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Time is precious…
The current climate caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted everything- people and businesses alike are undergoing continual changes and adapting to times of great uncertainty.
As the UK and other parts of the world are entering a second lockdown, the restrictions and limitations of the pandemic are also affecting the retail landscape, including CBD-sellers. The need to adapt to the current climate is crucial, and (now more than ever) expanding your business online is a must!
Competition Drives Innovation
Many new brands may be faced with questions like, “How do I establish my presence online and gain visibility?” and “How do I reach the people looking for my product without spending a fortune on advertising?” The answer is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
SEO is critical to improving your web presence, and to have a web presence at all. It is especially important in the CBD industry, where marketing restrictions and policies – especially those made by the likes of Google and Facebook – mean it is nearly impossible to run paid ads.
The current economic downturns are not favorable for most businesses, and marketing budgets may be tighter; paid advertising can also cost a lot, and may not yield a great return on investment; further making SEO attractive. This article will cover four tips to improve your SEO and grow your online CBD presence.
Looking to expand on the concept of what drives innovation?
A sophisticated read – Innovation and competition: The role of the product market
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. By improving your site’s SEO, you can improve both the quality and quantity of organic traffic via organic search. Improving the quality of traffic means directing the traffic that’s relevant to your business, and therefore increasing the likelihood of conversion.
A greater volume of traffic is always good, as it increases the number of likely sales! Seo-optimized sites also help your website rank higher on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Now that we know what SEO is, and the benefits it brings, let’s take a deeper dive into strategies to improve your site’s SEO.
The Two pillars of SEO:
- On-site/On-page SEO
- Off-site/Off-page SEO
On-site SEO, as the name suggests, refers to elements on your website that you can optimize to improve your website’s SEO. This includes things like your content, as well as the HTML source code.
Link structure is necessary for an effective SEO strategy. You want search engines to understand your website’s sitemap. Your companies content should enhance the user’s experience. 🙂
Off-site SEO refers to elements that are not directly on your website. This side of SEO is generally concerned with communicating the popularity of your website to Google to increase your website’s relevance, credibility/trust, and authority. Since off-site SEO is not directly on your page, it is arguably a lot harder to control and improve.
Furthermore, off-site SEO is an area to tread carefully, as you want to ensure you don’t engage in any black hat SEO tactics (these are tactics that try to fool or deceive google). However, when done correctly, off-site SEO has great potential, and can yield strong and impactful results!
In order to improve on-site SEO, it is important to have very high-quality content. This means that your content should be in-depth, well-researched, and well-written. It is important also to ensure it is reliable and authoritative, so try to link your content back to some authoritative sites and reliable sources.
Your content should be unique, so ensure you check for plagiarism – plagiarised content will negatively impact SEO and (by extension), your site’s results on the SERP. It is also important to maintain relevance to your customer/target audience.
Ask yourself: “What would they be looking for/need help with?” A great way to plan for appropriate content is to use Google Keyword Planner, as well as to look at search queries in your niche, or for your CBD product, and create content to answer the most frequently-searched of these queries.
Lastly, as with everything, ensure your content is user-friendly; avoid using lots of jargon where possible (unless appropriate to your target audience). In the CBD industry, in particular, there is a lack of education and awareness among consumers; brands should be mindful to cater content to CBD newbies.
User Experience (UX)
As search engines have grown in sophistication, user experience has also become a key element of on-site SEO. A poor user interface can not only cost brands potential customers, but it can also damage a site’s SEO power.
Google will pick up these high bounce rates (the rate at which people are exiting out of your site), which can negatively impact SEO. Therefore, it is important to have a user-friendly website; this should be consistent across all devices, including mobiles, as websites are often presented differently on a laptop, mobile, and tablet screens, respectively.
Technical SEO is about ensuring that your site’s technical structure meets the technical requirements of search engines like Google, so it is easier for these engines to crawl, index, and render pages on your website. Technical SEO also includes some elements we already covered in the last two points, such as plagiarism-free content and mobile optimisation.
In addition, you should also ensure it is secure, has fast pages, and ideally follows a flat, organized site structure (as pictured above) which helps search engines crawl more easily and also helps users navigate through your website more easily. Be sure to include relevant internal and contextual links within your website and content as well.
Another branch of technical SEO also involves optimising your URLS; this involves keeping them simple, readable, and relevant to the page content; using lowercase letters and hyphens (if needed).
Well-written URLs can also act as anchor text when simply pasted as links in blogs, forums, social media sites, etc. An example of an SEO-friendly URL is https://alphagreen.io/cbd-oil-benefits. This is the URL for one of Alphagreen’s Academy blogs with the title ‘What is CBD Oil & CBD Oil benefits explained’. By simply looking at the URL, you know what the post is about, and Google will too, which positively impacts SEO.
This is all to do with enhancing your off-site SEO by link-building. There are various types of links you can receive, and strategies you can try in order to receive them.
The primary goal with off-site SEO is to have a strong website linking back to you, preferably on your desired keyword(s), with do-follow links. It is important to have do-follow links, as links marked as no-follow don’t add any value to your SEO/page rank.
No-follow links indicate to the search engines to skip that link on the website, meaning they’re not indexed and don’t enhance page rank.
There are three main types of links:
Natural links are obtained editorially, or earned. An example of natural links/earned media would be a cannabis blog linking their favorite CBD oil on your page, or even press articles covering something about your business.
Manually-built links are obtained by making deliberate efforts to get links to your website, and can be done in many ways (read on to learn more). Finally, there are self-created links, which are those obtained by manually inserting links in online directories, forums, online discussions, and so on.
With all of these techniques, we advise you to conduct a careful audit on the sites that are linking back to you. Overly spammy sites with poor quality content will not have much authority themselves, and therefore are unlikely to add value to your website/ranking.
Qualities of websites that will pass the most equity to your SEO include popular and authoritative sites. The relevance of the linking sites to your niche, as well as the anchor text used.
For companies on a tighter budget, below are some strategies you can employ to obtain backlinks:
- Reach out to blogs within the cannabis niche, and ask if they’d be willing to let you write a guest post for their site with a topic of their choosing where you could also include a backlink to your website. You could also offer them the opportunity to ‘exchange articles’ on each other’s blogs.
- Look out for any unlinked brand mentions. You can always try and reach out to the writer/journalist to say thank you and ask if they could link the post to your website. SEO tools (such as Ahrefs and Moz) offer these brand mention detection features.
- Utilize all your social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. All have great authority and domain ratings, so linking your domain on those profiles will not only help redirect your customers to your site but also act as a backlink from an authoritative site.
- Take part in online conversations on websites related to your website niche.
SEO is an intensive process that requires a lot of time and expertise, but, when done right, it can bring great rewards for your business. It’s as simple, and as complicated as that, as Bukowski famously said. If you don’t have the resources to expedite SEO efforts yourself, you can look into SEO services.
From one SEO to another, this brief collab with the team at Alphagreen was most insightful. Alphagreen is an SEO expert in the CBD field. The company started as an online CBD marketplace, also selling alternative health and wellness products, and is now the leading CBD marketplace in Europe and the UK.
Alphagreen has expanded its core business into a full-scale platform that sells various tech-enabled services to brands, including SEO, paid ads, creatives, and fulfillment. The growth of the platform speaks for the quality and efficiency of the Alphagreen SEO strategy. Alphagreen was founded in October 2019, and in less than a year, they grew their domain rating (DR) from 0 to 51!
Alphagreen’s exemplary growth and success sparked curiosity among leading European and UK CBD and cannabis brands, who are eager to grow their sales and scale their businesses quickly and effectively. Alphagreen provides customizable service solutions according to the needs of your business. Get in touch with their team to find out more by emailing [email protected].
If I may, I would like to leave you with one last important tip!
Networking is very much important in the real world as it is in the digital world, In fact, they might be one and the same. 😉
If you have found this read to be insightful, making you more informed about SEO and the proper strategies to focus on. I would encourage you to reach out to Alphagreen in the UK or myself here in the US, depending on your needs and market.
Disclaimer: This article was written in a creative collaboration to provide you, the savvy business person with knowledge and insight to get a better understanding of SEO.