On-page vs Off-page SEO for Cannabis

Search engine optimization is the key to brand awareness and high revenues in e-commerce. The cannabis segment is no exception. What’s more, as this industry does not have access to conventional advertising, SEO is the primary tool in its arsenal. Discover its two dimensions and the best practices for both.

Definition of SEO

Google is the primary source of traffic for cannabis dispensaries. When users search for marijuana or CBD in your area, you would like your business to appear on top positions in search results, so more potential customers will notice you. Google uses a wide range of factors (200) to determine what sites rise in the rankings. The MjSeo cannabis SEO agency is proficient in making specialized websites more visible online.

What is On-page Optimization?

As the term suggests, this dimension covers page content quality and on-page technical configurations. The first condition for success is making your website easy to navigate for Google. The faster it can identify what each page is about, the better.

Three key goals to better brand awareness for small cannabis business are expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. This combination creates the E-A-T acronym. A clear purpose with low-quality content will get you nowhere. Here are five crucial tips to follow in your on-page optimization:

⦁ Keywords

These are the words and phrases users google to find cannabis or cannabis-related businesses. It is advisable to start every page title with the target keyword — a combination of words specifically associated with the purpose of the page. For example, if the visitor is looking for “health benefits of marijuana” but sees your product catalog, there is a mismatch.

All keywords must correspond to the needs of the target audience. For example, moms from the millennial generation are less likely to use the words “cannabis,” “marijuana,” and “hemp.” Instead, they tend to search for CBD oil for pain, CBD bath salts, and CBD oil.

Include your keywords in the page description and title tag to improve click-through rates. Use them naturally — i.e., use sparingly. Keyword stuffing is a violation of Google norms. Add keywords to:

⦁ the page’s URL;
⦁ H1, H2, and H3 tags (headlines);
⦁ The first 100 words of the page;
⦁ Content (1-2 times per 100 words on average);
⦁ Image file names, alt text, descriptions, and captions.

⦁ Content

An optimized page must include enough content for Google to determine its purpose and for users to find what they need. Officially, there is no recommended word count, but longer content that is well-researched, relevant, and comprehensive usually ranks higher.

Cannabis businesses must keep their content updated. Both grammar and spelling are vital, and duplicates (content found on any other pages) are bound to backfire. It is advisable to use bullet lists, number lists, and headers to make articles more readable.

All media elements like videos must also be optimized. Avoid anything that hides the content from the user, like tabs or pop-up ads.

⦁ Links

When adding links to other sites, make sure they are valid. Focus on quality over quantity — i.e., choose authoritative and relevant resources.

⦁ Page Load

Every page of your website must load quickly. Google prioritizes speed, and users typically abandon pages that make them wait for more than 3 seconds.

What Is Off-Site SEO?

Most of these factors concern your reputation online, which is reflected in the backlink profile. Google algorithms treat links from other domains as indicators of your website’s quality, authority, and usefulness. It is the quality, not the number of links that truly matters. Unethical methods like paying for artificial backlinks are quickly spotted and punished. Instead, focus on:

⦁ Getting links from different referring domains and types of resources (i.e., not just forums or blog comments);
⦁ Links from older, well-established domains;
⦁ Backlinks that use keywords (preferably, the primary keyword of your page) naturally;
⦁ Referring images with relevant anchor text;
⦁ Links from authoritative sites and pages in relevant industries;
⦁ Links placed within the text content;
⦁ The links from pages with well-written content and a high word count.

Your presence on social media also matters. For example, a strong Facebook page with a lot of activity and followers, a Twitter account, and a LinkedIn company page can all contribute to the ranking.
Finally, search engine algorithms determine if your business has a physical address. It will try to identify all brick-and-mortar outlets that use the brand name.

To Sum Up

On-page and off-page SEO are two dimensions of optimization. They include a set of techniques and methods to raise your website’s visibility in Google search results. The primary goal is E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness).

On-page factors relate to your content, keywords, outbound links, and page load speed. The second dimension concerns the quality of your profile as a reflection of your website’s authority and trustworthiness. Do not even think of trying to manipulate the rankings — black-hat strategies are quickly detected and penalized.

Few cannabis businesses have sufficient SEO expertise in-house. To get the best results, hire a specialized SEO agency. A comprehensive professional optimization strategy will help you get a strong influx of customers despite Google’s restrictions.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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