Keyword Research for Cannabis Dispensary Local SEO

What better way is there to understand what your customers want than knowing what they search for when they look for cannabis online? Keyword research is foundational to search engine optimization (SEO)—and it all starts with finding the words and phrases that your existing and potential customer base are typing into their search box.

If you’re a cannabis dispensary owner or marketer looking to understand this essential element of SEO better, we’ll give you an overview of why cannabis keyword research is important for your business, along with the types of keywords that are important for local SEO and a selection of tools that can help you get started.

Local SEO

Why Is Keyword Ranking Important for Cannabis Local SEO?

Given that most searchers won’t make it beyond the top ten search results (page 1), improving keyword ranking is crucial for cannabis dispensaries and can directly impact their revenue. 

When your dispensary achieves a high ranking for local keywords, you become more visible to potential customers when they search for those cannabis-related terms. This enhanced visibility translates into more eyeballs on the dispensary’s website and more foot traffic at your physical location.

A high local ranking also signals credibility to potential customers since most consumers equate a high search rank with quality and trustworthiness. It suggests that your dispensary is well-established, reputable, and popular. 

And, when local search results lead potential customers to your dispensary’s website or physical location, you’re getting the best chance for conversion since these consumers are actively seeking cannabis products or services.

Finally, as dispensary competition across most markets intensifies, achieving a top 3 local ranking in Google Maps and Top 10 ranking in the SERPs provides a significant advantage over dispensaries with lower rankings. These searches are proven to attract a larger customer base, generate more leads, and boost revenue.

The Value of Cannabis Keywords

How much is a keyword worth? Valuable keywords are: relevant to your products and services, accurate descriptors of your company’s expertise, and offer potential financial value. You can get a rough estimate of what any particular keyword might be worth to your business by following a few simple steps.

First, determine the average monthly search volume for the keyword in question. You can use free tools such as Google Search Console, though there are other paid tools available for cannabis keyword research. We’ll be covering some of our recommendations below. 

Since you’re a retail cannabis store, you can use the average transaction value or average basket size to help determine the keyword value. We’ll use an average basket size reported by, a cannabis data analytics company, but your dispensary’s point-of-sale (POS) system should be able to provide you with this information. 

Next, examine the example below for a keyword with a search volume of 100 searches per month:

Search volume: 100

Average basket size per customer: $29.64

Top ten CTR: 86.3%

Position: #1

Potential revenue: $705.98 (((100 x 86.3%)*27.6%)*29.64)

Equation: (((estimated monthly searches x page one CTR) x #1 position CTR) x average sale value per customer)

Now, in full transparency, you should know that you will never receive all 100 clicks if you rank #1 for the keyword. According to an analysis of 4 million search engine results pages (SERPs), search results in the Top Ten will get 86.3% of all clicks. The top five accounts for 69.1% of clicks, and the #1 position receives 27.6% of clicks.

So, while you are not getting 100% of the clicks, being in position #1 receives an average of about 5x the amount of clicks compared to links in position #5.

Now that you’re aware of the importance and ROI of keyword research, let’s dive into brainstorming keywords for your dispensary.

Cannabis SEO Keywords

Keyword research is essential for understanding how your target customers search for information about cannabis products and services. By identifying these keywords, you can optimize your dispensary’s website and content to appear higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

So what keywords should you be targeting? Here are four types of bottom-of-the-funnel, local keywords you should be looking to rank for when you conduct keyword research.

1. Branded Keywords

Branded keywords are defined as any search term with your business name. Branded keywords include your dispensary name plus search identifiers such as address, hours, location, menu, prices, and reviews. Examples: [dispensary name], [dispensary name] menu, and [dispensary name] hours.

2. Location Keywords

Location keywords are non-branded search terms that include the city and/or state of your retail store and a cannabis keyword. Examples: marijuana store in San Francisco, organic bud in San Francisco, and California cannabis.

3. Areas Served Keywords

Keywords that are geo-targeted, non-branded keywords based on the user’s location hold incredible SEO opportunities. Mobile device users commonly use keywords relevant to the neighborhood, district, or suburb they are located in to search “cannabis near me” in an area served by your dispensary. Perhaps you offer delivery to the area they are searching in, or they plan to go out to dinner in that area and want to stop by a dispensary first. Desktop users must enable their location services to get relevant results for these geolocated search terms, such as “cannabis clubs near me” or “dispensaries near me.” 

4. General Keywords

General keywords are non-branded, cannabis-related search terms that exclude your business name, location, and nearby results. General keywords are the most competitive because you compete with large websites such as Leafly, Weedmaps, and Yelp. Examples: cannabis club, dispensary, marijuana, and rec store.

Tools for Cannabis Keyword Research

To get data on keyword targets, demand, and referrals, we suggest utilizing the following research platforms:

The Google Ads Keyword Planner is a great place to start. It provides search terms, estimated monthly search volume, advertising competition, and the cost of running a PPC campaign. Moz’s Keyword Explorer also provides estimated monthly search volume, difficulty to rank, click-through rate estimates, and potential to rank. 

As SEO becomes an essential business activity and investment across sectors and markets, there are evermore free and paid keyword research tools. Be sure to test and explore the functionality of any tools you’re considering, and compare the results against tools you trust, or find out how the tool might have a competitive advantage, i.e. more data sources.

Put the Power of SEO to Work for Your Dispensary

Keyword research is the key contributor to organic traffic. Organic traffic is upwards of 50% of total site traffic for most of our clients. SEO strategy and execution can only be done well when you rank for keywords that your target audiences seek, so it’s an activity worth doing well. 

Spend time researching and analyzing the keywords that are relevant to your business and its location to get your local SEO efforts off to a strong start. It is also absolutely vital to track your target keywords over time, optimizing your content based on developing trends.

After all, the most important job of your site is to deliver relevant results to the people who are querying terms that are within your realm of expertise! You can also hire experts to translate your cannabis knowledge into desirable content so you can spend your time doing what you’re best at—running your store!

MediaJel works with cannabis dispensaries of all sizes and all stages of their growth cycles to help them rank higher on search engines and score more organic traffic with SEO strategies crafted to drive people to your website and increase your dispensary sales. Want to learn more? Let’s connect!

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