Ask the experts: How do I get my cannabis dispensary on Google?

Every day, tens of thousands of people around the United States are searching in Google for terms like “cannabis dispensary near me” and “cannabis store near me.” If your dispensary is not showing up in Google for these types of hyper local searches, you’re missing out on valuable traffic. This is the type of search traffic that is looking for exactly what you are selling in real-time. We call this “ready to buy traffic.” 

How do I get my dispensary found in Google for these types of searches?

The good news is that getting your dispensary business to show up in Google is possible, even if you are a newer business. This is because not many dispensaries around the U.S. have yet adopted even the most basic tactics to make this happen. 

This means a world of opportunities for cannabis entrepreneurs who take their presence in Google and the search engines seriously. Does this describe you? If so, lets get started. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website

Google is like a giant library containing trillions of “books” (in the form of websites). Now imagine a traditional library. Books are entered into the library using “call numbers.” Without these call numbers, library patrons would never be able to find the book they are looking for. The book would be lost on the shelves forever.

Google has their own version of these “call numbers” called keywords. Keywords are the search terms that people enter into Google search in order to find your website and what you have to offer. Luckily, Google provides all of it’s search data for free. You just have to know where to find it, and how to use it.

The best place to find keywords for your business is to start with Google’s autosuggest feature. Here you can see the types of terms people are searching in Chicago for local dispensaries:

This won’t provide you the full picture, but it’s a good start to give you an idea of the types of terms you should be using for your cannabis business. To get a full list of keywords you’ll need to access Google’s Keyword Planning Tool. Similarly, a professional SEO expert will have tools like SEM Rush that provide this data with an even deeper level of sophistication.

Once you have researched the keywords that people are using to find businesses like you in your geographic area, use your keywords in the following ways:

  1. Within your website page titles. Your website pages are like “chapters” in a library book and help Google see the full picture of what the site is about.
  2. Within your website page headings. Headings are very important and are signified by the large, often bolded text on the page that introduces the content of your website pages.
  3. Within the website copy. Use variations of the keywords throughout the page copy to “paint the picture to Google” about what your website is about.

There are several layers deeper that you could go with keywords such as adding them to your images so the images show in Google search. However, performing the three steps above would be a great start for any business to at least begin to show up in Google.

What are my next steps to getting my dispensary found online?

With the goal of being found for hyper-local searches that will bring foot traffic through the doors of your business, there are a few essential next steps.

  1. Claiming and optimizing your Google Business page
  2. Getting listed in the right online directories to further paint the picture to Google about what your website offers
  3. Making sure your website is buttoned up and offers a positive search presence for users

The first real step to getting found in Google is to know that doing so is a must to succeed in your geographic area. SEO tactics based on keyword searches are an essential element to getting found online, especially since advertising is still such a grey area. So do the research, incorporate the right keywords people are searching on your website, and watch the internet traffic turn into real foot traffic to your business.