most common category selections:
    • Cannabis Clinics
    • Alternative Medicine Practitioner
    • Holistic Medicine Practitioner
    • Home Health Care Service
    • Herb Shop
    • Medical Center
    • Medical Supply Store
  • Consider including your business descriptor (dispensary) or geographical location in the business name/title. Avoid including extraneous characters or your phone number.
  • We said it before and we'll say it again! Make sure your geographic information is consistent across the internet - having multiple or varying addresses can be a costly mistake.
  • Include engaging photos that highlight your business and your products

Third Party Directories

TIP #3: Maintain a positive online reputation

Maintaining a positive reputation online with a large number of reviews has been proven to improve rankings at Google. Additionally, 85% of consumers use the Internet for research before making a purchasing decision. (Yelp). With online reviews directly attributing to your sales, it is important to engage your customers and build a loyal following online.

Acquiring Reviews

Now that we understand positive reviews are vital to your business, focus on quality, quantity and velocity (how frequently reviews are posted). Consider asking each customer to leave a review, or better yet, include a card with each purchase, asking for reviews on your social media channels.

Responding to Reviews

Responding to your dispensary's reviews (both good and bad) shows potential customers you are responsive and care about their experience.

Bad reviews do happen, and when they do, take a step back and cool off! Respond positively to criticism, apologize for any misdoings and invite the customer back for another try. After all, the world is watching!

TIP #4: Be a part of your local community and build relationships

Building real, meaningful relationships will benefit your business in customer referrals, but also with powerful connections across the web.

Once you've established these relationships, encourage quality, real links to your business website. This will help establish link authority to your website, thus improving your search and local listing rankings.

Keep in mind, quality far exceeds quantity in terms of links. Avoid spammy, low quality links that may damage your link profile.

A few ideas on obtaining local links:

  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce and obtain a listing in their online directory
  • Cross promote local events such as concerts, festivals or advocacy groups. (Tip: Links from EventBrite carry great link authority!)
  • Create link exchanges with local doctors, suppliers, vendors, etc.
  • Find ways where you can contribute content to local publications in return for a link (think author byline, quotes or partner pages)

TIP 5: Leverage social media to build loyalty

While most businesses have a Facebook and Twitter profile these days, whether or not they are leveraging them properly to interact with customers is another story. How do you know what type of content to post? Or how to attract new followers?

In simplest terms, your social media campaign is a worldwide, public conversation with your customers. Build brand loyalty and turn your community of followers into brand ambassadors.

Post engaging content, whether that be in the form of local events or activism, daily specials or plain old trivia. Finding out what interests your customers online will ensure future interactions with your business, both online and offline.

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