Why Does Search Engine Psychology Matter for Cannabis Brands?

The holding company that is now called Alphabet Inc. first launched its Google Web Search in 1998. The fledgling search engine used mostly text and backlinks to determine how it ranked the results of your searches. Looking back on this, it was primitive, especially in comparison to how complex and sophisticated Google.com has now become. It is also remarkable to think about how important Search Engine Psychology is for your brand’s overall SEO strategy.

Obviously, Google has made it a priority to continuously improve its understanding and functionality based on user intent. To achieve this, the tech corporation compiles huge data sets based on each individual Google user. This includes their search history, location, and any other data a user offers. The goal behind this is that Google hopes to constantly update and optimize its search algorithm as well as its user experience to best align with what users want.

In this article, we’ll further dive into what search engine psychology is, and why it matters. We’ll also give you some helpful action-based tips that you implement immediately.

Why Does Search Engine Psychology Matter?

Do you know why people are searching for your dispensary in the first place? Sure, they are looking to buy cannabis. But understanding the search intent of your potential customers can help bring in more business. Moreover, knowing why users may search for “Wedding Cake Strain,” for example, can help to ensure you continue to earn return visits from existing customers.

The psychology of the human mind is a vastly complex thing. We won’t get too far into the deeply rooted reasons why people make the decisions they do. However, there is a lot of evidence-based, surface-level information you can apply to the mindset you hold about your online presence immediately.

By getting a better understanding of the way Google understands user intent and the search intent of your customers, you can position your dispensary to provide customers with what they really want. Better understanding the train of the thoughts of your customers is a great way to build your business and boost your bottom line.

So with all of this in mind, how can you take action to better understand the search engine psychology of your customers? Here are five action-based tips that you can start on today to help poise yourself to gain a solid understanding of user search intent.


How to Better Understand User Priority

When internet users access Google.com and perform a search, Google breaks these down into four distinct intent profiles based on their priorities. These intent profiles are accurate for both mobile users and desktop users. These profiles are based on the terms, past user behavior, and query responses that Google defines as “micro-moments.”

These data sets estimate the priorities of users, and as such, allow the engineers at Google to estimate what users really want. These search results define both the search intent and the behavior of users when they receive their search results. The four search intent profiles are as follows:

They Want to Know

The first micro-moment profile Google stores data on is the group of users seeking information, learning, or some kind of inspiration. This is usually the easiest aspect of search engine psychology to understand. Typically, these searches will be “dispensary phone number,” or “budtender salary,” for example.

Some users will search in the form of a question, like “What’s a Budtender’s Salary?” Understanding why users are asking questions to the search engine is one of Google’s main corporate objectives for 2021-2022 and possibly beyond. They are calling this The Google Question Hub, with their goal of competing with popular question-answering websites like Quora.

They Want to Go

Our second group of micro-moment users profiles are those who are most likely looking to go somewhere. These are location-based searches like “Italian restaurant near me,” or “dispensary in my area.” They may be in the market to buy products, or they may be thinking about going somewhere in the future.

Google engineers are investing their time into gaining a deeper understanding of what these users want. For now, the assumption that users are looking to buy something should likely be reserved for the fourth micro-moment user profile, which is discussed below.

Increasingly, cannabis consumers are searching for specific products. The two most popular of which, currently include strain searches such as “Gelato Strain in My Area” or “Hash Rosin Dispensary Near Me.” Search users may want to buy now, or they may just be looking to go somewhere in the future.

They Want to Do

These searches are action-based. They can include “How to Get My Passport” or “How to Start a Facebook Business Account.” For the cannabis industry, one of the searches that users perform most often is “How to Get a Med Card in VT”. This is a combination of both location-based and action-based search intent.

They Want to Buy

This user profile is the one that is most likely to want to buy now. They tend to have done their research on a service or product and are looking to put their money where their mouths are. These searches often include phrases like “Burlington cannabis deal,” “dispensary menu,” and so on.

All of these four search profile types indicate the priority of search users by focusing on specific words typed into Google. Google engineers use these “linguistic triggers” to constantly develop, redefine the algorithm — to improve the search engine.

Yes, of course, there are other search engines, but the majority of internet users focus on Google, so we recommend you focus on Google as well.

How to Encourage Social Engagement

As mentioned above, the first iteration of Google Web Search indexed search results based almost entirely on backlinks and text. Now, Google users can instantly access images of just about any pictures, photos, or memes they want, as well as video content, translations, equations, products, geographic locations, and so on.


All of the above can be easily shared with a user’s Google account, which is typically signed on when you launch the Chrome web browser. There’s a reason Google does this. When Google notices your content being shared, this can give authority in search result ranking. It all comes down to one crucial aspect of today’s social media climate – engagement.

Another data set that Google engineers are constantly compiling is the number of shares, likes, comments, etc. that a brand has, also known as social engagement. Essentially, the more engagement, the more likely it is that Google will rank your website higher in search results.

A classic way to encourage social engagement is to offer a giveaway. Something like giving away a free eighth to a lucky dispensary customer. All you have to do is like and share this post, comment, and tag a friend, etc. Get creative with it, and keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t. What your social media fans respond to the most is important for building any brand, not just those of us in the cannabis industry.

Perform Their Cost/ Benefit Analysis for Them

Humans respond to incentives, it’s Economics 101. When we are deciding what to purchase, where to go, what to do, and so on, we typically perform a cost-benefit analysis in our heads before we do so. This means that we’ll review what’s in it for us while estimating what, if anything, it’s going to cost. Sometimes, the cost can just be a few hours of work, while other times it can cost thousands.

One way that you can harness the power of search engine psychology for your cannabis brand is to perform this cost/ benefit analysis for them on your website. A classic way of doing this is to add website copy or content like “Why drive across town and pay more? All of your favorite cannabis products are available right here at [Dispensary Name].”

Clutch – Providing Valuable Cannabis-Related Content

We hope you found value in our post on search engine psychology. Did it help you get started thinking about why it’s important to understand search intent? When we gain a better understanding of search intent, we can also better understand why people make the purchasing decisions that they do.

We have many more cannabis-related articles coming! If you haven’t already, you’ll want to sign up for our newsletter so you never miss a post!

If you’d like to schedule an intake call to discuss your dispensary website, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with Clutch and schedule an intake call today!