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Cannabis SEO: What Legalized Cannabis and CBD Businesses Need to Know

Cannabis SEO - What legalized cannabis and CBD business needs to know to be compliant and avoid costly fines, fees, and penalties.

The world of SEO is dizzying. Add cannabis SEO into the mix and the challenge is even greater. 

If you’re one of the thousands of new cannabis entrepreneurs in the U.S. then you’ve likely had to grapple with the perils of digital marketing. SEO is just one of many factors to consider, but it’s an important one. Many of the standard rules become complicated by regulations and compliance concerns, so there’s a lot to navigate.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the top things to consider when trying to implement an SEO strategy for your cannabis website. Keep reading to learn more.

First, What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the practice of optimizing your online content for search engines. SEO makes Google, Bing, and other search engines better equipped to understand your content so they can place that content in front of the right eyeballs. 

A website that has implemented solid SEO strategies will have a better chance of ranking in search results. So when a customer searches “best dispensary near me,” an SEO website will rank above sites that aren’t investing in SEO.

The goal is to make content that appeals to humans first, then algorithms, so that people can find and enjoy what you produce. The end result of investing in SEO is a ton of organic traffic to your website, so it’s worth thinking about.

Cannabis SEO: Compliance Considerations

So, what makes cannabis SEO so challenging? 

The main concern is compliance. There are a number of laws regulating what companies can and can’t say in their marketing messaging. Here are the main ones:

  • Making health or wellness claims is prohibited
  • Marketing to minors is prohibited
  • Marketing must be contained to legal states online

When it comes to SEO for cannabis, the main problem arises when navigating the first law: no health or wellness claims. This is because many of the leading cannabis and CBD-related keywords are non-compliant.

Here are some examples of keywords that could get your business into trouble with the FDA or other regulatory bodies:

  • CBD for anxiety
  • Best CBD oil for depression
  • Weed gummies for pain
  • Cannabis for sleep

Since these terms are searched by thousands of Americans each month, they are ideal for SEO. But using them in your marketing messaging could result in legal repercussions and irreparable reputational damage. Some of these repercussions could include:

  • Lawsuits 
  • FDA warning letter
  • FTC – fines, fees, and penalties 
  • Enforcement action by state attorneys general 

Any of those repercussions could have a catastrophic impact on your ability to do business, especially in difficult economic times. 

Cannabis SEO managers must balance their marketing goals with a keen understanding of general consumer protection law and be able to evaluate representation claims.

This makes the tradeoff between compliance and SEO difficult to measure since reputational harm can have a significant and potentially terminal impact on your business. 

Best Ways to Improve SEO for Cannabis and CBD Brands

This leaves many licensed cannabis and CBD businesses with a difficult decision: cannabis SEO or compliance?

Luckily, there are ways you can improve your website’s ranking in SEO without using non-compliant messaging in your product descriptions. The best strategy for boosting your site’s SEO is to build a blog. This way you can create posts that contain keywords without containing misinformation or false claims. 

Here are some examples of blog post ideas that could use keywords:

  • The Truth About CBD for Anxiety
  • Looking for the Best CBD Oil For Depression? Read This First.
  • Can You Take Weed Gummies For Pain? What You Need to Know.
  • Can You Use Cannabis For Sleep? Here’s the Truth.

Keywords don’t need to be used literally to count towards SEO, but you’ll want to ensure they fit the following criteria:

  • They are used in an organic-sounding and natural way
  • They are included in titles
  • They are included in some headings
  • They are mentioned naturally a few times in the text throughout

Other than that, just be sure to include a lot of high-value and well-written information. This will improve your site’s bounce rate along with other metrics, which also helps with SEO. Remember to never sacrifice user experience and value for SEO. Otherwise, the metrics will reflect that humans did not benefit from your content. And if humans don’t like it, neither will search engines. 

Master Digital Messaging Compliance With Qredible

Still concerned about how your website might perform in search? Curious if your current messaging is compliant and safe? Qredible® can help.

Our software uses advanced artificial intelligence to actively monitor your messaging, electronically flagging any potential violations for your review. You’ll be able to protect your business by avoiding any potential legal risk in your online and label messaging.

Qredible is the cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry’s only online registry of validated and verified businesses. We are working hard to ensure safer commerce for everyone in the industry, from growers all the way down to consumers. We also support ancillary businesses like financial institutions, merchant processors, trucking and logistic companies, and other third-party product and service providers serving the industry. 

If you want to learn more about how our software can help you protect and grow your business, contact us to start the discussion

You’ll meet Rick, our President and COO, who will answer all your questions and guide you through a demo of our industry-disrupting technology.


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