In part 1 of our 4 part series on using various types of content to market MMJ Dispensaries, we focused on On-Site Optimization basics that can help with search engine rankings and the user experience (UX) of your website.

Part 2(a) and 2(b) will concentrate on Citations and Local Link Building tactics that will help further push your brand towards page 1 within the Local Organic and or Google’s Local Pack results which typically means more leads and sales.

Before you focus on any Citation or Local Link Building tactics, you should set up your GMB page(Google My Business) and Bing Places profile. Both of these will help you show up in the Local Pack and Maps Listings for each search engine respectively.

Go to https://www.google.com/business/ and https://www.bingplaces.com/ to list your company.

  • Sign in or sign up.
  • Make sure to fill out all information (business info, photos and so on) and that your NAP (name, address, phone number) has the same formatting as on your website. (More on this in the second part of 2a.)

Organic & Local Pack Results

For example, if you do a Google search for “Denver MMJ Dispensary,” you will see a map with 1-3 businesses listed under it (Local Pack) and local results of websites (10) aka the Organic results.

The local organic results are powered by different signals such as on-page optimization (Part 1), local links pointing back to your website, and quality content to name a few.

The local pack results are influenced by some of the same signals as the organic results (on-page, links) but also factors such as citations, NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency and positive reviews.

Part 2(a): Citations

A citation is a mention of your business name, address, and or phone number (NAP). There are essentially two types of citations, structured and unstructured.

Structured citations are mentions of your business on Local Data Provider sites like Yelp, SuperPages, and City Search. Unstructured citations are mentions of your company on local blogs or government sites to name a couple.

Doing a google search for “top citation sites” will result in several websites giving you a list of the top sites in your city or the country. You will only need to sign up to those within the top 50 or so (doing a few per day is all that is required); with citations as well as link building, it is not about how many links you have but how many quality links you possess. Here are a few sites where you can start to check for, claim or add your company:

You will also want to get listed on quality industry related internet sites.(Think weedmaps.com and leafly.com, we will discuss this more in part 2b.)

Getting listed on any state, city or hyperlocal related directories is a smart way to diversify your local backlink profile.

If you were a dispensary in Denver, Co, for example, you could use the following search operators in Google to find city-related directories:

  • intitle:denver+business+directory
  • inurl:denver+business+listings
  • intext:denver+business+directory

You can do this for states, cities, and neighborhoods.

Thought: While there are hundreds of sites that offer marketing opportunities, the options for dispensaries may be limited to some degree. There will be online and offline marketing outlets that won’t allow marijuana-related businesses to advertise be it free or paid. For many of these organizations/websites, it will not be because they are against the legalization of marijuana; but rather its classification as a Schedule 1 substance. With that said, the outlook for the industry is rapidly shifting for the better and as laws change so will the number of marketing opportunities among various platforms. This will also lead to more marijuana industry related software and technology advancements.

The second part of 2(a) will conclude with discussing the importance of NAP consistency across different sites.

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