SEO Might be the Best Advertising Option For CBD Companies in 2020
Published on January 02, 2020
by Samer Awada
While this is an exciting time for anyone looking to get into the CBD market, it is important to know that making your brand succeed in this space won’t be a walk in the park. Since the 2018 Farm Bill officially legalized hemp and hemp-derived products on a federal level, the floodgates opened and the green wave that was already gaining strength culminated into a monsoon. The market is quickly becoming saturated and highly competitive; if you haven’t begun your marketing plan yet, you run the risk of being swept away by your competition. However, make no mistake: It might sound like it is almost too late to get in now, but the amount of growth that is projected for this market in 2020 is enormous, which means the window of opportunity is still open.
Facebook, Instagram and Google’s Restrictions on CBD Advertising
At the moment, some challenges that many CBD entrepreneurs are facing are the restrictions that Facebook (and its product, Instagram) and Google have placed on CBD advertisements. Since hemp-derived CBD was only just made federally legal at the end of 2018, and since all CBD isn’t necessarily hemp-derived, Facebook and Google’s approach to dealing with the murky state of legality is to just avoid it altogether. This will likely change over time, especially since there is a strong movement pushing for full-on legalization of all marijuana products - and Facebook and Google are forward-thinking companies that revise outdated policies with every update - but for the time being, they are not an option for CBD companies looking to advertise and market.
Facebook’s restrictions include prohibiting ads that promote the use or sale of illegal drugs, both recreational or prescription. Also restricted are ads showing any drug-related items, the image of the cannabis leaf or plant, or anything that could imply recreational use of a drug.
In a similar fashion to Facebook/Instagram, Google also bans cannabis or CBD advertising via their channels. Google’s policy doesn’t allow ads for recreational mind-altering substances. Also restricted are advertisements for products or services that were made to support recreational drug use or ads for content about using, producing or purchasing recreational drugs. If you try to submit these types of ads, they either won’t be approved on Google’s advertising platforms or your account will be flagged for suspension - or both. While CBD is often touted as lacking these effects, the fact that CBD can come from marijuana other than hemp and its potential to be full-spectrum and/or contain some level of THC that is above the legal limit is probably why Google chose to group all CBD content together.
Turning to SEO instead of Advertising
With the two most widely used entities down for the count when it comes to advertising, many companies have adjusted by redirecting what would have been their advertising budgets and efforts and focusing them on SEO instead. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a necessary part of any business’s marketing plan and ensures that your website and/or brand shows up when specific terms are searched. When a consumer searches a term, it usually means there’s a need, and when your brand is the one that shows up to fulfill that need, that’s when a sale happens. But if other brands are beating you out when it comes to those terms, you’ll miss out on opportunities. In light of the biggest advertising outlets not being an option, CBD companies are choosing to go big on their SEO campaigns.
CBD is a New Industry & Investing in SEO Early will Pay off in the Long Run
Since CBD is still in its nascent stages in the grand scheme of things, it means there is a massive amount of future CBD consumers who are still trying to catch up to what CBD is and how they can find it. Once they do, they will eventually become part of the rapidly growing customer base. People are actively seeking information on the products - which means they’re on search engines, typing in key terms that CBD companies could be using in their SEO campaigns. Getting your website and its content indexed and ranked is a must if you want to compete. Doing this correctly will effectively attract your customers which will organically drive your inbound traffic. If your website manages to rank on the first page of search engines, especially Google, you’ll have just as much, if not more of the benefits advertising usually gives you. You will have a continuous stream of sales leads by staying on page 1 of the search results.
SEO is Scalable
Another perk of going all-in on building out your SEO is that you are investing in the long term with a scalable strategy. No matter how big or small your company is, if you lay your SEO foundation down properly in the beginning, implementing onsite and offsite best practices, you will be setting yourself up to expand on it as your company grows.
Building out your keyword strategy will help you map out which terms to include in your website copy moving forward. Over time, you will begin to understand which terms work best versus others; this could very well continue to evolve and change over time, so you will need to revisit your keyword strategy periodically. You’ll also begin to identify opportunities depending on what is happening in the market, so making regular updates to the keywords is important to staying competitive.
As you build out pages and add on to your website, continuing to organize and properly name your title and header tags will be a necessary ongoing task so you can be sure your pages index. The same goes for image alt/title tags, which will ensure your images stand the best chance at being seen in Google images searches, providing another avenue for inbound traffic.
All other SEO best practices, like 301 redirects, and naming URLs properly are all tasks that need continuous maintenance and updating. Adding to your existing SEO foundation means you can grow your SEO’s success along with your business.
The main takeaway: Investing In SEO now is essential to remaining at the top of the search engines later and will help you always be ahead of your competitors in this new CBD boom era.