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Cannabis SEO: Best Strategies to Beat the Competition

by | February 21, 2024

With the global cannabis market expected to reach $55 billion by 2027, standing out requires more than just quality products – it demands strategic visibility.  

So, how can you secure your spot at the top of search engine rankings? 

Enter the world of cannabis SEO, your golden ticket to standing out in a sea of green. As paid advertising doors remain firmly closed, SEO opens a window to organic growth, connecting your products with those who seek them. 

Let’s explore the ins and outs of cannabis SEO and uncover how you can propel your business to new heights. 

What is Cannabis SEO? 

Cannabis SEO strategically optimizes your website to make it visible to those searching for cannabis products or information online. This specialized SEO is tailored to the unique challenges and regulations of the cannabis industry, focusing on organic growth amidst advertising restrictions. 

Cannabis SEO vs Other Industries 

Cannabis businesses must maneuver a maze of legalities and marketing no-gos that don’t apply to other niches. 

This transforms cannabis SEO from a mere marketing strategy to your most trusted ally in connecting with potential customers. The emphasis here is on crafting compliant yet compelling content that navigates the fine line between visibility and regulation. 

But why is this so essential for the success of cannabis companies? 

The Importance of SEO for Cannabis Companies 

In an industry where customer education and trust are paramount, a strong SEO strategy can significantly influence your company’s market position and revenue potential.  

With limited access to traditional advertising channels, SEO offers a way to reach your target audience directly and effectively. It helps build brand authority, educate potential customers, and ultimately, drive conversions.  

Elements of an Effective Cannabis SEO Strategy  

Crafting an SEO strategy for a cannabis brand may be more challenging, yet the core principles of SEO remain steadfast across industries.  

Whether you aim to enhance the technical performance of your website, optimize your on-page SEO, or get high-quality backlinks, these foundational elements are universal: 

SEO Audit and Competitive Analysis

A comprehensive SEO audit can give you a deeper understanding of your digital presence and help you identify areas of improvement.  

We’re talking about: 

  • Assessing the crawlability of your site to ensure search engines can effortlessly discover and index your content 
  • Dissecting your website structure for optimal user experience and performance 
  • Identifying and pruning harmful links that could drag you down 
  • Creating a network of robust internal links 
  • Addressing duplicate content  
  • Optimizing your site for those on-the-go mobile users 
  • Resolving speed issues – a slow site not only tests patience but can also push potential customers right into the arms of competitors 
  • Eliminating code errors  
  • Beefing up security to safeguard your digital assets 

An SEO audit doesn’t just level the playing field—it’s your first step towards standing out in the crowded cannabis market.  

By analyzing all these areas and understanding how you stack up against competitors, you’re setting the stage for a defined and actionable SEO strategy that will bring your cannabis brand to the next level. 

Keyword Research and Content Planning

Keyword research involves identifying the specific terms and phrases your potential customers use when searching for cannabis products or information online. 

This step is crucial because the cannabis market’s rapid growth means consumer trends and search behaviors are constantly evolving. 

Here’s what you should consider while conducting this analysis: 

  • Search intent: Understanding the intent behind searches is key. Whether users are looking to buy (transactional), find a specific website (navigational), compare products (commercial), or simply learn more about cannabis (informational), tailoring your content to match these intents can significantly improve your site’s relevance and authority.  
  • Search volume and keyword difficulty: These metrics help gauge the popularity of a keyword and the effort required to rank for it. High-volume keywords suggest a strong interest in a topic but often come with higher competition. A balanced approach targets a mix of high-volume and niche keywords your site can realistically rank for, considering keyword difficulty scores. 

In addition, you can review your top competitors’ keyword usage, content quality, and SEO tactics to identify gaps in your own strategy and opportunities for differentiation.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is crucial for ensuring your cannabis website is accessible and understandable to search engines. This involves optimizing the site’s infrastructure to enhance crawlability, loading speed, and overall user experience.  

Key technical SEO tasks include:  

  • Site speed optimization: Ensure your pages load quickly to reduce bounce rates and improve user satisfaction. Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights can identify speed issues and recommend fixes. 
  • Mobile optimization: With most searches now on mobile devices, your site must be responsive and mobile-friendly. Google’s Lighthouse tool can help assess your site’s performance on mobile. 
  • Secure sockets layer (SSL) implementation: An SSL certificate encrypts data between your server and users’ browsers, which is critical for security and is a ranking factor for Google. 
  • Creating XML sitemaps: An XML sitemap lists all pages on your website, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your content. 
  • Fixing broken links and redirects: Broken links can harm your SEO by wasting crawl budget and negatively affecting user experience. Regularly audit your site to find and fix broken links. 
  • Utilize Schema Markup to give search engines a better understanding of your site’s content, which can help your business feature prominently in local search results. 

On-page SEO

Cannabis on-page SEO focuses on optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic. This includes: 

  • Keyword optimization: Aim to incorporate relevant, high-search-volume keywords into your titles, headers, and throughout your content in a natural way that matches user intent. 
  • Content quality: Create comprehensive, authoritative content that addresses your audience’s questions and needs. Use tools like Yoast SEO to ensure your content is optimized for your target keywords. 
  • Meta tags optimization: Craft compelling meta titles and descriptions that include your target keywords. This can improve click-through rates from search engine results pages. 
  • Image optimization: As part of your cannabis image SEO optimization, you should add alt text with relevant keywords to all your visuals. This can help search engines understand and rank your content better. 
  • Internal linking: Strategically link to other pages on your site. This helps distribute page authority and allows users to navigate your site more effectively. 

Local SEO

Local SEO is your secret weapon in making your cannabis business the talk of the town. It’s all about being seen by the right people, in the right place, at the right time.  

A solid cannabis local SEO strategy ensures your dispensary or cannabis brand stands out where it matters most: in your local community.  

  • Start by planting your flag with Google My Business. This not only verifies your legitimacy to Google but also places you on the map—literally. When locals search for cannabis options, you want your name to pop up with glowing reviews and easy-to-find details.  
  • Optimize for local searches by tailoring your website’s content to include local identifiers. Think “Best Cannabis Dispensary in [City Name]” as part of your titles and meta descriptions. This local flavor in your SEO efforts makes your site more relevant to nearby searchers, drawing them in with the promise of proximity.  
  • Engage with local directories and online forums. Your presence in local cannabis directories and forums isn’t just about spreading the word – it’s about building a network. Consistency is key—ensure your business details are uniform across platforms to avoid any confusion.  
  • Solicit reviews from satisfied customers. Positive feedback on major review platforms boosts your local SEO rankings and, more importantly, builds trust with potential customers.  

Link Building

Link building in the cannabis industry is crucial, with each quality link signaling your site’s credibility and relevance to search engines. However, finding pathways to obtain these links requires creativity and persistence due to the industry’s unique constraints.  

Here’s how to approach link building for your cannabis website:  

  • Content that attracts links: Start by crafting content that naturally draws in links. Think beyond basic blog posts to creating comprehensive guides, infographics, and research studies that offer valuable insights into the cannabis world. When your content genuinely helps or informs, other sites, including those focusing on wellness, natural health, or even specific cannabis niches, are more likely to link to it.  
  • Industry relationships: Forge relationships within the cannabis industry. Engaging with community forums, attending industry conferences, or participating in webinars can open doors to link exchange opportunities. Remember, it’s about offering value to each other’s audiences.  
  • Reach out with a purpose: Identify websites that align with your content’s value proposition. Tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush can help you understand where competitors are getting their links from, providing a roadmap for your outreach efforts. When contacting these sites, personalize your approach—show them how linking to your content benefits their readership.  
  • Quality over quantity: Focus on securing links from reputable sources within or adjacent to the cannabis sector. Links from authoritative sites not only boost your SEO but also strengthen your brand’s online reputation. Be wary of shortcuts like buying links or engaging in dubious link exchange schemes that can backfire, damaging your site’s standing with search engines. 
seo for cannabis companies

Cannabis Marketing Channels You Shouldn’t Ignore When Doing SEO 

When planning your cannabis SEO strategy, don’t overlook the symbiotic power of other marketing channels that can amplify your efforts and enrich your customer’s journey.  

Here’s how to integrate them seamlessly into your strategy: 

  • Cannabis email marketing: Cultivate a direct line to your audience with personalized emails. Share educational content, exclusive offers, and updates about your products, fostering a community around your brand. 
  • Cannabis advertising: While traditional paid advertising faces restrictions, explore compliant platforms and innovative ad formats. Leverage programmatic advertising on cannabis-friendly networks to reach your target market effectively. 
  • Cannabis SMM: Engage with your audience where they spend their time. Use platforms that allow cannabis content to build brand awareness, share valuable insights, and create a loyal following. 
  • Cannabis content marketing: Become a trusted authority by producing high-quality, informative content. Blogs, how-to guides, and educational videos can improve your SEO rankings and help customers make informed decisions. 

Challenges and Regulatory Considerations in Cannabis SEO 

Crafting a successful cannabis SEO strategy means navigating the legal, ethical, and medical intricacies of the industry. 

Here are the main challenges and considerations you should keep in mind when creating your SEO plan: 

  • Legal restrictions: With cannabis commercialization’s legalization process varying wildly across regions, understanding the local legal landscape is crucial. Each step, from cultivation to sale, revolves around a complex web of laws that can differ not just by country but down to the state or province. This means your cannabis SEO strategy should not only be effective but also meticulously compliant with local regulations.  
  • Strict regulations: The oversight of entities like the FDA and FSIS introduces another layer of complexity. Whether it’s ensuring that product descriptions are accurate and don’t make unfounded health claims or dealing with advertising restrictions, every piece of content must pass through a regulatory fine-tooth comb. This compliance challenge directly impacts how brands can communicate benefits and differentiate themselves in a crowded market.  
  • The YMYL quandary: In the realm of SEO, the cannabis industry falls firmly within the YMYL (“Your Money or Your Life”) category, where misinformation or unethical practices can significantly impact users’ health, happiness, or financial stability. This classification means search engines scrutinize cannabis-related content more rigorously to gauge its value and reliability. For cannabis businesses, this translates to an imperative focus on producing high-quality, authoritative content that not only ranks well but also earns the trust of both search engines and users. 

Practical Tips and Tactics to Take Your Cannabis SEO Efforts to the Next Level 

Implementing your SEO strategy requires effort. 

But what is the payoff? A robust online presence attracts more visitors, builds trust, and ultimately powers your cannabis business to new heights. 

Here are some insider cannabis SEO tips and tactics to achieve optimal results: 

  • Optimize for all devices: Your website needs to be slick, fast, and friendly—whether on a desktop or a smartphone. A seamless user experience translates into longer visits and lower bounce rates, signaling search engines that your site deserves a top spot.  
  • Stay agile: The digital world evolves fast, especially in the cannabis sector. Regularly review your SEO strategy and adapt to changes—be it algorithm updates or shifting consumer behaviors—to stay ahead of the curve.  
  • Brand power: In a market crowded with competitors, your brand is your beacon. Use storytelling, public relations, and strategic branding to carve out a distinct identity. This not only attracts links and social shares but also builds trust and authority in the eyes of both Google and your audience.  
  • Content diversity: Don’t just stick to blog posts. Spice up your content mix with videos, podcasts featuring industry leaders, and downloadable e-books. Rich and varied content not only engages your audience but also opens new avenues for keywords and backlinks. 

In-house vs. Outsourced Cannabis SEO 

When it comes to cannabis dispensary SEO, you can take one of two approaches: in-house (DIY) and outsourced.  

But what are the key differences between the two? 

Let’s break it down:


Going in-house means you’re in the driver’s seat, with direct control and potentially lower upfront costs. However, the complexities of SEO, especially in the nuanced cannabis industry, can stretch your resources thin. 

  • Direct control over strategies and execution
  • Potentially lower initial costs
  • Requires a steep learning curve and ongoing effort 
  • May lack specialized knowledge, leading to slower progress


Outsourcing your cannabis SEO project to experts grants you access to a treasure trove of specialized knowledge and cutting-edge strategies, saving you time and often yielding quicker, more potent results. 

  • Access to specialized expertise and advanced strategies 
  • Saves time, allowing you to focus on core business operations 
  • Involves an investment, which might be higher initially 
  • Less direct control over day-to-day activities 
cannabis seo marketing

How to Choose the Right Cannabis SEO Experts for Your Needs? 

Embarking on the cannabis SEO journey?  

The path to choosing your guide is crucial. Here’s how to ensure you partner with the right SEO experts for your unique needs:  

  • Experience speaks volumes: Look for a team with a deep-rooted history in cannabis SEO. Their past adventures should mirror your aspirations. 
  • Customized strategies: Your business is one-of-a-kind. Your SEO strategy should be, too. Seek experts who tailor their approach to your specific goals and landscape. 
  • Transparent communication: Opt for partners who demystify the SEO process, offering clear insights and regular updates. 
  • Cultural fit: Collaboration thrives when values align. Ensure your chosen experts resonate with your brand’s ethos and vision. 

5 Best Cannabis SEO Agencies 

Navigating the maze of cannabis SEO is no small feat. It’s a unique challenge that demands a savvy partner who knows how to make your brand outshine your competitors while staying compliant with all regulations and laws. 

Here are some of the best cannabis SEO agencies: 


Scopic stands at the forefront of cannabis SEO, leveraging cutting-edge strategies to elevate brands within this niche market. It offers all things SEO-related, including SEO audits, keyword research, content strategy, link building, local SEO, and more. 

With a solid understanding of compliant campaign creation, the Scopic team knows how to avoid banned keywords while ensuring your brand’s visibility and growth in this competitive market. Their approach combines detailed planning, cost-effective solutions, and global expertise to deliver data-driven results. 

  • Rating: 4.9/5  
  • Hourly rate: $25 – $49 
  • Employees: 50 – 249 
  • Founded: 2006 


Victorious is an SEO agency that helps cannabis businesses position themselves as a trusted authority in the industry. They can effortlessly guide companies through advertising restrictions and regulatory hurdles to drive traffic and sales. 

Their strategy hinges on commercially viable keyword identification, vigilant technical SEO, and strategic link building. They also offer regular performance reports, e-commerce and revenue tracking, goal tracking, and call tracking, ensuring a robust strategy for organic growth.  

  • Rating: 4.9/5  
  • Hourly rate: $100 – $149 
  • Employees: 50 – 249 
  • Founded: 2013 


SmartSites offers a combination of cannabis website design and strategic SEO services.  

The agency creates SEO-optimized websites that shine through with their visually compelling designs, ensuring cannabis businesses not only captivate but convert their target audience effectively.  

Their expertise extends beyond aesthetics, focusing on user-friendly designs and compelling call-to-action buttons, enhancing user engagement and conversion rates.  

  • Rating: 4.9/5  
  • Hourly rate: $100 – $149 
  • Employees: 250 – 999 
  • Founded: 2011 

Winston Digital Marketing

Winston Digital Marketing tackles the unique challenges of the cannabis industry, ensuring businesses not only comply with strict marketing regulations but also thrive. 

Recognized for its deep understanding of local laws and consumer behavior, Winston excels in SEO for dispensaries, targeted PPC campaigns, content creation, and SEO-optimized web design.  

Winston’s approach is finely tuned to local market nuances, offering comprehensive digital marketing solutions that drive growth and distinguish brands in a competitive landscape. 

  • Rating: 4.9/5  
  • Hourly rate: $150 – $199 
  • Employees: 2 – 9 
  • Founded: 2016 

Coalition Technologies

Coalition Technologies stands out as a premier cannabis SEO agency renowned for its dedicated accountability and direct client engagement.  

Their services encompass comprehensive SEO solutions, including e-commerce SEO tailored for cannabis companies. With a track record of high ROI case studies and a team of over 200 marketing and web development experts, they’ve successfully propelled various cannabis brands to the forefront of their market. 

  • Rating: 4.8/5  
  • Hourly rate: $50 – $99 
  • Employees: 50 – 249 
  • Founded: 2009 

Our Expertise in Cannabis SEO and Dispensary Marketing: Case Studies 

With an influx of competitors in the cannabis industry, SEO becomes the cornerstone for boosting your website’s organic ranking, traffic, and authority.  

Our professional monthly SEO services are crafted to ensure your brand dominates your audience’s search results, providing a comprehensive suite of solutions that cover every aspect of dispensary marketing. 

From conversion and on-page optimization, local and social media SEO, to meticulous keyword research, content planning and creation, and robust link building, we leave no stone unturned.  

We also focus on goal tracking and monthly analytics reports to measure success and adapt strategies accordingly, along with online reputation management to maintain your brand’s integrity. 

We’ve transformed challenges into triumphs for many of our clients, ensuring they not only meet but exceed their digital marketing goals. 

Case Study

Explore our most recent cannabis SEO case study and discover how we’ve transformed challenges into triumphs for our client, Homegrown Nursery.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the intricate cannabis SEO landscape, you’re not alone. Just take it one step at a time and aim to balance creativity with compliance, ensuring your green brand thrives in the competitive digital ecosystem. 

Looking for reliable dispensary marketing services? Scopic is ready to guide your brand through the green maze with bespoke SEO strategies. Contact us – let’s elevate your cannabis business to new heights together. 

Cannabis SEO FAQs 

Read on to discover the answers to some other burning questions on cannabis dispensary SEO: 

Is cannabis SEO allowed on Google?

Yes. While Google has strict policies against advertising cannabis products directly, SEO plays by different rules.  

Google permits cannabis businesses to rank in its search results, provided they have an age verification system, adhere to state laws, and offer helpful resources like terms of use and company information. This way, you can target different informational and commercial keywords effectively, enabling you to climb the SERPs effectively. 

What is the difference between a cannabis SEO strategy and a regular SEO strategy?

Cannabis SEO requires a bit more creativity and finesse.  

Given the legal and regulatory nuances surrounding cannabis, your strategy must be both compliant and compelling. On the other hand, regular SEO strategies might not face such stringent advertising restrictions, allowing for a broader approach.  

How to do e-commerce marketing and SEO for cannabis and CBD products?

Start by ensuring your website is the epitome of user-friendly, then dive deep into keyword research specific to cannabis and CBD.  

Content is king, so produce high-quality, informative articles, blogs, and guides that answer your audience’s burning questions. And don’t forget about local SEO if you have a physical dispensary. Finally, leverage social media wisely to build community and brand loyalty. 

Why is cannabis SEO marketing important for dispensaries?

In a word: visibility. With so many dispensaries popping up, standing out is more crucial than ever.  

SEO helps your dispensary climb the search engine rankings, putting you front and center when potential customers are searching. It’s not just about attracting more eyes; it’s about attracting the right eyes—those of engaged, interested consumers ready to choose your dispensary over the competition. 

About Creating Cannabis SEO Guide

This guide was written by Veselina Lezginov and reviewed by  Araksya Hakobjanyan, SEO Lead at Scopic.

Scopic provides quality and informative content, powered by our deep-rooted expertise in software development. Our team of content writers and experts have great knowledge in the latest software technologies, allowing them to break down even the most complex topics in the field. They also know how to tackle topics from a wide range of industries, capture their essence, and deliver valuable content across all digital platforms.

Note: This blog’s images are sourced from Freepik.

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