Chat GPT and SEO: Risks & Helpful Tips
Posted on December 1st, 2021 to GMB
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Google Business (GB) has proven to be worth its weight in gold for dispensaries looking to increase their foot traffic. This free tool from Google makes it possible for customers to find you, contact you, verify your hours, get directions to your store, check your reviews, and more all in one handy place. It’s also the profile that shows up on top of search results when potential customers search “dispensary near me”. We’ll look at how you can optimize your listing so you can have the biggest impact.
Google business profile (formerly called “Google My Business”) is a tool that allows businesses to input key specifications about their place of business. When you search “dispensary near me,” Google populates the search results page with listings that match the search query.
A GB listing is meant to be a one-stop-shop for people who want to get the gist of a company before they decide whether it’s worth taking the next step. If they’re going to take a quick glance, dispensary owners need to be upfront, concise, and correct about everything. The GB listing is also the one that people will use to get directions to your storefront, so you want to be sure that you have access to and control over the information displayed here.
Important note: Simply having a GB listing will not always ensure you show up in local results. For this reason, it’s important to focus local SEO efforts on optimizing your dispensary’s GB. Your GB listing is tied closely to your website, so the more you can improve your website, the better your GB listing can perform.
Google has put some restrictions on GB for businesses in the cannabis industry. For instance, your category won’t be able to extend to anything beyond ‘cannabis store’. However, just because certain features may not be available to you doesn’t mean that this isn’t a worthwhile pursuit.
Here are just a few things you do have control over.
You may also like: How to Incorporate GB Features on Your Website
It seems like a no-brainer, but adding your location is arguably the most important part of having a GB. Your pin marker tells people exactly where to go, down to which entrance of the store they should use. So even if people find you through Google Maps only, they’ll know the coordinates that will lead them to the right place. Additionally, inputting your phone number and hours of operation provide Google with more content on your business and help customers if with questions they may have. When it comes to your business name, be sure to follow Google’s guidelines.
Professional photos can give your dispensary an air of legitimacy to anyone who might be hesitant about dropping in. From the inside out, you should be showcasing the best your dispensary has to offer. Make sure your logo is on full display to help reinforce your brand, take pictures of the team, and highlight any fun events you’ve planned.
You need reviews if you want your business to rank. Google wants to send searchers to quality businesses and positive feedback plays a big role in how the algorithm determines which listings to display. Politely ask your customers to leave reviews or consider offering small incentives (e.g., a $5 discount) in exchange for a comment. You can’t force people to leave you positive reviews though, so keep that in mind when you’re strategizing.
The next step is responding to the reviews. Responding to reviews will help you build relationships with your customers. It also allows for opportunities to control what’s being said about your brand. Whether you received a great review, or a not-so-great review, you can follow up and tie up loose ends if necessary (not to mention responding shows Google you’re staying active on GB).
Google allows you to post to your listing. This is a great place to notify customers about hours changes, new products, or anything else, really. Using the posting feature keeps your listing fresh, and notifies Google that your page is actively maintained.
Under your listing, there will be a button that sends searchers to your website. This is the first page people will see, so it’s important to direct them to the right place. If you have two dispensary locations, you’ll want to update each listing with a link to the corresponding location page (or menu) on your site.
Google allows anyone (potential customers included) to ask questions about your dispensary. For example: “do you have handicapped parking?” or “when is your next event?”. Answering these questions will help inform future customers who stumble on your listing. On the flip side, if you have specific information to feature, you may consider having others submit those questions for your dispensary to answer.
It’s not just you that has access to Google Business — your customers and competitors do too. This means that you’ll need to periodically check to see what’s being posted about you and how it’s being portrayed. You may need to remove anything from blurry to inappropriate images to control the reputation of your dispensary.
Duplicate listings are unfortunately common. Because they compete with each other and cause confusion to customers, they’re bad news for a number of reasons. To avoid being flagged or even suspended by the search engine, make sure that you have one listing for a location and no more.
When inputting your dispensary name, be sure to avoid keyword stuffing. Here’s an example: you have a dispensary named “Zach’s Cannabis” located in Albany, NY. When adding your name to GB, make sure your listing accurately states your business name. Adding ancillary words you’d like to show up for will result in being penalized by Google. Read more about Google’s guidelines.
Correct title: “Zach’s Cannabis.”
Incorrect title variations: “Zach’s Cannabis: Dispensary in Albany, NY” or “Zach’s Cannabis: Albany, NY Dispensary” or “Zach’s Cannabis Dispensary.”
Organic optimization takes effort and constant maintenance, and GB really isn’t negotiable for dispensaries in today’s technology-first climate. GB is one of the most effective ways to increase traffic, but it requires ongoing care and knowledge to remain relevant to anyone searching.
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