What happens when every Dispensary Menu is “SEO-friendly”?
Dispensary SEO Menus are one of the hottest topics in dispensary marketing discussions. Every cannabis ecommerce company is starting to offer some form of enhanced menu SEO. And we’re thrilled — this industry needs it. Early adopters of SEO solutions will definitely see SEO gains but what happens down the road when every dispensary menu is an “SEO menu“? This is a scenario Rank Really High is all too familiar with.
All of the cofounders and most of the staff at Rank Really High originated in the automotive industry working with car dealers. In the automotive industry, every dealer has a website that has pages for every brand and product (new and used) that the business sells. It would be insane to have it any other way. With every car dealer who sells new Jeeps promoting essentially the same inventory, how does one dealer’s inventory (menu) outperform another’s in Google searches?
This is the exact challenge Cannabis dispensaries are slowly wading into. Right now, YES, the dispensaries moving away from traditional Iframe menu solutions will get the upper hand. But with ‘SEO Menu’ costs dropping and more and more dispensaries gaining access to these solutions — how will dispensaries maintain their SEO edge? The answer is hard work. Research, action, and implementation.
The value of “Dispensary SEO Menus” is greatly exaggerated.
The truth is SEO Menus are only a portion of a successful dispensary SEO strategy and should be treated accordingly. At this time, the terms most customers are currently using to find and locate dispensaries are the dispensary’s brand name, location + dispensary, or dispensary; cannabis; marijuana near me. Unfortunately having an SEO friendly menu solution does little to help capture this higher volume, lower funnel traffic. So what’s the solution?
Since day one Rank Really High has been advocating for dispensaries to substitute iframe, subdomain, and split DNS “SEO friendly” solutions for true Native ecommerce. Currently Rank Really High has standing integrations with Dutchie Plus and I Heart Jane. What is “native ecommerce”?
“Native ecommerce is when then entire shopping process from product discovery to purchase and checkout happens natively on the same platform. Such a process is already native to Amazon, but in most other online purchase journeys online, you still jump to another platform when it comes to the final purchase of a product. This disrupts the user journey, puts tracking off and represents a monetization loss for the platform you left.” – INNOVEL.com
Native ecommerce is what you experience anytime you’re shopping on sites like Amazon, Walmart, Costco, or virtually every Shopify website. Most online stores, especially outside of the cannabis industry, have their online inventory or “menu” baked directly into their website. There are very few dispensary web technology companies outside of Rank Really High that have gone the tried and true native ecommerce approach. There is no question that native ecommerce is the correct way to display inventory on any website as it provides the best SEO, consistent brand standards, and continuity in the shopping experience. Native ecommerce allows businesses to make not just products on their “menu pages” available to Google indexing but provides a way to add inventory anywhere on the site including the homepage and blogs.
Why is adding products to the homepage and blog important? The homepage for almost every website is the most popular page a customer comes into your website through. This means the homepage represents the largest opportunity to showcase your best products, offers, deals and bundles. Go look at Bestbuy.com, Walmart.com, Amazon.com, etc if you don’t believe me. Dispensaries need to decorate and monetize their homepage to get customers excited. This is how every online store outside of cannabis does it!
Some of the most relevant blogs on dispensary websites are product recommendations or product reviews. These are great because it gives customers a sense of what the dispensary thinks are good products to try for things like sleep or getting work done. The problem is that when the website is using iframes there is no easy way to embed products that are relevant to the blog. Instead dispensaries need to include links to their iframe or subdomain menus where data and analytics capture are often diluted in addition to being a pain in the ass. This problem is further compounded in situations where the website in question has multiple store menus connected. You would have to create multiple links to each menu or create a gateway page. Neither of these solutions are ideal.
Here are some of the current “SEO-friendly” solutions being offered
- Dynamic rendering
- Split DNS
Although these are improvements over standard iframes we still believe Native Ecommerce is still the clear winner but that’s not to say there are no issues. We’ve seen many dispensaries and agencies attempt to build website solutions on Jane Roots and Dutchie Plus – the success rates vary greatly. Below is an example from a dispensary that attempted to execute Jane Roots on WordPress via WooCommerce compared to Rank Really High’s bespoke solution.