Artificial intelligence is an exciting opportunity, but let’s use caution for the sake of (1) your time and (2) preserving your website’s authority and reputation.
Content generated by AI is quick and easy. But it’s often emotionless, lacks opinions, and doesn’t always get the facts right. It’s not good for cannabis SEO, which needs all those qualities to truly resonate with readers.
“One of the main problems with AI-generated content is that it can often sound robotic or unnatural,” said Felix Rose-Collins of Ranktracker. “This is because the software doesn’t understand the nuances of human language.”
There’s no doubt AI can be useful, but you shouldn’t rely on it to be your content writer. In this post, we’ll explain how to approach content creation, the potential consequences of AI content, and ways to make SEO tasks easier with AI.
A quick reminder about content creation
Google’s helpful content update is where we saw the search engine really place emphasis on creating for the searcher. The update rolled out in August 2022 as “part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”
Note the intentional wording “by people, for people.”
When it comes to creating content, using automation with the only intention of ranking in search results is against Google’s guidelines. And it’s been this way for years.
Questions to ask yourself about your cannabis content
To have SEO success in the cannabis space, prioritize the needs of the searcher and earn their trust. Here are a few key questions based on Google’s documentation about people-first content to ask yourself. If you’re relying on AI, the answer to every question is likely “no.”
- Does the content demonstrate that it was produced with some degree of experience? Such as using a cultivation product, having actually visited a dispensary, or communicating what a person experienced after consuming an edible.
- Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results for the same topic?
- Does the content serve the interests of site visitors, or does it exist solely by attempting to guess what might rank well?
A people-first approach to content is one of our top SEO strategies at Cannabis Creative, and it should be yours too. Create something you’d want to share. Offer value to searchers. Leave the reader feeling they learned something. Here are several tips for creating helpful cannabis content.
Should I use AI to create cannabis content?
Since there’s a risk of seeing your organic traffic decline or the authoritativeness of your website take a hit, we say don’t use AI to create content. At least for the time being.
Quality and trustworthiness – especially in an industry like cannabis – have become more and more important for SEO these days. Claims need to be backed by evidence, facts need to be cited, and authors need to be trustworthy. AI isn’t meeting those criteria yet.
Let’s not totally ignore AI, though. In a blog post about AI-generated content, Google says, “If you see AI as an essential way to help you produce content that is helpful and original, it might be useful to consider.”
Note that Google isn’t saying to just copy what AI has given you and publish it. If you see AI as a quick way to churn out content, you’re going to have a bad time.
Visitors will bounce from your site if they feel it’s not helpful. People may turn to one of your competitors for their needs. And chances are the content won’t be shared or earn any backlinks if it’s low quality. None of these things help your SEO efforts, and publishing the AI content ends up being a waste of time.
But here’s what is fair game – using AI to help with your content strategy, make grammatical changes to text that you wrote, and handle things “under the hood” for SEO like HTML or Schema markup.
“Saying that AI might replace writers is like saying that typewriters or computers will replace writers,” suggests Tadeusz Szewczyk, a blogger at Search Engine Land. “Can a tool replace the person who uses the tool? Maybe for menial tasks.”
How to use AI for cannabis SEO without the risk of getting dinged by Google
Until AI becomes more trustworthy (ChatGPT previously insisted the peregrine falcon is the fastest marine mammal) and the quality of AI-generated content improves, here’s what we recommend:
Avoid using AI to publish content on your website. This goes for your homepage, product pages, your blog, and everything in between. AI shouldn’t serve as your writer.
If you’re absolutely determined to use AI content, try experimenting away from your website. There’s no SEO risk using the content word for word for email newsletters or internal documentation (e.g., company policies, employee handbooks) since these don’t get indexed by Google. You could even test the content on social media.
AI can also make your SEO and content strategy efforts easier. Here are a few ways to use it:
- Brainstorm topic ideas and blog post titles
- Put together an outline for the topic you’re writing about
- Generate keyword suggestions for your topic
- Categorize/cluster your list of keywords
- Organize your list of keywords by search intent
- Rephrase a sentence or paragraph to be more persuasive, conversational, etc.
- Write a title tag and meta description for your content (tip: give the AI your content so it can better summarize)
- Generate Schema markup for your dispensary location page, product pages, FAQ page, cannabis-infused recipes, etc.