Google Indexing & CBD: What CBD Brands Should Know From an SEO Perspective
No matter the industry, search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital tool for your company. For as effective a marketing strategy as it is, there are some tricky things about it. There are plenty of SEO do’s and don’t, and Google’s algorithm is evolving all the time. And when you’re a small business, you will need all the help you can get to stand out from local search results.
This is particularly true for those in the cannabidiol industry, as competition soars and businesses need to find a way to expand their presence online while following Google’s stringent rules for the cannabis and CBD sector.
To help you wrap your head around effective SEO, we are going to look at one tool to take advantage of: Google indexing.
Google indexing involves Google downloading data (text, images, etc.) from websites, parsing it, and finally, indexing it. If your website is not indexed, it will not appear in Google’s search results. When you first create a website, it will take anywhere from 4-28 days for the Googlebot to index your site. There have been reports that it took fewer than four days, or longer than 28 in other cases.
Google tends to find pages to index through three ways: a sitemap, finding new pages, and discovering them from an indexed page. The former involves providing Google with important images/pages. You may also be able to have them indexed through proper linking through the main page. The way indexing works is that it categorizes a page under every word mentioned on the page. Google’s crawler booths will take your main page, examine every single word on the page, and add it to each entry.
So, for a CBD website, you want to make sure that you include many relevant terms for your users. This helps them index the page under those terms, and have those pages show up on search results for those words.
The frequency of indexing will depend on how frequent page updates are. Googlebot tends to favor newer websites, which includes newly created and updated pages. Having your site listed on Google through indexing is one thing, but climbing it is another story.
As is the case with a lot of SEO tools, the more successful your website is, the more likely Googlebot will index you. A solid predictor of success is to update your page frequently, but if it’s not up to snuff, it will be hard. Googlebot will inevitably index your pages, but continued indexing requires this extra effort.
This is self-explanatory, but it’s important to understand so you can rank well on Google. You may be able to see short-term gains in some respects by making content regardless of quality. Yet, in the long term, you’ll be hurting if you don’t consider quality writing in your SEO. Your website should include content that is interesting, well-written, and most importantly, well-researched.
Visitors to your website have a good eye for flaws, especially if the website is one of many. CBD e-commerce sites are a dime plenty today, so they may go elsewhere if your content seems subpar. If the copy that accompanies your products is riddled with errors or incomplete, this may also create doubt about the quality of your brand for human readers. For Google bots, it means your site is unreliable and will be ranked lower compared to similar sites.
One thing that a lot of websites do to retain readers is to host relevant blogs on the site. Even if the goal is for them to sign up for a service or buy your product, blogs incentivize continued viewing. Keeping visitors on your website for longer is a good way to rank better on Google.
When designing these blog pages, it is paramount that you consider them your product as well. This means that you double-check accuracy, and cite information that goes beyond common sense. Additionally, check the grammar and spelling, and make sure that it keeps readers’ attention.
Another big advantage of blog posts is to link to other pages on your site and elsewhere. The former is good to maximize how far readers go onto your website, especially if you do it in a compelling way. The latter is good to break up the inbound links, as well as give confidence that what you say is trustworthy. The more thought and effort is put into these posts, the better they do with user retention.
By this, we mean that you should aim for success via legitimate means. This means that you should aim to make quality content before anything else. Link-exchanging programs, for instance, are helpful, but they’re frowned upon. Blatant link-exchanging is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines because it’s seen as gaming the system at the expense of the user.
This does not mean that link-exchange programs have no value; you just need to make sure that you execute them well. If you want to do such a link exchange, your best bet is to be discerning about who you exchange links with, and whether doing so will actually benefit you. A low-quality website could actually hurt you in the long run if their links communicate to your readers that there’s no value in clicking them.
The key to a good exchange is to make sure that what you’re linking is trustworthy and of interest to your readers. You should make the link feel natural and relevant to the hyperlinked text. Basically, the reader should feel like it makes sense that clicking the hyperlinked text brought them to the linked page. Most of the time, Googlebot can tell whether you did a low-effort link exchange with relative ease.
For example, if you own a CBD news and events website and you want to do a link exchange, a good option is by partnering with a CBD e-commerce site. The mindset here is that there may be interest for your readers in a CBD store. Conversely, the CBD store’s customers may be interested in CBD news, such as the state of cannabis laws and regulations, since medical and recreational cannabis laws are continuously evolving over time.
Keyword spamming is also a no no. Keywords are fine, but if you do a poor job of it, not only will Googlebot be able to tell, so will your readers. Keyword spam, at its worst, makes a page illegible, and often with no real indexing benefit. Be sure to both use strong keywords, but also use them only when it feels right.