Why Link Building and SEO are Critical for Cannabis Businesses (And How to Do It)

Increasing organic traffic is crucial for businesses working in and with the cannabis industry. Since Google and other search engines don’t allow most cannabis and cannabis-related businesses to invest in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to generate paid search traffic to their websites, organic traffic is absolutely essential. Link building is an effective way to improve search engine rankings for your website, so your site gets more organic search traffic.

What is Link Building?

In simplest terms, link building is a search engine optimization (SEO) tactic that is used to increase the number of links from other websites to your website. These incoming links are referred to as backlinks, and when your site gets a lot of backlinks from highly authoritative websites, search engines assume you must be publishing good content. After all, why would an authoritative website link to your site if your content isn’t great? 

Think of it this way. Good websites keep good neighbors.

As a result, backlinks to your site from other authoritative websites are like a sign of trust to search engines. When search engine algorithms consider which results to show in search engine results pages (SERPs), sites and web pages with a lot of authoritative backlinks will rank higher than those with few or no authoritative backlinks – or those with lots of backlinks from sites with poor reputations. Higher search engine rankings typically leads to more organic traffic.

Good Backlinks vs. Bad Backlinks

When it comes to link building and SEO, there are two main types of links – good backlinks and bad backlinks. Good backlinks come from highly authoritative sites with strong, positive reputations. These sites publish great content consistently, and they don’t exhibit spammy behavior as far as search engine algorithms are concerned. These are the incoming links that you want to get to your website to improve your site’s reputation and search engine rankings, which will lead to increased organic traffic.

On the other hand, bad backlinks come from sites with poor reputations. They publish thin content or publish infrequently. They may even participate in spammy activities or have a large number of bad backlinks leading to their site. There are many reasons why a search engine may think a website is low quality. The takeaway in terms of getting backlinks to your website is that you don’t want a lot of backlinks from sites with bad reputations.

There was a time when a metric referred to as domain authority was used by search engine algorithms to determine the reputation of a website. While SEO experts believe domain authority is no longer used in search algorithms to rank search engine query results, you can use it to get an idea of the reputation of sites that link to yours (as well as your own reputation). 

In general, you want backlinks from sites with a domain authority of 50 or higher. That doesn’t mean a link from a site with a domain authority of 40 will hurt your search rankings and organic traffic, but you do want more backlinks from higher authority sites and pages than lower authority. Keep in mind, only big sites, like Amazon, have really high authority – 90 or higher. 

Here are some free tools that can help you analyze domain authority for your site and others as well as existing backlinks to your site:

How to Get Valuable Backlinks to Your Website

Getting authoritative backlinks to your website requires time. First, you need to publish a lot of authoritative content on your own website. If you don’t already have a blog on your website where you publish a minimum of one authoritative post per week, start now. Every new high quality blog post creates another entry point for search engines to find your website and for other sites to link to your site. 

Next, promote your content on social media and in your email marketing campaigns to increase the likelihood that people will see it and share it through their own social channels, link to it from their own websites or blogs, and so on.

Finally, invest some time and effort into building backlinks using one or more of the popular strategies that SEO professionals use: 

1. Write Guest Posts for Authoritative Websites and Blogs

Writing comprehensive, useful, expert content for other websites that have great reputations is an excellent way to increase authoritative backlinks to your website. This process involves searching for websites that publish the type of content you can provide, and then, looking through each site to determine if they publish content from guest authors. Many websites have a page describing the type of content they accept from guest contributors (if they do) along with guidelines for submission. If not, contact them and ask. The worst that can happen is they say no.

2. Conduct Link Building Outreach

SEO professionals use a variety of outreach tactics to find link building opportunities. For example, you could create linkable content, such as reports or infographics, and reach out to journalists or online writers who write about a relevant topic on authoritative websites to make them aware of your great content. Include the link to your content on your website, and they just might link to it in an upcoming article. Online writers are always looking for things to write about!

Another popular technique used by SEO professionals is to use an SEO tool, such as ahrefs or SEMrush, to find broken links on an authoritative website. Start by finding broken links that could be updated with a link to content on your site (if you haven’t published relevant content yet, do so before you reach out), and then, suggest that they update the broken link (which creates a bad user experience and is bad for SEO) with your link.

3. Become an Authoritative, Expert Source

Journalists and online writers are always looking for expert sources to provide quotes and answer questions for articles they’re working on. This is a great opportunity to establish yourself and your brand as an expert and get an authoritative backlink to your website at the same time. There are a number of tools that you can use to find relevant queries from journalists and online writers who are looking for sources. Three that you can join for free and watch for opportunities include:

Key Takeaways about Link Building and SEO for Cannabis Businesses

Link building is highly effective to build backlinks to your website and increase organic traffic, which is critical for cannabis and cannabis-related businesses today. However, you should focus your efforts on getting incoming links from authoritative sites with good reputations. Get started by creating amazing content and promoting it. In time, backlinks, your search engine rankings, and organic traffic to your website will increase.

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