As a cannabis business owner, should you consider outsourcing your marijuana SEO? What do you need to know before you turn to a CBD advertising agency?
In this ultimate guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know when hiring a cannabis SEO company.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Specifics of the cannabis niche
If you’ve been in the cannabis niche long enough, you know how hard it is to drive quality traffic to your cannabis products.
All major social media platforms are prohibiting CBD advertising to one extent or another. Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat… they all banned marijuana ads in their advertisement policies.
So what’s left if you can’t use the most popular and powerful social media platforms?
Three words. Search Engine Optimization!
What are SEO outsourcing services in cannabis space?
If you have any business background, you know how vital outsourcing is for the global economy.
Without it, most of the companies in developed countries wouldn’t exist. At the same time, this principle is quite reliable for less wealthy countries as it allows them to make a much bigger profit than they could otherwise.
This can be especially seen in the field of digital marketing.
Unlike products, where the prices are usually in equilibrium, prices of services vary. This is due to the difference in the cost of labor in different countries.
As we become a global society, these costs tend to become equal.
Nevertheless, it is common for people from less developed countries to give a discount on their services. This is where your company can profit. By giving this work to someone, you can concentrate on your main activity and improve processes that will return an extra profit.
With all that said, ask yourself: should I outsource my cannabis SEO? Is this one of the tools that my website needs to reach the next level?
Before I answer these questions, let’s check out all the pros and cons of search engine optimization for cannabis brands.
Benefits of SEO outsourcing for cannabiz
1) It’s outsourcing
What do we mean by this?
Simply put, no matter how you define this process, it is still something that will save you money.
Whether you use it for marketing or some other activity, it will still be beneficial. Imagine if you did your own SEO outsource, and your working hour cost is $60? On the other hand, you have the option of employing someone for one third that price.
Then again, it comes down to opportunity cost.
Image is taken from slideshare.net
What does this mean?
It is an economic term that shows how much it costs you to relinquish a business opportunity. Let’s face it. You cannot do it all. In these cases, you need to measure what is more profitable.
Is it better for you to perform marijuana SEO? Or is it better to focus on the things you do best?
2) Reduces multitasking
Most people neglect this one.
Website optimization needs to be performed daily. Like any other activity within your cannabis company, there needs to be a particular department (or at least a dedicated professional) that will take care of this.
One thing is for sure. If you outsource search engine optimization, you will have less on your plate.
Let’s face it: we all need support from time to time.
Extensive studies are showing that you should always delegate activities. For years and years, we have been taught that multitasking is a positive thing that shows a worker’s dedication to the company.
In reality, it is the other way around.
Image is taken from codinghorror.com
Multitasking not only reduces your efficiency, but it also leads to numerous errors.
Cannabis SEO is a process that needs to be closely monitored and run by an individual or group of people. It is not something that you can do in your free time, hoping for the best.
Additionally, it requires a lot of research that you won’t be able to perform if your hands are tied with something else.
3) Marijuana SEO evolves quickly
Similarly to anything else connected to high tech, SEO is a profession that continually changes.
This job is based on tracking the search engine’s algorithms and adapting your strategy to them. You need to dedicate a lot of time to improve your knowledge continuously and to increase efficiency.
For example, you can check out all the essential Google changes here.
As you can see, there are quite a lot of them, and every one altered the game in a certain way.
Image is taken from click.co.uk
As the experts from click.co.uk stated in their article, these Google algorithmic updates led to some websites losing 70 % of their traffic.
Such updates can deal with a fatal blow to a company, disabling it from making any profit in the foreseeable future.
Similarly to some other professions like accounting and law, in cannabis SEO you gain a competitive edge by staying ahead of the curve in terms of knowledge.
Not only should you be up to date with the current algorithm updates, but you should also be able to adapt your cannabiz strategy to these changes.
With all that being said, we come to our next point.
Unless you are an SEO expert yourself, you shouldn’t be meddling with something you don’t fully understand.
There are a lot of people who think that by reading a few SEO articles they will be able to do this job. But, the real improvement doesn’t come from things that everybody knows. It comes from using strategies and knowledge not mentioned on the Internet.
As we said, you always have to keep in touch with the latest changes. This is why you need to contact an experienced cannabis marketing agency.
But, that is only a part of the story.
While staying educated is something you may accomplish (with a lot of effort), you will not be able to test things and improve processes.
A marijuana SEO expert knows what is wrong, why it’s wrong, and he has time and knowledge to develop new approaches that will remedy the situation. One of the essential traits of an expert (or agency) is adaptability.
Website optimization is based on trials and errors, and this is precisely why a lot of people get it wrong. It is not something that can be explained in one article.
Although there are a lot of useful SEO guides out there discussing the pros and cons of search engine optimization, nobody tells you what to do when things go bad. And in this profession, things go wrong more often than not.
Additionally, it needs to be said that SEO is a competitive sport. Everybody does it!
In such a world, you don’t stand a chance as a layman. Even a journeyman SEO expert can beat you.
If you decide to do things by yourself, not only will you be inefficient in comparison to your competition, you will also lose resources.
5) The Cannabis SEO expert is not a part of your industry
But, isn’t this a bad thing? Precisely the opposite!
Here is something I noticed in many industries, especially competitive ones.
People will not link to your website even if you give them money. Why is that? Because backlinks help you rank better, and they don’t want your website to rank on the top of Google.
In this case, the SEO professional will see the bigger picture. He will link to other trustworthy resources as a part of his content marketing strategy.
Although, in theory, these websites will never link to you, after they received a link from your domain, they will be more inclined to cooperate in some way. The site owner will never take this step as he is tied up by certain preconceptions regarding his industry.
Imagine this situation. You link out to 100 marijuana websites.
Out of these 100 people, 10 might consider linking back to your cannabis website down the road, or they will send social traffic towards your website.
Other websites will not have this advantage as they will continue thinking within the boundaries of that industry. Yes, they will get a link from you, but you will ultimately be the winner as you will get 10 links at the end of the day.
Not being a part of the cannabis industry has some other advantages as well.
You will have fresh ideas.
Humans are prone to repeating behavior of the others and conforming to the general public. Outsourced SEO professionals will not understand this concept as they don’t know what kind of standard they need to follow.
They will play to the beat of his own drum making your website unique. Also, their cannabis SEO approach will be different, and he might create some new pitches and concepts that you haven’t tried yet.
Always remember, while you have extensive experience working within one industry, SEO expert has experience working in a hundred different industries. Even if an approach fails, an expert will find something else that worked in a different sector and apply it for your domain.
Indeed, an outsourced cannabis SEO expert is a bag of tricks.
6) SEO outsourcing company is a long-term solution
We already mentioned that by employing a cannabis SEO agency, you’ll be able to save some money. But, this is also a great long-term solution for your website.
People think that SEO is a service that you pay for, and it instantly brings you benefits.
In most cases, the marijuana client will have to invest in it for a couple of months before they see any results. But, as time goes by, your marijuana domain will only gain strength.
Based on everything shown so far, it is ludicrous to think that you would do a more efficient job and that you can perform better than a marijuana SEO company right off the bat.
Drawbacks of SEO outsourcing
1) Inherent risks of outsourcing your marijuana SEO
No matter how we present it, we give money to a cannabis SEO company with headquarters in some faraway country, and we hope for the best. It is a significant risk.
Although we try to mitigate that risk by analyzing various factors, this doesn’t always help.
Analyzing outsourcing, IT jobs pros and cons are nothing more than a theoretical analysis.
In real life, it rarely gives us a clear picture of things.
Clutch.co made a comprehensive article in 2015 regarding SEO outsourcing services.
Images were taken from Clutch.co
Obviously, a lot of small companies are satisfied with their SEO outsourcing. However, most of them prefer doing the process within the company and having their own team.
Nowadays, internet businesses realize the importance of having an expert working full time for your business.
Due to all outsourcing risks, they prefer doing cannabis SEO in-house.
Like with most other things, it all depends on your experience with marijuana marketing companies.
Outsourcing can pose a big problem if you are unable to find an organization that will provide excellent results. This is usually the reason why owners do SEO themselves.
Ideally, you should hire a marijuana SEO company that has an excellent track record and which can provide good value for your money.
2) Managing contacts
To some people, this is one of the biggest cons of outsourced SEO.
When you are working with an external SEO agency, you do not have a direct line of communication with other marijuana bloggers. Instead, this is done by the SEO company you work with.
Clients’ SEO stats will remain unchanged if they stop the cooperation. Nevertheless, their connections will be put into question.
SEO is highly dependent on interaction, and in order to get links and social mentions, you will have to communicate with other professionals constantly. This is one of the crucial and most time-consuming tasks in this profession. Nevertheless, it is something that can pay off tenfold.
Often, you will have mutual projects, and you will guest post on their blogs and chat on social networks. One day, if you decide to lay off the cannabis SEO company, you will have to start managing all these individuals.
If your marijuana SEO expert used his own name, it would be tough to renew communication with their contacts. On the other hand, if he used your name for interaction, you may find it hard to continue the conversation as you will most likely have no idea what you were previously discussing or what kind of deals you made.
This may seem irrelevant, but it may affect your future traffic and links as people will no longer be inclined to cooperate with your website.
3) Taking unnecessary risks
Unlike you, an SEO company will do everything in their power to impress you and achieve higher rankings. This can be disastrous as it can lead to some gray hat and black hat methods that will jeopardize the health of your marijuana site.
Similarly to other goal-oriented jobs in digital marketing, the cannabis SEO expert needs constant results in order to justify the costs. This can be a hard task, especially given that SEO requires a lot of time to build up.
Due to this fact, some people are willing to take stupid risks that can affect the health of the website, even leading to a penalty. Again, this comes down to your recruitment process and the ability to recognize a good company.
Generally speaking, reputable cannabis marketing experts will never take such risks no matter what, as they realize potential downsides to the website as well as their long-term status within the industry.
4) The client doesn’t understand the process
Let me give you an example.
A lot of CBD companies outsource their link building or content writing. However, backlinks and content can vary significantly in quality.
Some marijuana digital marketing companies will sell you snake oil, and you won’t even know you’ve been provided with crappy service.
This applies to almost any kind of SEO outsourcing.
Like the whole IT industry, it is very complex, requires a lot of engagement and constant learning. Even if you have some basic knowledge, it will be hard to keep up.
Best way to prevent it?
Give proper directions to the cannabis SEO agency of choice!
Image is taken from copywritertoday.net
Here is how a writing request should look like.
You need to have a basic understanding of links, content, or whatever services you’re trying to buy. Only then can you outsource being confident that you’re getting just the thing you need.
5) Not getting the necessary conversion
At the end of the day, it is all about sales and profit.
The very fact you’ve employed a company to do your search engine optimization means you’re willing to invest in your cannabis brand. But this also means your expectations are high when it comes to potential traffic and conversion.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of marketing agencies in the cannabis space that don’t consider website conversions.
Instead, they simply provide the service mentioned in their contract and try to avoid responsibility for clients’ website performance.
Let’s check average conversion rates based on a channel:
Image is taken from HubSpot.com
Obviously, SEO is the way to go.
But here’s the thing that sometimes happens when you outsource SEO instead of doing it in-house.
The company doing the work will disregard your actual stats and focus on the job they’re paid for. This means even if you get the promised service, it might not affect your rankings enough to give you the boost you require.
Cannabis SEO is an all-in-one service.
It is not a quick solution and the only thing that matters is the end result. No matter how many links or social shares you get, it won’t matter if you’re unable to sell your CBD products at a decent profit.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I didn’t say that this always happens when you outsource your marijuana marketing. It usually happens if you take partial service (such as link building) and are not willing to fully commit to working with one cannabis SEO agency.
How to outsource cannabis SEO the RIGHT way?
If you decided to outsource your SEO, here are some tips that will help you reduce risks:
Hire a reputable cannabis marketing company
Good outsourced SEO services will cost more than bad SEO ones. Any way you put it; you should still save some money even if you have a reputable SEO firm working for you. Here are 5 quick questions you can ask the SEO agencies you’re interviewing to make sure they are legit. Lastly, always hire people with a proven track record.
Create your own contacts
No matter what you decide regarding SEO company outsourcing, it is always good to make your own contacts and stay in touch with important bloggers in the marijuana niche. Even if you stop working with the selected SEO company, you will always have something to turn to.
Learn SEO basics
You should hire a cannabis SEO company for their expertise. Nevertheless, you should possess at least some minimal knowledge to recognize if something is very wrong with your website. This way, you can easily judge whether the company is doing a good job or if you made a mistake during recruiting. Have in mind that if you learn the basics you can one day establish your own team.
Be proactive and forthcoming
Oftentimes, when outsourcing SEO services, problems occur due to bad communication or hired expert’s inability to do his job. Ultimately, your website is your own resource. You have to grant complete access and allow all the necessary changes. If you are unable to do that, it is better not to cooperate with an outside organization.
Opt for full SEO outsourcing service
As I said, SEO is a full service and if you wish to do it properly it is necessary to fully commit. Both you and the cannabis SEO agency can have good intentions and projects may still flop if you don’t give it 100 %. Have in mind that everybody is on the Internet nowadays. You simply cannot compete against CBD companies that investing tons of money into internet marketing and have their search engine optimization, social media and pay-per-click sorted out.
Quality cannabis SEO is expensive. But, it is even more expensive not investing in SEO.
If you wish to cut the costs and have an experienced professional working beside you, it is best to go with an SEO outsourcing service.
You might think that SEO outsourcing management is a lot of work but it isn’t as long as you give good instructions to a company doing the job. It is much less painful than doing the whole process yourself.
Unlike outsourcing in some other industries, cannabis owners and marijuana SEO experts have to work closely together. All you have to do is be patient and have trust in the hired cannabis marketing firm.
In time, the results will come and you will be glad you decided to invest in this type of promotion.
Have you ever considered outsourcing your marijuana SEO? Have you had any negative experiences? Let us know in the comment section below!