SEO case study

HOTH X Client Earns 700% More Links In Competitive CBD SEO Market

How does a CBD seller compete in a newer market that’s expected to be valued at $20 billion by 2025?

The first thing they need to do is make sure they have a strong online presence.

CBD only became legal to sell in 2018 but over the last four years, it’s become one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.

While that’s good news for businesses selling CBD, all of that extra competition makes it difficult to stand out to prospective customers.

This case study will address how we helped one seller to boost their CBD SEO and increase web traffic by producing high-quality content.

Start scrolling to find out how we did!


The client at the center of this case study is an online CBD seller that prides itself on providing all-natural products.

Everything listed on their website is organic, grown in the United States, premium-grade, and tested in labs by an objective third party.

The client offers a variety of products for their customers: topicals, edibles, oil tinctures, and bath bombs. What really sets this company apart from other CBD sellers is its inventory for pets.

Customers can purchase CBD treats and oils for cats and dogs. They also have oil, gel, and ointment for horses.

A marketing representative from the company reached out to us in October 2019 to help grow their website. It was launched earlier that year and we checked it out when they called.

We saw that the client’s website was nicely designed, easy to navigate, and already featured a blog. All we needed to do was help them to tweak some of their on-page SEO and build up their CBD SEO content to start getting the ball rolling.

The Full SEO Audit

If you’ve never worked with an SEO agency like The HOTH before, you wouldn’t know how we start every new campaign with a complete audit of a client’s site.

We need to dig deep to see how pages are structured, what keywords are being used, and how their content is performing across the web.

The CBD SEO audit allows us to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.

From the audit findings, we can help a client to develop and implement a winning SEO strategy.

As we described above, the client’s page looked really good.

The problem was they were only averaging about 75 web visitors each month.

Why was such a nice website not getting the traffic it deserved? Part of the issue was they weren’t ranking for enough keywords.

Our audit found they only ranked for about 85 keywords when they first called us in October 2019.

And that was half of the problem. The client’s backlinks, which are one of Google’s top-ranking factors, were lacking. We only found about 25 links from other domains. Our team was essentially helping this client to start their SEO from the ground up.

Good SEO takes a few months to gain traction but we knew we could help this client build up their customer base.

Discovering “Easy Wins” For Our Client

Besides conducting a full site audit, one of our first moves is to identify possible “easy win” keywords that can help them get a quick boost in traffic.

SEO efforts can take a minimum of three months to start showing any effect, so it’s helpful to get a client’s traffic up in the meantime so they can make more money.

So, what’s an “easy win” keyword exactly?

These are keywords that a client is already ranking for in positions 4-30. All we have to do is amplify that ranking by using those keywords more often in content or web copy.

Here are some examples of “easy win” keywords we pulled for them:

  • “hemp oil vs oil coconut”
  • “cbd dmso”
  • “cbd for sinus pain”
  • “calm down kitty”
  • “cbd for horses”

We found hundreds of these keywords but only picked specific ones that we knew best fit the client’s business.

These keywords would help increase their traffic because searchers would be more likely to see them when searching for “cbd dmso” or “calm down kitty.”

Once all of the “easy win” keywords were going to work, we could spend the next few months targeting the more competitive keywords in positions 1-3.

Analyzing The Competition’s CBD SEO

At the beginning of this case study, we described how competitive the CBD industry has been since 2018. For this reason, we needed to conduct a thorough competitive gap analysis to see what other sellers were doing.

Finding high-performing keywords is the main focus of a competitive gap analysis but we can also gain some insight into effective CBD SEO strategies that are putting them at the top of SERP.

Our analysis found 48 domains that were in direct competition with our client for the same keywords.

Some were very similar to our client (an online CBD seller with the same product offerings) while others were different kinds of businesses like nutrition stores or pharmacies that carried a few CBD brands.

One very similar website, for example, ranked for 6,951 unique keywords having to do with CBD.

Our client didn’t share any common keywords with this company but we were able to mine their site for keywords that would work in our new SEO strategy.

Examples of these unique keywords include:

  • “infused gummies”
  • “delta 8 side effects”
  • “pure cbd oil”
  • “cat cbd”
  • “does hemp get you high”

There were literally thousands of keywords to choose from but we narrowed down our list to the most effective for our client.

We could also use these keywords in content or web copy as we implemented our new SEO campaign.

The SEO Campaign

All of our homework was done and the next step was to implement a new SEO campaign that we developed alongside the client using our research and search engine expertise.

This client was very interested in producing more content about their products, specifically videos and blog posts.

Quality content educates prospective customers about hemp and CBD, which is important for any business selling these supplements, but it also boosts their SEO.

We call that a win-win!

The client also ordered new written content for their site through HOTH Blogger. It’s one of our most popular products that connects clients with professional writers to compose SEO-optimized blogs.

HOTH Syndication was another useful product for this client. They were able to syndicate their highest-performing content to 300+ authoritative sites. Syndication lifts a brand’s overall exposure and earns them a few backlinks along the way.

In 2020, the client decided to enroll in our fully managed SEO service. In this program, they are assigned a dedicated campaign manager and get to choose from our full suite of advanced SEO products.

Once in our managed service, known as HOTH X, most attention was paid to building backlinks through HOTH Guest Post.

Our team of professional writers created guest posts ranging from 500 to 2,000 words including custom anchor texts and high-performing keywords. They even published those posts on behalf of the client using our network of reputable sites.

Clients can choose whether they want to focus on web traffic, domain authority, or a little of both. As you can see below, the client chose to focus on DA:

  • DA50 Guest Post
  • DA40 Guest Post
  • DA30 Guest Post
  • DA20 Guest Post

Our campaign wrapped up in December 2020 and we couldn’t have been happier with the results. Check out what happened below!

The CBD SEO Campaign Results

Our favorite part of serving clients is being able to show the results!

As a member of HOTH X, our client had complete access to all of our performance dashboards and we regularly touched base with them about how their campaigns were doing.

One of the first things we observed was the client’s incredible spike in traffic.

A chart showing how the online CBD seller increased traffic from 75 to 300 during our campaign.

Traffic increased from 75 to 300 during our campaign. They even reached a record number of visitors (380) in June 2020.

Ranking keywords also increased during that period.

A chart showing how the online CBD seller's ranking keywords increased to 104 during our campaign.

Our “easy win” keywords really put the client over the edge with their rankings but you can also see the gains we made in positions 1-3.

And, finally, all of our efforts to create killer content through videos and guest posts resulted in more backlinks.

A chart showing how the online CBD seller earned 700% more backlinks during our campaign.

The client’s number of referring domains ballooned from only 25 links when they first called us to about 400 today.

During our campaign, we increased their referring domains to 200 which was a 700% increase. Their links have continued to grow this year.

Building links is one of the best things a business can do to improve its SEO.


What should you learn from this case study?

Great content in the form blog entries, and guest posts can improve your traffic and earn you new links.

Whenever another site links to yours they share some of their “link juice” to help you rank higher. Really what this means is that the other website has given you its stamp of approval.

Our client, the online CBD seller, used a bunch of our best-selling SEO products but one of the smartest things they did was to sign up for HOTH X.

That way they could pick and choose what services to use and a dedicated campaign manager was always available to them.