Marijuana SEO: How To Use Search For Your Cannabis Business

What you need to know about cannabis SEO to improve website traffic and increase rankings.

Advertising cannabis businesses may seem like a daunting task when you’re just starting out. But it’s a fundamental part of all brand marketing, and the sooner you start, the better.

There are many challenges to cannabis marketing that other industries don’t experience due to the varying legal status of cannabis worldwide.

In order to generate the most traffic without running into legal trouble, see our guide below with everything you need to know about bumping up your content in search engines and the challenges that come with it.

What Is Marijuana SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a digital marketing tactic to increase brand awareness, boost search engine rankings and increase qualified website traffic. In general, it’s everything related to improving the quality and quantity of traffic to a website or web page from search engines.

Now, Marijuana SEO or cannabis SEO is search engine optimization focused on the cannabis business. Basically, it’s the process of organically affecting and influencing the online visibility of a cannabis-related website.

Cannabis SEO, marijuana SEO, or dispensary SEO are practically the same, as they are all focused on increasing the qualified traffic of a weed-focused website.

Cannabis SEO, What Is It For?

The cannabis industry has been one of the fastest-growing and expanding industries in recent years. Everyone wants a slice of the juicy cannabis pie, but not everyone knows how to promote their brands.

Emerging cannabis companies must refine their business practices if they want to survive in an increasingly competitive industry.

This is where digital marketing and a corresponding solid strategy come into play. The problem is that companies in the cannabis sector face obstacles that many other industries can’t even imagine.

The main problem is the difficulty in marketing cannabis businesses through paid search engines like Google Ads or social networks with paid posts like Instagram or Facebook. These platforms have stringent policies regarding what’s allowed in advertising on their sites, and cannabis is not on the allowed list.

As a result, cannabis companies must have a strong organic online presence to establish themselves as industry leaders. SEO for cannabis is necessary to elevate any cannabis business to the next level.

Cannabis Advertising Challenges

Weed marketing is a popular topic. The first thing is to know what challenges the cannabis sector faces in terms of advertising, which basically boil down to the following:

Legal Restrictions On Advertising: Regulations change from state to state and often change rapidly, causing businesses to scramble and find ways to comply.

Website & Social Media Restrictions: Most websites and social networking sites have very strict policies on what can and cannot be advertised. So the old ways of paying for advertising do not widely apply to the cannabis marketing world. This is where organic growth comes into play.

Organic growth happens “naturally” without running paid campaigns but doing it all through the same platform, using your own resources such as quality content.

The best way to avoid getting your business or brand into legal trouble is to fully understand the law or work with someone who does. If you’re not completely confident in both your ability to advertise and your understanding of the law, it’s time to call in an expert.

Cannabis SEO And What You Should Know

A good cannabis SEO strategy has many different edges, which, when put together, form a whole that allows for organic and harmonious growth.


Keyword usage is, well, the key to SEO success. Knowing the words and phrases that are ranking in your niche market and for the same or similar products is critical to making SEO work.

In the world of cannabis SEO, keywords are words and phrases that people often type in when searching for something specific on the Internet, specifically related to cannabis or dispensaries.

As a tip, consider long-tail search terms in addition to broader keywords.

The way you talk about cannabis online is important. Sloppy language can damage your brand, and misstatements can get you into legal trouble.

Thinking five steps ahead by building a targeted keyword list ensures that all marketing campaign content aligns with the core message of the product or service.

And while keyword research remains vital to any SEO strategy, you need to know and understand the search intent of a cannabis or CBD user and the reasoning behind each search they perform.

The way people search today is much more dynamic and “long tail.” It is essential to understand how your target audience is using search engines in order to implement an effective cannabis SEO strategy.

Quality Content

Implementing a quality cannabis content blog is the bridge to building authority, relevance, and trust for your website, which helps your site rank above other cannabis and marijuana-related content.

Authority, relevance, and trust are the three most important Google search ranking factors to focus on when planning your cannabis SEO strategy, as this type of content will rank on the first page.

The idea of good SEO is to get traffic, and posting articles on a blog is one of the best ways to keep attracting visitors to your website. Use it to inform, post relevant information, solve doubts, make promotions, events, new products, or industry news, but always try to publish articles regularly.

SEO And Mobile Phones

SEO for cannabis requires mobile optimization. Cannabis customers spend a ton of time on their phones, and you want to be on their phones, too, right?

Therefore, cannabis websites need to be adapted to mobile devices if they want to rank in the top search engines and on the mobile phones of potential customers everywhere.


Yes, tags for SEO are very important. This includes

  • Title tags: Properly name each page of content.
  • Header tags: Create an organizational structure for the content.
  • Image alt/title tags: Google cannot index images, so provide contextual information about an image. Product images that are uploaded to the website should have an Alt tag to complement the other tags, such as title and meta descriptions, for Google to include them in searches.

Technical SEO

Believe it or not, many technical aspects of a website are also important, which search engines consider when ranking it.

Things like mobile site speed and page load time are two interconnected factors that improve SEO rankings. As a general rule, the entire website should be designed with SEO in mind and be easy to use. This gives search engines signs that the site is trustworthy, and they rank it positively.

Technical aspects of the cannabis website that can boost your search engine rankings include:

Some quick and easy ways to optimize the speed of your site that will greatly improve SEO include:

  • Minimize server response time
  • Optimize all images to 150kb-200kb max
  • Implement asynchronous loading of CSS and JavaScript
  • Make the website mobile responsive and optimized with 1-2 second page load times

Herb’s Tip: Using website user experience tracking tools, such as Google Analytics, is quite helpful in identifying how users interact with your site and where they abandon it. This is a great help to know when and where to make improvements. It is also ideal to know if the overall SEO strategy is paying off.

On-site SEO also includes ensuring that all links on the site are functional and that all broken links are redirected. Think as if you were a user; how would you want to find and view your website?

Local SEO

Local SEO refers to a different aspect of digital marketing.

Local SEO is basically about getting your business to appear in Google’s “local packs” for a specific industry. A local package is when Google shows the top three local results with the review rating, address, phone number, hours, and links to each website and driving directions link.

Believe us; you want Google to consider you for their local package. Local SEO involves using specific keywords to help you reach a local audience, that is, in a specific location on a map, for example, in the New York area.

Your dispensary data must be consistent on as many pages as possible, as Google uses NAP (name, address, and phone) consistency across dozens of websites as a sign of trust that you are who you say you are.

There are two fundamental keys to strengthening local SEO. The first is through local directories on the web. On these pages, you can include all the data concerning your physical location. The information contained in these directories must always be updated and correct.

The second is through Google My Business, a free tool for owners to manage the location and details of their cannabis dispensaries on Google maps.

Maintaining a Google My Business profile is imperative to cannabis marketing success. Follow these simple recommendations to get started:

  • Include opening hours and special hours.
  • Confirm that your business name, address, phone number, and website URL are correct.
  • Write an optimized description (This will also help you with Google Maps).
  • Mention whether your cannabis dispensary is recreational, medical, or both. Use the same address format throughout.
  • Choose the appropriate business category.

Google Maps is another great ally when talking about Local SEO because it helps customers understand and get to know your physical location before stopping in.

Getting comments and reviews on Google’s platform also helps search engines to position you correctly, besides giving more confidence to future buyers interested in your business.

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