Digital marketing in the cannabis and hemp industries is like walking a tightrope – on one side of the balancing pole, you have an audience that you need to reach – using the vocabulary they use. On the other end, you have Google algorithms limiting your visibility and restricting your content.
Regardless of industry, most marketers know, building backlinks is a solid way to increase domain authority. A backlink is an outgoing URL leading from one website to an external website. Backlinks inform search engines of the most popular/shared pages. Therefore, the most useful pages create domain authority for your website, which can heavily tip the scales for any business attempting to rank online.
For the cannabis industry, backlink building can be a minefield! With many cannabis websites containing flagged content or holding low domain authority, building backlinks can make or break a website domain.
To avoid common backlink building mistakes, here are three simple and natural ways to build your domain authority using backlinks. These methods are fast, free, and easily added to the daily management of any canna-business.
Submit Your Business to Cannabis Directories
Directory listings can build domain authority; however, they must be relevant to your target audience, and the directory itself has to be reputable. To build backlinks safely, you need to utilize tools such as Moz Link Explorer to check for healthy domains. Only use cannabis directories with a domain authority score of 40+ and spam percentage of 65% or less.
Start with reputable directory listings such as Google my business, Bing Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp, and Yell. Search engines ‘expect’ to see these directory listings when they crawl your cannabis website. Next, you will want to start building directories around your target keywords and begin branching out to your industry’s directories.
Of course, start with our Cannabis Tech Directory, but you can also find a full list of cannabis directories on Foot Traffic. To find local directories, try searching your location and include terms similar to; ‘Medical + Cannabis Directory,’ ‘Recreational + Cannabis Directory,’ ‘Cannabis Directory.’
Suppose you are willing to invest in a premium directory listing, such as Leafly. In that case, you will want to check that the directory has either: a high volume of traffic to the directory or a highly targeted and highly engaged customer user base. You will also want to ensure the directory has been around for at least two years and the directory listing has public visibility – not restricted to users only. You can ask for this information directly from the directory itself.
Top Tip: When building your directory listings, spend extra attention ensuring the addresses, emails, and phone numbers match up. Keep a list of your directory listings; you might need to change your email address or phone number at a later date.
Broken Backlink Method
Website pages and their owners change over time. These pages can become irrelevant or deleted, losing purpose for their user. When any website links to one of these ‘broken pages’ in their article or website, it is called a broken link.
While catching up on your local cannabis news, you can find these. Open up the links in a new tab as you are reading. When done, check to see if any of them contain outdated information or load a 404 page. Note them down and email the website owner later to suggest one of your website pages as a suitable replacement.
The broken link method should be something added to the daily management of your canna-business; you don’t want to flood your website with these at once. You want to build them gradually and naturally over time. However, if you would like to look for broken links proactively, you can use an online backlink scanner such as Dr link Checker to detect them.
Posting on Cannabis Job Boards
Whether your company is hiring or not, you can create a business profile on online job boards. Not all job boards will pass on domain authority to your website, large job boards such as Indeed get more traffic, but they mark their links with ‘no follow’ tags. This tells search engines to ignore the link while scanning their site. Creating ‘No follow’ links reduces spammy backlinks that could damage a website owner’s authority. Popular job boards have a large volume of traffic and job postings each day. It would not be cost-effective to check every link, and therefore they automatically apply these tags instead. It is important to note, ‘no follow’ links are not worthless; they can still pass on referral traffic to your website.
On the other hand, smaller job boards are great for building your domain authority. A few examples of cannabis job boards are Ganjapreneur Jobs, Growers Network, Careers Cannabis. These do not mark their links with ‘no follow’ tags and can be a goldmine for related keywords and building your domain authority.
Top tip: keep a spreadsheet of your business job profiles and logins, so when you do hire, you can post to each of these. This will increase your domain authority and the diversity of your applicants.