Cannabis SEO Case Study

Product-led Marketing for Dispensaries

How Dispense helped Ascend Wellness Holdings increase revenue via a +49% increase in organic search traffic

+49%

Increase in organic search traffic

$44M

Revenue from organic search

+223%

Increase in ranking keywords

* 90 days of using Dispense's SEO Menu (results on Google)

Company

Ascend Cannabis is a U.S. multi-state operator, with dispensaries in five states including Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Ohio.

ascend map

Goals

Ascend wanted to make their menu data work for them and enhance their online presence to capture valuable organic search traffic. In order to do this, Dispense implemented a new menu system using product-led SEO strategies to programmatically create thousands of optimized product pages on letsascend.com.

Marketplaces and iFrame solutions have little SEO benefit.

Ascend was previously using an embedded iFrame menu solution. Since search engines consider the content in iFrames to belong to another website, the content inside was not indexed or available to appear in Google’s search results, resulting in zero dispensary SEO benefit. This is true of many other menu options: they do not help you drive new traffic to your website.

Laurie Blair Ascend
"We already had all of this data in our menu, all we had to do was switch to Dispense's SEO menu which allowed it to be searchable, so customers could find us and our products."
Laurie Blair, SVP of Marketing at Ascend

Solution

Product-led SEO drives organic search traffic.

With iFrames, cannabis retailers get zero product based SEO value because the products do not live on their website. Dispense developed a dispensary software system to allow Google to properly crawl and index product pages. When Ascend switched to our SEO menu, their search traffic increased by 49% from the previous period (May - July vs February - April).

Product based SEO creates content for you.

With Dispense's SEO menu, every product, brand, and category becomes indexable and helps you rank in search results for the most searched cannabis keywords. This increase in traffic translates to increased revenue.

Results

Laurie Blair Ascend
"Dispense helped us to significantly increase our organic search traffic which resulted in increased revenue."
Laurie Blair, SVP of Marketing at Ascend
organic search revenue dispense


Over the 90 day case study, 54% of online revenue for letsascend.com was from organic search, that traffic amounted to $43.5m in sales.

From the month of May to June, Ascend saw an 7.5% increase in revenue and an additional 8.3% increase in revenue from June to July.

*Values previous to May were not traceable as this was pre-SEO menu.

search statistics dispense

Increases for all stats.

Year Over Year

year over year web traffic dispense


*Note: Ascend added an additional location which also contributed to the YoY increase. No other stats are affected by the additional location.

Strain Related Searches

Before May, Ascend had very little traffic from strain related search terms. We took a look at all traffic from queries with "strain" in the term to give a glimpse into their total strain related traffic.

After launching the Dispense SEO menu in May, Ascend saw an immediate 3,000 clicks for all queries with "strain" in the term for the month of May. There was an additional 79% increase in June and a 32% increase in July.

strain search traffic


If we were to break down just the traffic from queries with "strain" vs. the cost of our menu solution for Ascend over the 3 month period, you'd get to a ROI of 626%.

strain roi dispense

Additional Product Related Searches

Similar to the strain names, Ascend had almost no traffic from other product related searches prior to launching the Dispense SEO menu. In May 2022 clicks for queries with "gummies" in the search term start to show up and gradually increase over time.

gummie search traffic


These queries are comprised of hundreds of different search terms related to gummies, including brands like 'Wana gummies' and 'Wyld gummies.' Many searches are also strain or flavor related, for example: 'apple pie gummies,' 'durban poison gummies', or 'indica gummies'.

Search Term Revenue by Landing Pages

A more encompassing way to look at ROI is via revenue attributed to organic traffic landing pages for things like strains, brands, and categories. This can be easily seen in Google Analytics due to the URL structure of Dispense' SEO menu.

search term revenue dispense

Strain "Cake"

  • 200,000 impressions
  • 2.6% CTR (5,200 clicks)
  • 484 resulting transactions
  • $48,000 in revenue
  • 5.6% conversion rate

Category "Edible"

  • 150,000 impressions
  • 2.2% CTR (3,400 clicks)
  • 1,800 resulting transactions
  • $200,000 in revenue
  • 7.9% conversion rate

Brand "Ozone"

  • 475,000 impressions
  • 3.8% CTR (18,000 clicks)
  • 2,100 resulting transactions
  • $210,000 in revenue
  • 6.2% conversion rate

Summary

Product-led SEO can be a game changer for dispensaries and cannabis e-commerce. This was only the first 90 days and we're just getting started!

Since launching our SEO menu, we've already made several updates to the core product and will continue to monitor and improve our solutions side by side with our clients. Want to learn more? Join us and let our cannabis software work for you.