How to Build a Revenue-Focused CBD SEO Strategy

In this article, we’ll be outlining the exact SEO strategy that we use as a starting place for our CBD and other e-commerce SEO clients. It’s revenue-focused, straightforward, and BS-free. Let's dive into it.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one CBD content marketing channel that your brand can’t afford to ignore.

Not only can it help you predictably acquire customers in all stages of the funnel, but it offers a viable (some might say better) alternative to paid ads, which aren’t profitable for new brands without a lot of traffic to retarget — and which are heavily restricted for hemp and cannabis brands.

But where does your CBD brand start with SEO?

Unfortunately, most of the guides we’ve seen on CBD SEO strategy are focused mainly on driving traffic. They say little about how to drive revenue — make actual money — from organic search.

Additionally, much of the material out there focuses on individual SEO tactics (blogging, SEO audits, meta descriptions, etc.), not strategies. There are an endless number of tactics you can use in SEO, and if you try to do all of them, you’ll run out of time and get nowhere.

By starting with a robust, revenue-focused SEO strategy, it becomes very easy to identify and execute the highest-leverage tactics.

So in this article, we’ll be outlining the exact SEO strategy that we use for our CBD and other e-commerce SEO clients (obviously, with some changes for each client to suit their goals and business). It’s revenue-focused, straightforward, and (we think) devoid of BS. Let’s get into it.

Why SEO for CBD Companies?

Of course SEO, when done right, can bring you new customers.

But why is it a good investment for CBD brands relative to other digital marketing channels? There are several reasons.

SEO Offers an Alternative to Paid Ads

For many CBD brands, paid ads are either very hard to execute, or in some cases, not viable at all.

Meta (Facebook & Instagram) and many other platforms have strict advertising policies that CBD brands have to follow to get ads live.

Often, even if the policies are followed, ads still get rejected and have to be appealed.

And that’s if advertising would even be profitable for your brand — it’s usually recommended that you have some initial momentum as a brand, and have some traffic, before you start advertising.

This allows you to retarget people who have visited your website, increasing the conversion rate on your ads and therefore the ROI on the money you spend.

You need to have traffic before you begin utilizing paid ads, and even if you do, ads are difficult to execute — SEO provides a channel that can get you this traffic, and do so without needing to jump through so many platform-specific hoops.

SEO takes longer to start working, but once it does, it does.

SEO Gives Nonlinear Returns

SEO is commonly referred to as “free traffic,” because once you get a page to rank, you don’t have to pay for the visitors it receives. This is categorically false: it’s not free to create content or optimize pages, and it’s not free to maintain them once they begin to rank.

The tools aren’t free. And so on.

But where SEO is beneficial from a cost standpoint is that it gives you increasing ROI over time — it will drive more and more revenue over time without requiring you to spend more than you already are. Over time, you enjoy better profit margins on the same marketing spend.

This is not the case for paid ads.

Although optimizing your ad copy, ad creative, landing pages, product pages, and so forth can yield improvements in ROI, once all of these changes have been made, you’ll essentially be stuck at about the same ROI.

You spend $1000, you make $3000. Spend $4000? Make $12000. Your revenue is directly proportional to the money you spend on ads — not so with SEO!

SEO Is Less Competitive Than Many Channels

In SEO, you can, in theory, build a strategy that makes your business visible to any group of people you want.

Although many businesses optimize their websites for some of the same search terms, there are also many valuable search terms you can target that most other companies aren’t — this means you don’t always have to fight for the attention of the same group of people.

Finding new audiences is possible using paid advertising, too, but you have far more flexibility with SEO.

This means that “too competitive” is not a major concern in SEO.

Maybe those terms are too competitive, but there are other strategies you can use to gain visibility and authority before trying to capture top spots for high-competition keywords and topics.

In practice, this also rings true — in an analysis we did of the SEO strategies used by the biggest CBD companies, we discovered that SEO, especially content-based SEO, is quite underutilized by companies with lots of resources.

With the right strategy, smaller CBD brands have a major opportunity to gain visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and acquire customers organically.

SEO Builds Trust That Advertising Can’t

By its very nature, good SEO involves fulfilling requests and helping people. That’s because it’s the job of search engines to help people do things, know things, or get to places they want to go.

It also means that, by helping people do the things they want and need, companies who do good SEO end up building trust with potential customers — trust they can’t build by showing people ads.

In addition to the trust you build by providing high-quality information and products to people, if your business shows up for terms that your potential customers search for, you’ll be seen as an authority.

Compared to many e-commerce verticals, trust is particularly important in the hemp and cannabis space — CBD companies who provide high-quality online experiences have a leg up in this regard.

The Three Pillars of an Effective CBD SEO Strategy

A good CBD SEO strategy has three main pillars, or areas of focus.

Each company’s strategy will look different, depending on their products, target audience, and goals, but all good strategies will involve the following:

  • Optimizing product category pages — Ranking your category pages enables you to capture traffic and sales from people who know what type of product they’re looking for, but are still trying to decide on the exact product to purchase.
  • Optimizing product pages — Ranking your product pages enables you to capture traffic and sales from people who already know what product they’re looking for. In some cases, they’ll know the exact product they want (e.g. a certain brand of CBD gummies in a certain potency and count). In other cases, they’ll be looking for products that fit certain specifications (e.g. delta 8 THC gummies with 25mg delta 8 per piece).
  • Writing blog content — Writing content that targets various information-focused search terms enables you to answer questions that potential customers are asking.
pillars of CBD seo strategy

These are in order of importance.

Category and product pages are “money pages,” or the pages where people go to explore making a transaction. For this reason, traffic to these pages is the most valuable type, as you can fulfill people’s intent to purchase.

Blog posts are not money pages, but they will be visited by people who are likely to make a transaction but may not have decided to yet.

Traffic to these pages, while not as valuable as traffic to money pages, is still valuable because it results in email signups and purchases — just not as much as from money pages, as blog visitors have less purchasing intent than visitors to category and product pages.

Concepts You’ll Need to Understand Before Executing an SEO Strategy for Your CBD Brand

Before we go into more depth on CBD SEO strategy, we’re going to discuss a few concepts that govern the way effective SEO strategies are built and executed.

Understanding these concepts will help you determine which keywords should be targeted, and how to build pages that rank for these keywords.

Topics vs. keywords

Learn more: How to come up with CBD blog topics

The first thing you’ll need to account for when planning the SEO strategy for your CBD brand is that queries don’t exist in isolation — they belong to larger topics.

Although keyword research tools provide data by the keyword, you need to plan your strategy around topics.

That’s because different people will use different syntax — different words — to search for the same thing. There’s no need to create separate pages for these different keywords if they are, in reality, searching for the same thing.

Generally, the keywords in a topic will follow a certain distribution. There will be a few short-tail keywords with higher search volume, and then many long-tail keywords with lower search volume.

For example, let’s take the topic of CBD vs. THC — a comparison between two cannabinoids.

The short-tail keyword — the head keyword — is “cbd vs thc.” Long-tail variants might include [cbd vs thc for sleep] and [cbd vs thc for anxiety].

In practice, what you’ll want to do is optimize the page for the head keyword in a topic, but meet the search intent for all keywords in a topic, much of which will overlap.

You’ll also want to ensure that keyword variants are part of the same topic. To do this, you can search for the main keyword and search for the variant in a separate tab, then compare the results.

If they’re mostly the same, the variant is part of the head keyword’s topic. If they’re different, you’re dealing with separate topics.

Understanding how keywords relate to parent topics helps you to decide how many pages you need to build to rank for the keywords you’ve set your eyes on. It also helps you to prioritize your SEO work better, since you’ll be accounting for the search volume and difficulty across an entire topic, versus for an individual word.

(From here on out, when we say “keyword,” we’re referring to the head keyword of the topic — the keyword you’ll be optimizing a given page for. However, remember that a page never targets an isolated keyword, but rather, a set of keywords that are part of the same topic).

Search intent

Once you’ve identified the topics you want to target, you need to understand how to go about building pages for them.

Whenever you’re building or optimizing a page that goes after a certain keyword, you must understand the search intent behind that keyword, and then fulfill the intent on your page.

As its name implies, search intent is the intent of someone who searches a query. What are they looking for?

Every query has both active and passive intent.

Active intent is the intent explicit in a certain search term. For example, someone looking up “will CBD cause you to fail a drug test?” wants to know whether or not they’ll fail a drug test after using CBD.

Passive intent is the intent implicit in a certain search term — additional things that a person searching a query will want to know that aren’t necessarily spelled out in the search term. From the example above, someone searching “will CBD cause you to fail a drug test?” might also want tips on how to avoid failing a drug test while using CBD.

To rank, and to stay ranking, a page needs to fulfill both the active and passive intent behind a certain query.

In building category and product pages and writing posts for your CBD brand, you’ll need to ensure you’re meeting the search intent behind each keyword you want to rank for.

In practice, to meet search intent, you’ll need to understand what subtopics or sections a page needs to include.

The best way to determine these “intent requirements” is to perform a SERP analysis, which consists of looking up the keyword you’re trying to rank for and studying the results to figure out what your page needs to include.

Bottom line: if you want your SEO to work, you need to meet search intent.

For more on search intent, check out this article from Seer Interactive.

To learn how to perform a SERP analysis, check out this article from Search Engine Land.

Topical authority

Topical authority is authority that a website earns, in the eyes of Google, by producing high-quality content on a topic.

The most high-quality content you have covering a topic, the more your website is seen as an authority on that topic.

Pages on a certain topic carry more weight if they’re written by a person or entity that Google sees as an authority on the topic — if your site is seen as authoritative on a topic, pages of theirs related to that topic will rank higher (or in the case of new pages, begin to rank more quickly).

CBD brands can leverage topical authority to increase and expedite their returns from SEO.

To do so, you’ll want to produce plenty of high-quality content about the topics that are most important to your business. We’ll talk more about topical authority in our discussion on blog content.

To learn more about topical authority, check out this article from Search Engine Journal.

With the core concepts in place, let’s get into CBD SEO Strategy!

Pillar 1: Category Page Optimization

The first pillar is optimizing your product category pages.

What?

Category pages (called “collections” pages on Shopify stores) are the pages that display groups of products that share an attribute.

On your brand’s website, you may have your products categorized by product type (oils, gummies, vapes, etc.), cannabinoid (CBD, delta 9 THC, etc.), use (products for sleep, anxiety, pain, etc.), or something else.

Why?

CBD SEO category pages

Category pages are one of the two main entrance points for users who intend to purchase something (the other being product pages).

They’re the most important page type in e-commerce SEO because most people go general to specific when shopping.

They might decide they want to buy CBD gummies, so they go online and explore some options before opting for a specific potency or formulation.

Ranking for category keywords allows you to acquire users the moment their purchasing journey begins, and increases the chance that the product they decide to buy will be one of yours.

The alternative is that your competitor’s category page ranks, and you have to hope and pray that people going to that page go back to the search engine to look for specific products instead of purchasing a product from your competitor’s category.

As a result of the general-to-specific buyer psychology, product categories generally have more search volume than specific products, so there’s also generally more SEO opportunity here.

Step 1: Build Your Product Categories

Types of product categories you have are unique to your business. Maybe you have products sorted by type, cannabinoid, use, and strength.

You might already have your product categories sorted out. But if not, simply ask yourself what would make the most sense for your customers.

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, for example, and customers generally come to you asking for specific cannabinoids, then you should have cannabinoid-based categorization.

If most customers ask for specific product types, like gummies or capsules, then type-based categorization makes sense, too.

Categorize your products in a way that makes them easier for potential buyers to find. You’ll then do keyword research to improve their search visibility.

After researching keywords, you might decide that additional categories are a good idea, or that current categories should be adjusted to more closely match how people search for products — but this is a good start.

To illustrate category building, we’ll make up a hemp/cannabis brand product line.

Let’s say our brand:

  • Carries CBD, delta 8, and delta 9 products
  • Offers oils, gummies, and vapes for each cannabinoid — 3 varieties of each product for each cannabinoid, 1 variety each for sleep, anxiety, and pain
  • Designs products primarily for sleep, anxiety, and pain

Based on this, our potential categories might be:

  • CBD products
  • Delta 8 products
  • Delta 9 products
  • CBD oil
  • CBD gummies
  • CBD vapes
  • Delta 8 oil
  • Delta 8 gummies
  • Delta 8 vapes
  • Delta 9 oil
  • Delta 9 gummies
  • Delta 9 vapes
  • CBD products for sleep
  • CBD products for anxiety
  • CBD products for pain
  • Delta 8 products for sleep
  • Delta 8 products for anxiety
  • Delta 8 products for pain
  • Delta 9 products for sleep
  • Delta 9 products for anxiety
  • Delta 9 products for pain

Obviously, it’s unlikely your brand will have such an even spread of products — the point is that you’ll want to create categories such that products are easy to find.

Step 2: Choose Your Keywords

After you come up with your categories, it’s time to conduct keyword research for them and identify the head keyword that best suits the page.

Generally, you’ll want to ensure that the keywords you choose for your category pages meet two requirements:

  1. Have search intent for products, not information
  2. Have search intent for a category of products, not a single product

If you come across a keyword that fails one of these requirements, it’s likely better fitted for a product page or a blog post.

Ideally, a third requirement met by a category page keyword is that it has some search volume.

The amount of search volume you’ll want to target will depend on the product category, the stage of your business, and your goals, but if a category has zero search volume, it likely means people are searching for it in a different way.

That said, if you’ve researched keywords for a product category in every possible way and there’s no volume, it’s still worth building if it will help your website visitors find things.

With basic principles in place, we’ll research a few example categories.

Category example: delta 8 products for sleep

We’ll start by putting the exact category name into our KW tool (we’ve omitted “for” as it’s not necessary to the meaning of the term, and leaving it out may yield more results):

Big fat nothing! The keyword exists, but it barely has any volume.

Let’s simply try [delta 8 for sleep], which we’ll modify to [delta 8 sleep] for better results:

Note that some of these results are not fit for a category page — [does delta 8 help you sleep], for example, is better for a blog post. But we can filter those out.

Now we need to check the search intent on this query to ensure it’s appropriate for a category page:

Given that only 2/10 results are product-related, and only one of them is a category page, it’s obvious that this keyword is not fit for a category page. It primarily informational, rather than transactional, intent.

We’ll need to go back to the drawing board on this category. It’s also very likely that other queries in the same framework, like [delta 9 for pain] or [cbd for anxiety] will also be informational, not transactional.

Here, we might consider going with more general categories (e.g. [delta 8 products]), and then targeting keywords like [delta 8 for sleep] with blog posts.

Category example: delta 9 vapes

Again, let’s put the keyword in:

Here, we can see that some of these keywords contain the plural “vapes,” while others the singular “vape.”

Generally, keywords referring to products in the plural indicate that someone wants to see several products (so a category page), while keywords that call out a singular are looking for product pages.

Let’s see if this distinction is present by searching for [delta 9 vape pens] and [delta 9 vape]:

Surprisingly, the top results are almost identical — both 100% category pages.

This indicates that most people searching either of these terms want to see several options — so all of these keywords are part of the same topic, [delta 9 vape], which we’d want to optimize this category for.

Step 3: Build and Optimize Your Pages

With our head keyword in mind, let’s optimize.

Assuming you’ve already set up category pages that show collections of products, there are several things you’ll want to do to these pages so they have the best shot at ranking for their target keywords:

Step 1: Write a category title and short category description

Make sure the keyword you’re targeting for your category page is in the H1 ((the page title and first main heading on the page), meta description, and URL slug.

Then, follow up the H1 with a 200-300 word description that describes the unique benefits and features of the product category, and includes your keyword in the first sentence.

Step 2: Write an in-depth category description

In the section of the page following the products, craft a longer (~500 word) category description that goes more in-depth on your products and the problems they solve. Include your keyword throughout the H2s, H3s (if you have them), and body content.

Step 3: Write FAQs

After the in-depth category description, list and answer any frequently asked questions that customers have about products in this category.

For ideas, look at the people-also-ask box on the SERP of the keyword you’re targeting with your category page:

Including FAQs provides value to users by addressing questions they might have — this helps increase the number of people who stay on your site versus going back to the search engine to look for more information.

Step 4: Build internal links

Ensure your category page is linked from your header and footer menus, as well as from relevant blog posts (if you have them).

Internal links signal to Google that a page is important in a website, improving its ranking. They also help your category page get discovered more quickly, reducing the time it takes for it to begin ranking.

Step 5: Build sorting functionality

Include functionality that allows visitors to sort the products on your category page by different characteristics — price, reviews, and anything else that’s relevant.

This allows people to quickly find what they’re looking for, increasing the chances that they’ll click on a product (and hopefully buy), versus going somewhere else. This becomes doubly important if you have many (10+) products in one category.

Pillar 2: Product Page Optimization

The next pillar is optimizing your product pages.

What?

Product pages are pages on which specific products are sold; every product you sell has its own page on your website.

Why?

CBD SEO product pages

While there aren’t going to be as many people searching for specific products as for broad categories, product pages are still a very, very high-leverage opportunity.

Ranking them for their relevant terms allows you to capture organic traffic from people who are ready to buy the products you offer.

Step 1: Choose Your Keywords

Choosing keywords for product pages takes some imagination. For any given product, there are several different ways you could describe its features and benefits.

As an example, let’s say you sell full-spectrum CBD gummies that are made with melatonin and contain 100mg of CBD in each piece.

Are these [full-spectrum CBD gummies], [CBD gummies with melatonin], or [100mg CBD gummies]?

All of these keyword groups have 100+ monthly searches.

Each of these keywords is a viable option.

When choosing which keyword to target with a product page, ask yourself:

  • What is the defining reason you made the product? Choose the keyword that best describes your product’s defining feature. So if your gummies were formulated specifically for sleep, it would be best to take the [CBD gummies with melatonin] angle.
  • Do you have another sufficiently similar product? For example, if you have multiple types of CBD gummies with 100mg per piece, you’ll want to vary the keywords you pick as you only want one product targeting the term [100mg CBD gummies]. Optimize your product pages for the keywords they best fit — search each keyword and see what types of products are ranking, then work accordingly.
  • Which keyword has the highest volume and/or lowest competition? If you have several keyword options that are all equally viable ways to describe your product, and none of them apply to any other product that you carry, pick the one with the highest search volume OR the lowest competition. If your site is new, favor keywords with less competition. If your site has a good deal of authority (backlinks, content, a strong brand), go for the highest-volume keyword.

As with category pages, make sure the keyword you have in mind has product intent, NOT product category or informational intent.

Product example: delta 8 gummies

Let’s research the term. Here are some of the results we got when we put “delta 8 gummies” into SEMrush:

Without even looking at the SERP, it seems this term is better for a category page because:

  1. It contains the plural “gummies”
  2. There are variants — potency ([100 mg delta 8 gummies], [50 mg delta 8 gummies]) and use ([delta 8 gummies for pain]).

But let’s check anyway:

Yep, 5 category pages, 2 product pages, and a few other results. If we’re building a product page for delta 8 gummies, then, we need to get more specific. What potency do they come in? What are they designed for?

Let’s say we’ve formulated our delta 8 gummies specifically for pain. What about going after [delta 8 gummies for pain]?

Product example: delta 8 gummies for pain

Far more specific, but still plenty of volume:

Let’s check the SERP to make sure it’s product-intent:

This SERP has a mix of products and blog posts, but notice that the product pages tend to rank higher than the posts — a clear indication that people searching [delta 8 gummies for pain] intend to explore specific products.

Step 2: Build & Optimize Your Pages

With your keyword in mind, it’s time to optimize your product page.

Step 1: Write product/page title, meta description, and description

Put your target keyword in the page title (preferably, it’s in the product title, but you can also customize the page title without changing the name of the product in your store), as well as the meta description and URL slug.

Be sure to also include your keyword 2-3 times in your product description — just ensure you do so naturally, so as not to take away from the clarity of the description.

Step 2: Install high-quality media

Even if visitors land on your product page from organic search, they won’t buy from you unless you have high-quality photos (and ideally videos, too) showcasing your product.

In the CBD space, this is especially critical.

Include photos and videos that clearly show your product’s label, and that show your product in action. Work to show visitors what their life could be like if they had your product.

Step 3: Install user reviews

Nobody wants to be a guinea pig. People want to be assured that other people are finding a product useful before they spend their money on it. Including reviews from people who have bought a specific product can improve that page’s conversion rate.

Research by Harvard Business School found that a one-star increase in reviews led to a 5-9% increase in revenue for independent restaurants.

You’re not a restaurant, but the same effect applies here. Include reviews, get more sales and get better returns from your organic traffic.

If you don’t yet have any (or many) reviews for your products, ask current customers to do you a favor and leave a review in exchange for free products, discounts, or other benefits.

Pillar 3: Blog Content

Category and product pages are the most important pages to rank for a CBD company. That’s where all the money is.

But there’s one more pillar: blog content.

What?

Long-form content hosted on a blog section on your website — primarily written, but images, graphics, and videos can add a lot to your posts.

Why?

Importance of CBD SEO blog content

High-quality blog content is very important for CBD brands for three main reasons:

  • It helps you build topical authority, which then improves the rankings of your category and product pages
  • It acquires links, which boost your site’s overall authority, which then improves the rankings of your category and product page
  • It captures traffic from people who don’t intend to buy products, but who are likely to become customers, therefore driving sales and email signups

Blogging also allows you to continue scaling your traffic. Even if your product and category pages were infinitely optimized, their traffic would eventually plateau because there are only so many people searching for products.

Writing blog posts for your CBD brand that go after informational queries allows you to continue reaching new potential customers — and it allows you to tap into valuable queries that money pages can’t rank for.

And that’s just the value for your bottom line.

From a hearts-and-minds perspective, CBD companies with well-maintained blogs can more easily build trust with potential customers.

In an industry plagued by bad products and false claims, the company that goes out of its way to help people solve their problems via high-quality content is at a distinct advantage.

Once you have the money pages in order, it’s time to produce amazing content.

Step 1: Choose Your Topics

Instead of discussing methods by which to come up with topics (e.g. talk to your customers), which are tactics, we’re going to talk about how to decide which types of topics to come up with, which is strategy.

There are a million different ways to go about deciding which types of queries to target with blog posts.

However, we recommend using two guiding principles when deciding the types of topics to include your content strategy:

Write a lot about the few topics most important to your business

You’ll want to write about your products, but not necessarily in the literal sense. Rather, if you carry delta 9 and CBD products, you’ll want to focus most of your content on delta 9 and CBD.

Likewise if you specialize in HHC or CBN products — go all-in on these topics.

If you offer all types of products, then choose a few topics, build many pieces of content around them, then move to the next few topics.

Matching your content strategy to your product line does two things. First, it means you’ll be capturing traffic from searchers who are likely to be interested in, and buy, your products (this will also mean more email signups).

Second, it means your company builds topical authority. If you write a lot of high-quality content about delta 8, your company will be seen as an authority on delta 8, so your delta 8 categories and products will tend to rank higher in search.

Prioritize bottom-of-funnel and middle-of-funnel queries

marketing funnel

Target keywords that indicate the searcher is thinking about products — keywords that indicate the searcher is in the middle of the funnel (they are interested in products) or the bottom of the funnel (they want to buy a product).

When optimizing your category and product pages, these types of keywords are very easy to find. Someone searching “25 mg delta 8 gummies” has the explicit intent to purchase delta 8 gummies that each contain 25mg of delta 8.

But with blog posts, any product intent is going to be passive intent — it won’t be in the keyword, but you can deduce that someone searching a specific term is also interested in or wants to buy a product.

These queries will be different for every brand, but here are a few frameworks to help you find them:

  • [cannabinoid] vs [cannabinoid]
  • [cannabinoid] vs [cannabinoid] for [issue]
  • Does [cannabinoid] [solve some problem]
  • How to use [cannabinoid] for [problem]
  • [CBD brand] vs [CBD brand]
  • Best [cannabinoid products]
  • Best [cannabinoid products] for [issue]

There are many other examples of queries that indicate people are interested in, or want to buy products, but are conducting some research before doing so. Often these types of middle- and bottom-of-funnel queries will hint at some point that the person is trying to solve.

Step 2: Do Keyword Research & Topic Prioritization

If you’ve done your due diligence in selecting content topics, keyword research shouldn’t be too hard.

Keyword research should help you discover the keyword landscape for each topic you’re interested in writing about, thereby helping you determine which articles to produce first.

Here’s the basic process you’ll want to follow to research your topics:

  1. Enter your topic into the keyword research tool
  2. Experiment with how you word your topic to ensure you’re seeing all the results that you can (remove extra words and ensure you set your tool to return keywords that aren’t phrase matches)
  3. Determine which keywords are part of your topic
  4. If a keyword looks like it might be part of another topic (in many cases, there will be multiple keywords that seem different from the topic you put it), Google it and compare the SERP to your main topic.
  5. If some of the keywords aren’t part of your topic, apply filters to exclude them.
  6. Record the head keyword (the highest volume keyword in the topic, or the simplest expression of it),the total search volume of the keywords in the topic, and the average difficulty of these keywords, in a spreadsheet

Once you’ve conducted keyword research for all your topics, it’s time to prioritize them. There isn’t a ton of magic to this, and there are several ways to do it.

If your keywords are nearly all bottom-of-funnel or middle-of-funnel, we recommend prioritizing the lowest-difficulty topics first, because you’ll be able to win some early rankings and build some authority before trying to rank for harder topics.

If you’ve decided to target keywords throughout the funnel, we recommend prioritizing the button of the funnel first so that the content that will drive the most sales will begin ranking first.

But really, most of the leverage is in choosing the right topics; while it can speed up your progress, the order in which you produce your articles doesn’t matter too much over the long run.

Step 3: Produce Kick-Ass Blog Content

To properly walk you through content production, we’d need a whole other article (we’ve linked our favorite pieces on this at the bottom of the section, though).

Given that this article is more strategy-focused, we won’t walk you through every content production technique under the sun. Instead, we’ll cover a few key tactics that will vastly improve the quality and SEO performance of your content.

Conduct a SERP analysis

Once you have a keyword in mind, conduct a SERP (search engine result page) analysis to determine what needs to be in the content for it to rank. Here is the exact process, copied word-for-word, that we use:

  1. Do a Google search for the keyword you’re targeting
  2. Write down all the search intents (subtopics or dominant themes) in the titles of the top 10 results for the head topic that you’re targeting
  3. Determine which sub-intents are most important.
    • Type your keyword into Google, search it, and then click in the search bar to see the autocomplete dropdown. Make a list of what you see — be sure to order it so you know which intents come up first.
    • Google the head keyword, then google the sub-keywords discovered via autocomplete.
      • Analyze which sub-keyword SERP is most similar to the SERP of the head keyword.
  4. Decide which intent(s) to take for the keyword
    • Pick the intent that Google ranks highest in the autocomplete box and/or gives results most similar to the head keyword.
  5. Write article headline based on your chosen intent
    • Keep it 60 characters or below
  6. Determine what to include in your article
    • Go through all the articles on the SERPs for the chosen intent and list the sub topics covered in the article (and how often)
    • Make a list of semantic (related) topics/KWs based on the PEOPLE ALSO ASK and the RELATED SEARCHES modules that show up for our topic
    • Note the general trend of what people are looking for, and figure out which articles are doing it well vs. not, embed these insights into your outline

Based on your SERP analysis, you can then build a minimum viable outline for your article that includes all the topics you’ll need to cover to rank.

You’ll then want to go through and enhance this outline based on your unique knowledge.

Bring new perspectives to the table

Google rewards content that brings ideas and perspectives that other content doesn’t.

Because of this, after you include all the topics that you need to rank, you also want to add something unique.

As a CBD brand owner or operator, you’ll likely have some perspectives to share in your content that others simply don’t — whether from your own experimentation with products, conversations with customers, or knowledge of the industry.

Find ways to include some of this rare, valuable insight into your articles.

There is another method you can use to bring new ideas to your content: look at what people are saying on forums like Reddit and Quora.

To do this, simply search “[your target keyword] site:reddit.com” or “[your target keyword] site:quora.com,” and make notes of the things people say in their posts and comments.

These are perspectives from real people that you can use to enhance your content.

Use custom images and media

No one wants to read a wall of text, and they sure don’t want to be subjected to canned-looking stock images.

Include real photos of your products in your content — make sure it’s related to the topic at hand, of course. If you have a YouTube channel, embed videos where it makes sense.

If you have the time, we also recommend making custom graphics, such as charts and diagrams, to make your content easier to understand and more pleasurable to consume.

Inserting high-quality media into your posts may seem like a small thing, but you’d be surprised at how many brands don’t do this.

Leverage internal linking

As you write each article, link to other articles you’ve written that cover other aspects of the same broad topical area.

Not only will this improve the reader experience and keep people on your site for longer, but it will help Google understand which articles are related to each other, accelerating the pace at which your site builds topical authority.

You’ll also want to link to relevant category and product pages. This signals to Google that these pages are important, and that they’re related to the topics covered in your blog posts.

Lastly, you’ll want to go back into related posts you’ve already written and link to your newly-published article. This will accelerate Google’s discovery of this new article.

Force index new articles

Google Search Console has a feature that allows you to request that a page be indexed if it isn’t already.

After you publish a new article, submit its URL, as well as the URLs of updated articles that now link to it, for indexing and re-indexing.

This will help your content be discovered and rank more quickly.

Other Things to Keep In Mind

We’ve covered the things that will render the lion’s share of SEO results and organic revenue for your CBD business. But there are a few other things worth paying attention to.

Site Speed & User Experience

If your site is built on a platform like Shopify, or if it’s built on WordPress through a reputable host, site speed shouldn’t be an issue for you.

Still, it’s important to give some thought to site speed and user experience. As such:

  • Ensure you don’t have any broken links. You can check for these with the SEO audit feature that many tools have.
  • Use compressed image types. JPG and WEBP files are smaller, and load faster, than PNG files; make sure you convert your images to the proper file type before uploading them onto your category pages, product pages, or blog posts.
  • Make sure your site looks and works well on mobile. If your site is built using a premade theme or was built by a reputable web design agency, this shouldn’t be an issue. But if it is, it must be corrected; mobile e-commerce sales account for 60% of e-commerce sales.

E-E-A-T

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

While not a Google ranking factor, these attributes are associated with things that Google does account for when deciding how a webpage should rank.

Google deems E-E-A-T most important for sites in your money, your life (YMYL) niches — niches such as health, finance, and so forth.

Given that CBD products are used for things like sleep, anxiety, and pain — in other words, things that impact people’s health — it could be argued that the CBD and cannabis space is a YMYL niche.

In essence, you want your blog content to demonstrate that you have E-E-A-T.

Here’s what each factor means, and how you can design your content and website to demonstrate your E-E-A-T:

  • Experience — the content creator’s first-hand experience with the topic areas.In your content, mention your personal experience with using hemp or cannabis products (or have the author, if not you, do so) for the issues you’re discussing.
  • Expertise — the author’s expertise and depth of knowledge on the topic.Build an author bio for blog posts that states the author’s experience in the CBD industry, or the health sector in general. Demonstrate that the person writing the content is qualified to do so and has something valuable to share.
  • Authoritativeness — the overall reputation of a publication.This can’t easily be affected by features on a page; instead, authoritativeness is determined by the number of backlinks from reputable sites that your site or your content has, your company’s social media presence, and the amount of branded searches that you get.
  • Trustworthiness — the overall trustworthiness of the site and whether what they are producing is factually correct and honest.To demonstrate that your company, and that you, the person writing the content, is a trustworthy source, tell readers how and why you came to know what you know about the topic. For example, share your experiences experimenting with different cannabinoids. Share stories your customers told you about how those delta 9 sleep gummies helped.
  • Build an author bio so that it’s clear who is producing the content.
  • Have an about page for your company that reveals who is behind your company and what your mission is.

Nothing in E-E-A-T is hard and fast. We’ve seen brands succeed without it.

Still, try to do what you can to demonstrate Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness to your readers — it will help potential customers trust you, and it might help you rank better.

Conclusion: Building a CBD SEO Strategy That Drives Sales

We can’t tell you everything that you’ll need to account for when building an SEO strategy for your CBD brand.

Since your brand has its own unique products, positioning, and target demographics, the strategies you use and the pages you decide to optimize (and the keywords and topics you optimize them for) will look different than any other brand’s.

Still, there are a few defining elements that are a part of almost every successful strategy.

You’ll need to pay attention to the category and product pages, and you’ll need to produce high-quality blog content: this combination will help you capture traffic from potential customers, whether they’re ready to buy or still investigating the types of products you have to offer.

Either way, if you do good SEO, you’ll build a positive reputation among potential customers, and you won’t be doing it under the control of any major ad platforms.

Need to outsource your SEO? Check out our guide to the best CBD SEO agencies.

Wells Westmoreland
Wells Westmoreland

I'm the Founder of Aperture and a major proponent of the first-person author bio. When I'm not developing and executing marketing strategies for my clients and for Aperture, I enjoy listening to music, reading books, shooting hoops, and working out.

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