The CBD market is exploding right now, as it’s set to become a $7.8 billion industry in 2022. Yet, with CBD products popping up all over the place, the competition is steeper than ever.
So how do you get your CBD brand to stand out amongst the crowd?
If you have a brick-and-mortar CBD store in your town, you can use what’s known as ‘local search engine optimization (SEO)’ to attract new customers in your area.
That’s where you optimize your on-page and off-page content to rank higher in the local search – or searches that contain keywords such as ‘near me’ or ‘best (service) in (specific location).’
In fact, 46% of all Google searches include local intent, which is a lot of potential traffic to miss out on if you don’t use local SEO.
A savvy local SEO strategy will help you dominate the search results for your town or city, leading to more organic traffic, conversions, and sales – and the CBD industry is no different.
That’s why CBD SEO agencies are popping up like wildfire because it’s a marketing strategy that yields tangible results.
Stay tuned to learn how you can develop a CBD local SEO strategy for your CBD website, business, or dispensary.
Why Does Local SEO Matter for CBD Companies?
It can be tough to launch a lasting CBD brand in 2022, and there’s primarily one reason for that – oversaturation.
While CBD is still a relatively recent craze, there’s no shortage of CBD companies, services, and products out there. There are oils, gels, gummies, sprays, balms, and even CBD products for pets.
The chances are high that dozens of CBD companies are already in your local area, too.
That means you need special ways to stand out and attract customers, and local SEO is your secret weapon.
For example, if you target the right keywords that have local intent, high search volume, and low competition – you’ll be well on your way toward ranking in the top 3 organic search results.
In today’s age, customers will almost exclusively use the internet to find local businesses.
97% of users have searched online to find a business near them. So if you can position yourself high on the SERPs (search engine results pages) for local keywords, you can gain all that juicy business.
Yet, before you get started, you should know a few things about the world of local SEO.
What’s the Local Snack Pack on Google?
Google search has a few different categories of results it displays for local search queries. They are:
- Paid ad results (PPC)
- Organic search results
- Local ‘snack pack’
- Featured snippets and other SERP features
Understanding how each of these works is crucial to finding success with local SEO.
If the local keyword triggers a SERP feature, such as a featured snippet, it will appear at the very top of the page, even above the paid ads. This coveted spot is known as ‘position zero.’
Under that, the next results users will see are the paid ads or sponsored results. While these tend to appear at the very top of the page (unless there’s a SERP feature in position zero), they cost money to display.
These are known as pay-per-click ads, or PPC for short. While they can also be an effective way to generate traffic, we aren’t going to focus on how to optimize them today.
Directly under the paid ads is where you can find the snack pack results.
What are those?
The snack pack is a small box containing the top three local results for the search query. It provides a brief bit of information for each business.
Regarding local SEO, the snack pack results are considered the holy grail. They’re the most desired spots for any local business, and your CBD brand is no different.
Quick Snack Pack Facts
There’s a significant reason why local businesses want to include themselves in the snack pack results. It’s because the snack pack snags a majority of the clicks.
The crew at Moz put this to the test, and they found that 44% of users clicked on snack pack listings, while organic listings accounted for 29%, and paid ads were only 19%.
That’s why it pays big to secure yourself a spot in the snack pack results.
Since there are only 3 spots in the pack, you really need to ensure that your content is high-quality and fully optimized.
When Google first introduced the snack pack, it was a SERP feature that contained 7 Google Business Profile Listings. That changed to five, and eventually, the three that we now know as the snack pack.
Speaking of Google Business Profile, it’s a gigantic part of local SEO, so let’s take a closer look at it.
What’s Google Business Profile and Why Does it Matter for Local SEO?
It’s the heart and soul of all local SEO strategies, so it’s imperative to understand how it works.
Besides becoming eligible to rank in the snack pack, you’ll also need a GBP profile to show up in Google Maps, another local SEO necessity.
Simply creating a GBP and claiming ownership of your business isn’t enough. Instead, you’ll need to fully optimize your account just as you would your website for traditional SEO.
That means adding images and customer reviews, using relevant keywords, and providing as much accurate information about your business as possible.
Has your business been around for a while? If so, the all-knowing Google probably has an existing GBP listing for it – you need to claim ownership of it.
To do so, click the Manage Now button on the GBP homepage. From there, you’ll get directed to GBP’s in-platform search engine. Simply enter your business name, and GBP will let you know if it already has a listing for you.
It will also inform you if someone else has claimed ownership of your business. Should that happen, here are the steps Google recommends you follow to transfer ownership.
Creating a new Google Business Profile listing
If the internal search doesn’t provide any listings for your business, you’ll need to create a new one.
The good news is it won’t take long to set up your new GBP profile. However, the verification process will take a bit longer – usually up to a week.
First, you’ll need to enter your official business name and business category.
Pro tip: The business category on GBP is a big deal, as the category you choose will affect which keywords Google ranks your website for on the SERPs.
For example, if you choose ‘coffee shop’ as your primary business category, Google may rank you for local searches containing the keywords ‘coffee,’ ‘barista,’ ‘espresso,’ and other related terms – even if you aren’t attempting to rank for them outright.
Selecting a business category for your CBD business
What business category should you choose for your CBD brand?
You’ll have a few options, each with its pros and cons. Recently, Google introduced a new category for marijuana dispensaries called Cannabis Store. CBD comes from the cannabis plant, so is that what you should choose for your category?
It depends on how heavily you want to utilize GBP’s other features.
You see, GBP places some heavy restrictions on cannabis dispensaries as the drug is not yet legal on a federal level inside the US.
Since CBD is officially legal and non-intoxicating, you can get away with using other categories such as:
- Alternative Medicine Practitioner
- Health and Wellness
- Medical Center
The downside of these is you likely won’t get as many relevant keyword rankings from GBP as you would with the Cannabis Store category.
For example, if you go with Medical Center, GBP may rank you for keywords like ‘healthcare,’ ‘physicians,’ ‘diabetes,’ and others that may not reach your desired target audience.
GBP’s Restrictions on the Cannabis Store business category
The Cannabis Store category, on the other hand, will help you rank for more relevant keywords for your niche.
The downside of that is the restrictions that you have to deal with, including:
- Not being able to list any information about your prices or products
- No communication with your audience via posts
- Not being able to list your services or provide booking information for customers
As you can see, the restrictions are pretty strict. You’ll need to consider these disadvantages before settling on Cannabis Store as a category.
Go with Health and Wellness. While GBP’s recommendations may miss the mark for some, keywords like ‘meditation’ and ‘fitness’ are somewhat related to CBD oil.
Not only that, but you won’t have to mess with any cumbersome restrictions, so you can fully optimize your GBP profile.
Adding a Physical Location to GBP
Once you’ve selected a business category you’re comfortable with, you get the option to add a physical location, such as a store or office.
Hint: This is your ticket to getting listed on Google Maps, so you definitely want to add any physical locations that you have.
If you don’t see customers or patients at your location, you can choose not to include the address. This means that while you won’t show up on Google Maps, your CBD website will still display for local searches in your service area.
In that case, you’ll need to tell GBP where your primary service areas are so it can include that information in your profile.
Next, it’s time to enter the contact information for the business, such as its phone number and current website URL. After that, you can enter the address for the business (only if you have a brick-and-mortar location that you want customers to visit).
GBP will then ask you if you want to include a service area outside your primary address. You should do so if your operation involves deliveries or home visits.
At any time, you can go back and change or add service area details and edit the rest of the information related to your profile.
Verifying and publishing your GBP profile
All you need to do now is verify your profile via postcard, and then you’ll be able to publish it.
While it’s unfortunate that you have to complete the process by snail mail, the verification process usually takes a week or less.
Verification is necessary for you to access page insights, analytics, and business reviews within the platform. You also won’t show up on Google Maps or the Local Snack Pack until you’ve been verified.
You’ll receive a verification postcard in the email containing a code to activate your profile.
Once that’s done, your profile is officially live, and you can begin optimizing it for CBD local SEO.
Optimizing your GBP Profile for CBD Local SEO
Now the fun part starts. Since you have an active GBP listing that you claimed ownership of, you can tweak it to perform better in the search.
A fully optimized GBP profile is your golden ticket to ranking in the Snack Pack and generating more localized website traffic. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what you need to do.
Step #1: Enter as much information about your business as possible
First and foremost, Google is always looking for the most relevant result for a user query. That means it will scour your business information when crawling your profile.
As such, you want to ensure that the algorithm has as much accurate information about your business as humanly possible.
It’s crucial to not leave anything up to the imagination here. Make sure your profile has:
- Accurate business hours
- Detailed information about your products and services
- Up-to-date pricing
- Your address and website URL
The more in-depth you can get with your profile information, Google’s crawler will be able to paint a clearer picture of what you do.
Step #2: Don’t forget to do keyword research
Just as you would with a regular Google search, you need to do keyword research for your GBP listing and posts.
You can use our free keyword planner tool to identify keywords related to your niche with high search volume and low competition.
Each time you reach out to your audience via a post on GBP, include your target keywords in it. It would be best if you also injected these keywords into your business description.
Step #3: Add high-resolution images of your business and products
Believe it or not, photos make a huge difference in click-through rates on Google Business Profile.
In fact, GBP listings containing photos receive 35% more click-throughs than those that don’t.
It makes sense if you think about it; people are far more likely to drive to a business when they know it has a nice, clean building and interior.
That’s why you need to upload as many high-resolution photos of your business as you can. When you do, make sure that your business looks pristine, safe, and inviting.
Other CBD Local SEO Tips and Strategies
That’s how to claim and optimize a GBP listing, which is huge for local SEO. Yet, it’s by no means all that you should do. Alongside maintaining your GBP profile, you should also:
- Conduct a technical SEO audit of your website to fix errors and improve your user experience
- Build backlinks and use internal links
- Use content marketing to create relevant blog posts optimized for SEO
- Post glowing reviews and case studies on your website and GBP profile
Let’s take a closer look at each technique and how you can use it to promote your CBD business.
Technical SEO audits
Lots of technical factors will affect your ability to rank on Google and other search engines. Errors like broken links, orphan pages, broken redirects, duplicate content, and messy URLs will hurt your SEO.
That’s why you need to audit your website for these errors regularly. A great way to do so is to use Google Search Console. It will let you know about all the technical errors it discovers when crawling your website, which makes them easier to find and fix.
PageSpeed Insights is another useful tool, primarily for gauging your page loading speed. Lastly, you’ll want to ensure that your website can pass the Google Core Web Vitals test. It’s a series of diagnostics that will test your site for speed, responsiveness, and interactivity.
Local link building
You’ll want to use link-building techniques to improve your chances of ranking in the top 5 for local SEO, too.
The difference is you should focus on building links relevant to your location.
Links from reputable local businesses, local universities (.edu sites are always desirable), and even local government organizations are who you should target.
Content marketing for CBD local SEO
SEO experts everywhere will tell you that releasing regular content is integral to success, and local SEO is no different.
To keep organic traffic rolling into your site, you’ll need to create top-notch blogs, videos, infographics, and other forms of content regularly.
At the same time, each piece of content should contain relevant keywords and strong backlinks to help you out in the search. Besides that, high-quality content is a great way to boost brand awareness and build trust amongst your target audience.
Customer reviews and case studies
Last but not least, strong customer reviews are a massive part of local SEO. You’ll want to include positive reviews on your GBP profile, your website, and any social media profiles you have for your company.
Highlighting a customer case study is another way to boost your SEO and gain customer trust. Choose a customer that found success using your product, and highlight their entire journey.
That means including the time before finding your product where they struggled and dealt with a common pain point. Then show how your product or service changed their life for the better.
Final Takeaways: CBD Local SEO Strategies
By now, you should understand what it takes to reach the top of the local SERPs for your CBD business.
If you create and optimize your GBP profile, fix technical errors, build links, create content, and post glowing reviews – you’ll stand the greatest chance of penetrating the Snack Pack, SERP features, and the top 5 organic search results.
Do you not have time to conduct an in-depth local SEO strategy for your CBD business?
Then don’t hesitate to check out our managed local SEO packages at The HOTH. Our team of experts excels in local SEO, and we’re no strangers to cannabis marketing. Reach out to our team today to revolutionize your local SEO strategy.