The Most Effective Strategies and Tips in 2023

Mastering Cannabis SEO

As the demand for weed products on the market increases, cannabis SEO is quickly becoming crucial for businesses to be successful in this industry.

Cannabis dispensaries and other cannabis businesses face unique advertising challenges. SEO for the cannabis industry is the only way that your website will get any traffic, as most platforms don’t allow paid advertising.

Learning cannabis SEO on your own is ineffective, as it can be complex to navigate and ineffective if you don’t know what you’re doing. Using a professional cannabis SEO agency is the best way to put your website on the first page of Google.

Cannabis SEO vs. Other Industries

The cannabis industry has been evolving rapidly in the United States over the last 10 years. As more states loosen regulations, the demand for weed has surged. The market is estimated to reach over $31.8 billion in annual sales by the end of 2023.

You’d be hard-pressed to visit a city in a legal state and not find more than a couple of dispensaries available. The online cannabis market is booming as well, with website-based dispensaries providing cannabis to those who cannot visit a physical location.

The cannabis marketing vertical is highly competitive. This is largely because cannabis brands have to use SEO as their main form of advertising due to the regulations surrounding weed.

Cannabis SEO also presents a unique problem in that it is constantly evolving based on trends and ever-changing regulations. Customers are doing more research than ever before  and as such, changing their user search intent.

Keywords don’t work on their own in cannabis SEO. With the advent of voice options on devices, long-tail queries create organic searches, providing cannabis  brands with a way to specifically target their audience.

For example, customers are now taking advantage of voice options on their devices, which means their search queries are more complex. Instead of searching “CBD near me,” they are searching “Where is there a store that sells CBD near me?”

Why Should You Use SEO for Cannabis Companies?

The simple answer is that organic search results from SEO strategies work. Organic search results accounted for 41% of website traffic for retail and eCommerce websites. This means that it outperforms both display advertising and social media campaigns.

One of the main issues with marketing cannabis is that, since the industry is so new to the US, people aren’t as warmed up to the idea of buying weed yet. It takes a lot of time to develop a brand that people trust. On top of that, figuring out where you can promote your brand can be a bit of a hurdle.

An SEO company can develop a strategy to help gain the trust of your customers by understanding what it is that they’re searching for. Everyone has questions, and if your website can provide the answers, you’ll become credible and recommended on search engines. SEO specialists know this and can help drive that traffic to your site through diligent keyword research and other strategies.

There are legal restrictions that prohibit a lot of advertising on various platforms, including social media sites. Depending on the US state that the business resides in, they may only be allowed to promote their products using specific online services. It is primarily these restrictions that can make it difficult to build a new cannabis brand.

Luckily, people will generally turn to the internet’s search engines to help them figure out the answers. This is the main reason why SEO for cannabis is incredibly effective. It bypasses traditional marketing and makes an internet search engine do it for you.

Google and other search engines suggest your products on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) based on the user’s intent. Ultimately, that helps direct the flow of online traffic to your website.

Using SEO for cannabis companies is fairly easy to scale. As you grow larger and add more pages to your website, the more traffic you can potentially bring in to convert into paying customers. You can optimize old content with an updated strategy relatively easily. 

How Do You Implement Cannabis SEO Properly?

The best way to implement cannabis SEO is by using a professional agency. There is a lot of research that goes into making effective, optimized content, and it can take a lot of time to do it yourself.

Marijuana SEO is largely a numbers game that has several metrics that identify success. A specialized SEO agent will take a look at different statistics that impact how you rank on search engines. Specifically, they will identify things like: 

  • Search volumes
  • Rankings
  • Existing organic traffic
  • Onsite conversion rates

This is all the critical information that is needed to develop the strategy that will help convert searches into valuable organic traffic and, from there, convert that traffic into paying customers.

Analyze Key Competitors in the Niche

A good look at how your competitors do SEO lets you access a goldmine of information to help you create a framework for your strategy. At its most basic level, an analysis of your competitors will show you:

  1. Their strengths and how you can enhance them
  2. Their weaknesses and how you can avoid them
  3. Content strategy and website structure
  4. Link-building strategies and their dynamics
  5. Which SEO tasks you’ll need to prioritize first

A simple Google search with cannabis industry-specific keywords will display the top performers. Even though you may have competitors in your niche, they may not be the same as your SEO competitors.

Conduct Keyword Research to Expand Your Website Structure

Keywords are the specific inquiries that someone enters into a search engine. They are an integral part of what Google and other search engines look for to boost your content.

The cannabis market is still in its infancy, which means there is a small amount of keyword information available. Experienced cannabis SEO experts will be able to carve out their keyword shortlist based on what’s trending.

A good marijuana SEO strategy involves developing your cannabis keywords to help boost your rank in a specific niche. A keyword research tool can help make the job easier by identifying search intent, keyword search volume, and keyword difficulty.

Search Intent

There are four main types of search intent, or why someone types in a query in a search engine. Understanding why someone conducts a specific search will help you develop content that matches the intent of what they are looking for.

These are the four main types of search intent:

  • Transactional – Making a purchase
  • Navigational – Looking for a specific website or store
  • Commercial – Information gathering before a purchase
  • Informational – Just wanting to learn something

For example, if someone searches for “best CBD oil,” they are more than likely making a transactional search since they will probably end up buying something.

If the first search result is an informational article on making CBD oil, then the keywords are heavily mismatched with the search intent.

This means the article is irrelevant in the eyes of a search engine’s algorithm, and it won’t get boosted. You also won’t see any traffic, as users will go looking for better sources.

You must create content that matches the search intent of trending queries related to what you are selling. This means having authoritative content that gives users the best answers possible.

Search Volume

This metric shows you the average number of monthly searches for a specific keyword. The higher the volume, the more traffic that can be generated, as long as the website is optimized. Use page views compared to search volume to figure out a good benchmark for keywords in future content.

Keyword Difficulty

This is an SEO metric that can tell you how difficult it would be to rank on the first page of search results for a particular keyword. The score is usually measured on a scale of 0-100. A query with a difficulty score of 0–30 is considered easy, 31–70 is considered moderate, and 71–100 is considered difficult.

The metric allows for gauging how competitive a SERP is by looking at the domain ratings of pages that made it to the top 10. As we can see below, the competition in the CBD and cannabis niche is intense, with popular search queries being difficult to rank for:

Fix Critical Errors on Your Website

If you have any technical problems with your site, then it’s unlikely that Google will give it a boost. Additionally, customers won’t return to a website that is slow or has broken links.

It is in your best interest to periodically take a look under the hood of your website to make sure everything is running smoothly.

A technical SEO audit of your existing website is the best way to identify any problems with your website. With its help, you can address problems such as:

  • Page loading speed issues
  • Duplicate pages
  • Duplicate or incorrect meta tags
  • 301 redirects and other broken links
  • Schema markup
  • Mobile friendliness
  • XML sitemaps

It is known that Google will promote websites that have fast loading speeds and accurate meta tags. Your technical audits should extend to the mobile-friendly version of your site as well, to ensure that it is properly structured.

On-page Optimization and Content Creation

On-page optimization is a popular SEO tactic that helps configure the structure of your website to increase its visibility for search engines. The more optimized the website is, the better its chances are of ranking higher in the SERPs.

Generally, on-page optimization includes things like:

  • Balancing the ratio of target keywords in all content
  • Updating titles and descriptions with new, relevant keywords
  • Optimizing headers and content structure
  • Internal linking
  • Adding alt attributes to media
  • Schema markup

Using on-page optimization with proper keyword research is a strong combination to create high-quality content. While the keywords signal the search engine to look at your page for specific queries, on-page optimization helps boost you as a credible source of information.

Cannabis Link Building

Link building is the tactic of acquiring links from other sites to yours, which is a signal to search engines that someone else finds your content credible. A proper link-building strategy is vital for SEO for cannabis websites since the competition is high and the number of referring domains in the niche growing exponentially:

Marijuana-related businesses are also considered “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) online since they have the ability to potentially impact someone’s future happiness, health, or financial stability.

YMYL pages are held to a higher standard than other content, making it tougher to gain those rankings. Therefore, it’s safe to say that any cannabis company that doesn’t take advantage of link building will not survive because their web pages will have fewer chances of getting to the top of the SERPs.

Review and Update Your Cannabis SEO Strategy Often

Analytics is the best way to keep track of how successful your SEO strategy is. Before you begin building one, it is important to set clear KPIs (key performance indicators) to identify strengths and weaknesses. This can be in the form of organic traffic growth or traffic conversation rates.

It’s also important to set deadlines for these results. It makes sense to set goals for 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months to check in and assess the current reality. If you haven’t achieved the metrics you established within the time parameter, then it is wise to revisit your cannabis SEO strategy and change it if necessary.

Practical Cannabis SEO Tips

SEO is all about evolving with current trends and showcasing your brand with authoritative content. Implementing these practical marijuana SEO tips will increase organic (unpaid) traffic to your website and boost your rankings on SERPS.

  • Utilize Local SEO – Local SEO is critical for local online visibility. A vital component of SEO for brick and mortar dispensaries or small stores.
  • Optimize Content Marketing – To get first organic traffic.
  • Research User Search Intent – To understand what keywords potential customers will use for relevant queries.
  • Build High-Quality Backlinks – Essential in the CBD niche as there is a lot of competition. It’s important to refrain from using black hat link building techniques as that can hurt your site’s ranking.
  • Update Your Content Periodically – Algorithms get updated and new trends emerge. Keep your content relevant with SEO optimization strategies.
  • Control Your Link Profile – Control where links to your content appear. If needed you can file to disavow a link from a site to avoid spam attacks.
  • Build your brand – Build relationships with companies who are similar to yours. Utilize social media and influencers to help spread the word about your brand.
  • Constantly work on SEO – ICannabis SEO is not just a one-time thing. In order to be successful you need to work on it regularly.

The last practical tip is to use a trusted marijuana SEO agency for your website content. They’ve been in the business long enough to understand what’s needed to boost your site’s ranking.

Cannabis SEO Agencies vs. DIY Strategies

While doing cannabis SEO yourself is possible, it’s less likely to be as effective as hiring an agency. Many cannabis businesses that try to attempt it without professional SEO assistance often fall in page rankings and don’t recover.

Navigating the maze of advertising restrictions paired with a high level of competition makes marijuana SEO tricky to get into on your own. Market trends change often, and laws seem to change every year, making SEO a full-time job.

A cannabis SEO company lives and breathes search engine optimization. They will use best practices such as thorough keyword research, precise content marketing, and other curated cannabis SEO services to put your website on the first page of SERPS.

The added benefit is that cannabis marketing experts will monitor and update your content to ensure that you stay at the top of the rankings. Their goal is to give your target audience visibility into your brand, and if you win, they win too.

Here is a chart breaking down how the two approaches stack up against each other:

Cannabis SEO Companies

DIY Strategies

●     Full non-biased website audits

●     Customized strategies

●     Real-analytics analysis

●     KPI based results

●     Frees up your time

●     You create the SEO strategy

●     Your brand, your SEO decision

●     Time-consuming

●     Can be daunting to learn

●     Inefficient way to spend money

As you can see, enlisting the help of an SEO agency for cannabis marketing can let you run your business while still growing your online presence. A lot of agencies will work closely with you to ensure that you are notified every step of the way.

The 5 Best Marijuana SEO Companies

The easiest way to choose the best company to handle your marijuana SEO needs is to simply type “cannabis SEO” or “cannabis SEO agency” into Google. The ones that made it to the top are your best bet since they have implemented their custom strategies with great success.

To save you some work, here are the top 5 agencies that specialize in SEO for companies in the cannabis industry to increase their site rank on Google and subsequently get more website traffic.

MjSeo Agency

Founded: 2020

Rates: $50-$99 / hr

Employees: 10-49


The top choice on Google, MjSeo specializes in increasing traffic, ranking your website higher on SERPs, and ultimately getting you more sales. Before even suggesting a strategy, their team of SEO specialists will do an in-depth SEO audit of your existing website.

From there, they will work with your brand’s vision to create a personalized marijuana SEO strategy consisting of content marketing, strong link building, and much more.

The key benefit of using MjSeo is that they are 100% focused on the cannabis niche. Their in-depth knowledge of cannabis and SEO will guarantee the results you’re looking for, quickly.

Here are some of the SEO services for cannabis sites that MjSeo offers:

  • Local SEO
  • Cannabis Link Building
  • Writing Google-Friendly Content
  • Compete SEO Audit
  • Niche Research + SEO Strategy


Founded: 2013

Rates: $100-$149 / hr

Employees: 50-249


Victorious cultivates a customer-first mentality while providing strong SEO services for cannabis websites. Their dedicated teams provide a 12-month campaign plan that is designed to increase organic traffic.

They offer a variety of SEO services for the cannabis industry, including:

  • Keyword research
  • SEO audits
  • Customized SEO strategies
  • On-page and off-page services
  • Custom SEO content

Coalition Technologies

Founded: 2009

Rates: $50-$99 / hr

Employees: 50-249


Coalition Technologies has an entire suite of services, including SEO, PPC, and email marketing strategies. They use advanced technological systems, such as AI-powered tools, to produce high-quality work. This agency covers a variety of niches aside from cannabis, which helps add versatility to its portfolio.

Check out this company if you’re looking for cannabis business marketing services such as:

  • Complete competitor research
  • Keyword research
  • Link-building and influencer outreach
  • Ad strategies
  • Google Analytics

Avalanche Creative

Founded: 2014

Rates:$100-$149 / hr

Employees: 2-9


Avalanche Creative focuses on a simple process of identifying demand, creating attractive content, and using that content to build authority online. They offer comprehensive dispensary SEO strategies for both local and national search engine optimization.

A complete website audit will build an understanding of where improvements can be made, and then a plan is implemented from there.

They offer a large suite of services, including:

  • Local SEO
  • National SEO
  • Content writing
  • SEO-optimized web design

Marijuana SEO

Founded: 2016

Rates: n/a

Employees: 11-50


Marijuana SEO is a digital marketing agency that specializes in growing online traffic and creating a stream of potential customers in the cannabis industry.

They use comprehensive SEO practices to increase search traffic. Additionally, their team of cannabis marketing experts will keep track of your results with weekly reports for keyword ranking, backlinks, and various KPIs.

Their comprehensive weed SEO services include:

  • Local and national SEO
  • Cannabis website design
  • A full SEO audit
  • Content writing

Start Building Your Cannabis SEO Strategy to Become #1

To remain competitive, you’ll need a strong SEO strategy. While you can do some of the work yourself, it is still in your best interest to hire professionals to take care of it for you.

They can give you an objective audit of your existing website, suggest a customized plan to increase traffic and rankings, and then follow up to ensure that you are on track to hit the results you want.