Finding CBD keywords that allow you to generate organic traffic to your website is the basis of a successful CBD SEO strategy. When done right, these keywords will generate a steady stream of highly valuable traffic to your website.
Since the CBD market is so competitive (not to mention fraught with legal complexities), ordinary keyword searches are not very successful in this market. It requires some smart tactics to find keywords for which you can rank and drive traffic to your website.
We show you the best three tactics by using the keyword explorer Ahrefs. There are many good keyword explorers out there. Still, we recommend Ahrefs because it has some unique functions that other keyword explorers don’t offer. These functions are very useful for your CBD keyword research.
When looking for CBD keywords, most people focus on search volume. The idea behind this is that the more people search for a particular keyword, the more traffic you can generate with this keyword.
Unfortunately, you get only organic traffic if you rank for it. Keywords with a high search volume also tend to be more competitive. This is especially true for CBD keywords.
Most people know that long-tail keywords tend to be less competitive and are hence easier for which to rank. This strategy has only limited application in the CBD world, as most long-tail keywords are still highly competitive.
When typing keywords into Google, you have a specific search intent. You may have a question and look for an answer to it, or be interested in a product and try to find the best supplier.
When you are trying to rank for a specific CBD keyword, the content must match the search intent of people who are typing this keyword into Google.
If your content does not match the search intent, people immediately leave the page after clicking on it, realizing that the page does not provide the information they are looking for. Google will notice this and decrease the ranking of this page since it is not deemed to be high-quality content.
When generating traffic, you also have to consider how valuable the traffic is. Suppose you want to convert readers into buyers. In that case, you have to make sure that people using a particular keyword are looking for products to buy.
So “how long does marijuana stay in your system” would be a good keyword for an informational page but not for a commercial page.
In general, you should have a mix of commercial and informational pages on your website.
Informational pages help you to generate backlinks which you need to increase your domain rating (DR). The higher your DR, the easier it is to rank in Google. Informational pages should also offer value to your readers and customers, and they help you to demonstrate authority.
So when targeting CBD keywords, always keep the search intent in mind and avoid using informational keywords for commercial pages and vice versa.
Unless you have a huge website like Leafly, you have to focus on long-tail keywords in the CBD industry. Long-tail keywords are longer keywords, usually consisting of multiple words. When you have a competitive keyword of interest, you typically look for long-tail variants of this keyword.
For example, “how to use CBD oil” is a long-tail variant of CBD oil. This keyword is more specific, and hence it is expected that fewer people search for it, but that it’s also easier to rank for.
As you can see in the example below, this is not necessarily true. The search volume is lower (11K instead of 1.2M), but with a KD of 77, it’s not much easier to rank for than CBD oil.
First lesson: Long-tail keywords are not necessarily easy.
But you can filter in Ahrefs for KD to filter out keywords that are too difficult. A commonly used cut-off for KD is 10. So let’s do this.
You can see that keywords with a KD <10 are not great. They are very long-tail and very specific. Many of them are local terms. They have a decent search volume, so you can probably rank for them and generate decent traffic. But if those keywords are not relevant to your website, the traffic they generate won’t be of much use.
The good news: It’s possible to rank for keywords with a higher KD – even if your site has a relatively low DR. Finding these keywords can be quite a lot of work because it requires some digging.
But let’s give it a try.
We remove the KD filter and take a look again at “having same terms”. We see “cbd oil for pain” and “cbd oil for anxiety” – both would be suitable for a content page that is not too specific.
They have a KD of 61 and 60, and both a very high search volume. They both have a similar click per search rate of ~0.7 and hence a high number of clicks.
Further down at the SERP overview, we notice, however, quite a big difference between these two keywords. Only very high DR sites rank for CBD oil for anxiety. All of them have a DR> 25; only one is relatively low with a DR of 26.
In contrast, two sites with a DR < 25 rank for “cbd oil for pain”. One of them even has a DR of only 9, has only a few backlinks, and has a high traffic of around 4,000. Make sure to look at this page to see if you can write content that is better than this. If you do, ranking for this keyword is doable – even if you don’t have a high DR site.
You can then look for even longer tail keywords by checking “cbd oil for pain”-related keywords. We see “how to use cbd oil for pain” and “cbd oil for back pain”. For both keywords, there are two sites with a DR < 25 ranking for it, and they get decent traffic. So these two keywords would make good secondary keywords for your “cbd oil for pain” content page.
To summarize, a good keyword should
A low KD difficulty is a first indication that it’s probably easy to rank for this keyword. But by having a closer look at the SERP overview, you can find out if ranking is doable despite a high KD.
You can see that keyword research from scratch can be cumbersome – especially in the CBD world. While you might have to do it from time to time, there are also easier tactics that you can apply to your keyword research.
An easy way to find good keywords is to check what works for your competitors and “steal” some of their keywords. To do this, you look at your competitors’ sites with a low DR and high traffic. You then check their top pages and for which keywords they rank.
We won’t go into detail here because we covered this strategy in depth in our step-by-step guide about cannabis SEO. You can apply the same approach to CBD.
Gap analysis is an Ahrefs function that helps you to find gaps in your content. In different words: keywords that you could easily rank for but that you’re not targeting yet.
For this, we check our low DR competitors’ sites again. The idea is to find keywords for which they rank, but you don’t. If they can rank for it, so can you!
You can find competing websites through Ahrefs. Just enter your domain into the site explorer and go on “competing domains”. The most important information here is the DR and their organic traffic.
Now, we use the content gap tool that you also find in the site explorer. You should enter here as many low DR competitor sites as possible.
You get a list of keywords that your competitors rank for, and you don’t. It makes sense to apply some filters here. In intersect, unclick “1 target” and maybe also “2 targets” to find only keywords for which at least two (or three) of your competitors rank. You can also apply filters to KD and search volume.
In the example list, we see a few promising keywords. Two competitors rank for “How to use cannabis oil” at positions 1 and 5. Another one is “how to smoke cannabis oil”: Also, two competitors rank for it at positions 3 and 10.
“How to use cannabis oil” has a KD of 6 and a search volume of 1,000. Four websites with a relatively low DR rank for it: 22, 25, 12, and 19.
“How to smoke cannabis oil” has a KD of 22 and a search volume of 300. Three websites with a relatively low DR rank for it: 12, 29, and 22.
Also, note that the top-ranking websites didn’t even target this keyword (not even the DR 12 site at position 3). So by writing content that targets this keyword explicitly, you should easily rank for it.
While the search volume of these two keywords is relatively small, you can still get decent traffic from them.
With this tactic, we again use our competitors to find good keywords. But this time, we are looking at high DR sites. High DR sites often rank for keywords without much effort.
These ranking pages may be of low quality, without any backlinks. By creating better content that is 100% unique and using some clever link building, you can beat pages from high DR sites.
To do this, take a competitor’s site with a high DR and enter the domain into the Ahrefs content explorer.
You then get a list of pages from this website. Set a filter for referring domains (RD)and set a small maximum number. You can start with 1, and you will get pages with no or a maximum of 1 backlink. If there are only a few pages with RD < 1, you can set the value slightly higher, maybe to 5. Also, filter for organic traffic (e.g., > 50) to get only pages with decent traffic.
Then click on details to see for what keywords these pages rank. We can see here “cbd oil for stress”. KD 32, search volume 1,100.
Looking at the keyword in more detail, you immediately see that it has a good click rate: CPS is 0.92, resulting in 1,000 clicks. Two low DR sites (23 and 25) rank for it and get good traffic. It looks like a good keyword!
Since there are many high DR CBD websites, you can repeat this process until you have enough keywords to create an endless stream of content.
Because CBD keywords are highly competitive, merely looking for long-tail keywords doesn’t work. The easiest way to find profitable keywords is to check what works for your competitors.
Finding and targeting the right keywords is essential when you want to generate high organic traffic from Google. Still, it is only a small part of a successful CBD marketing strategy.