In this Cannabis Creative Interview, I sit down with Spencer Rubeck, CEO of Range Marketing. We discuss the importance of SEO in the cannabis industry, taking advantage of content to increase your ranking, and give you a few actionable tips to use.
Want to work in the cannabis industry?
It doesn’t always require working for a dispensary or farm. Anyone can enter the industry, carving out a niche that combines your skills with a business need.
For Spenser Rubeck, that meant SEO for cannabis companies.
Rubeck is the CEO of Range Marketing, a Buffalo-based SEO company. Rubeck and his team help their clients climb the SEO ranks, increasing their score on Google and other search engines through targeted keyword engagement.
As a copy and content writer, I stress the importance of SEO for my clients. Maximizing your organic reach through strategic campaigns is a crucial part of any business’s online presence, but especially in the cannabis industry where advertising options are limited.
Strategic SEO is crucial for canna-business owners to get found online and drive foot traffic and web sales, but untangling the web of SEO can be complicated and overwhelming.
Needless to say, I was excited to pick Rubeck’s brain on why SEO is important for cannabis companies, and how business owners can get started. So in addition to my usual questions, you’ll also find tangible action items for cannabis businesses straight from Rubik himself.
What’s something in the industry you’re excited for?
SR: The lens that I look at is the cannabis industry from the marketing perspective. There’s so much monopoly happening in the cannabis space. We’ve been in the space now for five years and what we’re seeing is that a lot of these private businesses that we’ve been working with – we’ve seen smaller size dispensaries, seen larger size dispensaries, we’ve seen MSOs, multi-state operators.
There’s a lot of MSOs and what’s really happening is just monopolies – a lot of acquisitions, building this large tower if you will. I see it as a good thing.
Let’s talk about legalization in New York
SR: It’s happening quickly. it’s one of those things that’s been in motion for a while, but it’s very exciting to see the tide finally turning in favor of New York getting things done and doing it the right way too, which I’m happy to say.
It seems like New York’s doing it the right way. Some states did not. And as a marketing company, we feel that, and our clients feel that they have issues with market saturation, there’s too many licenses in one area. There’s not enough of a business acumen that went to the approach of some legalization. So really happy to see that New York state’s actually doing this the right way, approaching it the right way and making it equitable for the right people.
What’s something you see that you’re not a fan of?
SR: One of the things that I see within the industry that I’m not really a fan of it would really be, still to this day, people have this taboo around cannabis.
We put ourselves in new states intentionally to learn about how a market’s opening, when’s the time to market it, how can we help business owners looking to achieve what they’re trying to accomplish within this space in a timely manner and make sure they’re educated and are doing the right thing. It’s really interesting to see that as a market develops, the approach to it from both a political standpoint and social standpoint. That’s definitely been one of the things I never expected and didn’t really know. To actually be inside of the cannabis space and talk to people and have connections and networks. It’s really interesting.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a new cannabis business owner?
SR: I always ask people this question, especially in cannabis: what’s the first thing that you do when you’re heating and cooling goes out?
You’re going to Google search HVAC repair or heating repair. And those results that come up, the first two or three companies, you’re going to work with, or at least have the opportunity to call and they have the chance to work with you and sell you. The same thing goes in cannabis, whether it’s a product, a retailer or anything within this space- consumers are going to search on Google “dispensary near me dispensary San Francisco” and “dispensary Colorado”. You can’t rely on the Weedmaps of the world.
We have to understand that humans are still almost in the hundredth percentile are using Google. Everyone’s using Google, including cannabis consumers who are not yet cannabis consumers. They’re just going to Google something. My advice is always to think about what do you do, as a consumer, that drives purchasing behavior? And that’s the same that’s approach you want to take to your business and your client, your target market.
That really starts to get people understanding, okay, I want value, I want business, I want a reputation. All those things come from the point of sale, which really isn’t the one in your counter at your desk, it’s really on the internet, where people make buying decisions.
Are blog still important for organic SEO?
SR: Oh my gosh. Yeah.
Content is king when it comes to SEO. I mean, that’s basically the term SEO. You might as well just say “content in the right place.” Providing content to consumers in any fashion is always good, when you’re providing it about your business in three phases
- what you do,
- where you do it
- who you do it for
If you can create that story in different iterations you’re really going to benefit. What’s happening in Google’s eyes and not just Google’s eyes, but other search aggregators being Yahoo, it’s all following content. Humans love content.
Videos are always great too. Right. The saying is a video is worth 150,000 words, even like a one-minute video or 30-second video.
But when we want to talk to search engines, we like to write things out until they’re at a point where they’re able to understand and video and diagnose it. Writing things out and talking about your business and talking about what makes you different or what your community loves. Those are things that are truly organic that speak to both human and social elements around those. And that’s what’s going to increase your visibility because it increases the human visibility element. When you increase that element, you’re increasing the organic element.
Talk to me about SEO and time
SR: There’s a couple like different elements of time. The first element of time is that the one that we don’t control that is Google. Google has its own time.
Google doesn’t necessarily index things for 45 days? And in a given cycle you may have crawl cycles that are vastly spread apart. There could be a lot of changes on the site. If the wrong things are happening, what you’re amplifying on the internet could be not what you really want as far as driving results goes.
We’re spending a lot more time down the R and D side, understanding what keywords are popular for what reason, and what’s happening, and what opportunities do we have to improve our campaign because of this factor? There’s so many different things that we’re trying to adhere to.
What’s something you’re proud of?
SR: I’m proud of my team. Always proud of my team.
It’s a development, right? Like every accomplishment, especially in technology, you finish something and then you’re just going to make it better. So it’s never really done. You know, one of our, our largest accomplishments as a company, it’s a large differentiator for us, is our proprietary technology.
Being able to overhaul our proprietary technology to fit within this industry was a great challenge. In doing so, we provide much better value to our clients and we exhaust the best of Range’s resources to provide that value. So as an SEO company, there’s not a lot of other companies who can say that they really focus on really using the resources time, the best to provide data insights, research and development, rather than just changing the elements in the backend of website because they have to once a month.
What’s your favorite fun fact about cannabis?
SR: I think is this one true? Smoking cannabis makes you more vascular, allows your blood to flow better so you don’t get headaches as much. It helps your stomach. I’ve heard that. (Author’s note: studies on this are inconclusive.)