Search engine optimization is a critical component of any strong online marketing strategy, and for cannabis businesses, it is even more important. With the industry expanding at a rapid pace and the competition becoming increasingly fierce, SEO has become a vital tool for companies looking to stand out in the crowded online marketplace.

However, SEO is not a static field, and search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to provide users with better, more relevant results. For cannabis businesses, keeping up with these changes is essential to maintaining a robust online presence and ranking well in search engine results pages.

In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the latest algorithm updates. We will also explore how they can affect SEO optimization for cannabis businesses and brands, so you can stay armed with information to adjust your online promotion strategies accordingly.

Learning Basics: What Are Algorithm Updates and How They Work

Understanding what algorithm updates are is essential when creating an effective marketing plan and further implementing any SEO tactics for the cannabis website. Overall, the definition sounds pretty simple: it is a change applied to an algorithm of the search engine that determines how platforms are ranked in searches. Updates are developed to enhance search results’ accuracy and relevance and guarantee that sites do not manipulate the system for a dishonest advantage.

Since Google is the world’s largest search engine and over 90% of web search traffic happens on it, it releases hundreds of updates to its algorithm every year. Most of them are minor, but some might have significant implications for your site’s position in the SERPs.

Main Types

Generally, all of them can be broadly classified into two main types.

  • Core updates are major Google algorithm changes influencing a substantial amount of search queries. They may have a considerable effect on rankings and result in some platforms undergoing a notable traffic decrease or increase. They can take weeks to roll out, and rankings will likely fluctuate during this time.
  • Minor updates are small and commonly impact a small percentage of search queries. While they may not greatly influence rankings, they can still impact some sites.

Algorithms are used to define which sites should be shown in SERPs and in what order. They are complex mathematical formulas that consider many factors, including content quality, backlinks, and so on.

SEO Optimization for Cannabis

Looking at the Latest Algorithm Updates: What You Should Know

Now that you understand the basics of Google algorithm updates and how they work, let’s discuss the three most major ones that have come up recently.

#1: December 2022 Link Spam Update

We will start with the Link Spam Update, released in December 2022. It began on December 14 and was finished on January 12. With it, Google has leveraged the power of “SpamBrain” to neutralize the influence of unnatural links on search results.

What’s in it? Basically, Google upgraded its system of spam detection with the ability to locate bought links and reveal domains used mainly to provide links to other resources. To nullify unnatural links, this algorithm shift uses SpamBrain, Google’s AI-based spam-prevention system. In addition, Google states it can recognize website purchasing links and those utilized for creating outgoing links.

This update potentially creates a widespread effect, affecting search results in all languages. Whether the platform can be impacted by it depends on how you gain links and cite out to other web pages.

Overall, if you follow Google’s finest practices about outgoing and incoming links, the December 2022 link spam update is unlikely to influence your site negatively.

#2: February 2023 Product Reviews Update

This one began on February 21 and was finalized on March 18. There is a specific reference to the fact that it applies globally to eleven languages and is accompanied by a clarification to the existing “Product Reviews” recommendations.

Periodically, Google improves the way its “Product Reviews” system performs. While this February one can seem like a minor change, the outcome is that it shifts the focus of Google’s guidance far away from product reviews update. The changes have the effect of emphasizing the “Product Reviews” system. Its goal is to weed out poor-quality content that appears to be simply summaries while surfacing more reviews that are based on research or true experience.

#3: March 2023 Core Update

This is the latest broad core algorithm update that began on March 15 and ended rolling out on March 28. It was more noticeable than the last one made in September 2022. It is a global shift that has impacted all regions and in all languages, as well as all types of content (as it usually happens with core updates). However, there are no penalties, as the main focus is paid to rewarding web pages that fit the new conditions.

Like any other Google core update, it appears to favor sites that follow EEAT, have excellent and quality content, and enhance the user experience. Other platforms that don’t meet these criteria or engage in black hat tactics will likely experience notable losses.

The March update does not particularly target specific types of sites. In fact, it aims to enhance the quality of the search results and ensure each one remains relevant to users by evaluating the general content in the SERPs.

How to Effectively Respond to Algorithm Updates?

You can consider these helpful recommendations for responding to algorithm updates:

1. Stay up-to-date

Remain informed about the latest algorithm updates by monitoring SEO-related blogs and popular industry publications. Google usually also shares details about its algorithm shifts, so be certain to review the company’s official blog and other announcements.

2. Track your rankings

Keep a close eye on your cannabis platform’s search engine rankings and traffic to notice any changes after a Google algorithm update release.

3. Estimate your SEO strategy

If you have noticed any considerable change in search engine rankings, then it is time to evaluate your SEO optimization strategy. You need to look at your site’s backlinks, content quality, and other important ranking factors to identify any possible areas that may require improvement.

4. Always make appropriate adjustments

If you have found any areas for improvement, make the necessary adjustments to your optimization plan. It may be producing high-quality content, enhancing your platform’s user experience, or anything else.

The Key Takeaway

Cannabis companies of all scopes and sizes relying on SEO practices to grow and develop their businesses online must stay current on the latest algorithm updates. That way, they can make sure their optimization strategies remain relevant and effective. Only by constantly keeping abreast of the changes that happen within the Google algorithms can canna companies rest assured they will remain competitive online, keep successfully reaching their target market, and complete their business and marketing goals.