1548% Increase in Top Ranking Keywords! Exhale Case Study

This case study covers the exponential growth journey of Exhale Wellness, a US-based brand on a mission to improve overall wellness through premium hemp products.

We used a unique combination of strategic link building and affiliate marketing to take Exhale from a site with a DR of 27 to a known name in the cannabis industry with a solid DR of 68!

The biggest challenge in the online growth of cannabis or hemp-based brands is Google’s restriction on cannabis ads. Plus, there’s a lot of competition in this niche.

Thus, increasing organic reach and visibility through an excellent link building strategy and content optimization methods are the only few choices we had. 

When Exhale came to us, it had a basic site and practically no organic traffic. Our SEO backlinks and tailored approach have made it a reputed name with an average organic traffic of 1,674,015 in 2023 (Q4). 

In this case study, we’ve laid down the specifics of our quarter-on-quarter strategy for Exhale Wellness.

What is Covered in the Case Study?

To give you a clear picture of how we assessed, planned, and strategized the growth plan of Exhale Wellness, we’ve tried to be as comprehensive as possible in this case study. Here are some of the aspects the case study covers-

  • Exhale Wellness Background
  • Challenges Faced
  • Solutions Proposed
  • Quarterly Strategy
  • Results
  • Final Thoughts
  • Client Feedback

We have no set formula for increasing Exhale’s online visibility and organic reach. Our backlink analysis follows a dynamic link-building strategy that we modify continuously to adapt to the latest challenges and goals. We conclude this case study with a few words about the experience from the client about their experience.

Brand Background

Exhale Wellness started in 2021 as a brand committed to harnessing the untapped potential of hemp to promote holistic wellness. The brand offers lab-tested, legal, and premium cannabis products in the following categories-

  • Gummies
  • Vapes
  • Flowers
  • Carts
  • Edibles
  • Pre-Rolls
  • Mushrooms
  • Special sexual health range

Exhale Wellness makes the above products using a range of cannabinoids, including CBD, Delta 8, 9, and 10, HHC, THCA, and more. 

When it began, the brand site had very basic content that was not optimized. While its products made a mark with their quality, the site only reached a DR of 27 and an average traffic of 35,702 by 2021 (Q2).

In addition, the saturated cannabis market was making it even more difficult for Exhale to stand out. Let’s talk about all the challenges the brand faced and how we formulated a unique link building strategy for their growth.

Challenges

We thoroughly analyzed Exhale Wellness’s online presence before creating a dedicated strategy. Prior to partnering with 747 Media House, the brand was facing various issues that hindered its growth into a popular cannabis—and hemp-based wellness brand. Our strategy needed to be based on solving these issues starting from day one:

  • Limited Online Visibility

Exhale Wellness was a new brand in a highly competitive market. Hence, it faced many challenges in gaining significant traction and a customer base. Even after offering a selection of high-quality hemp products, Exhale Wellness received only a few clicks. It couldn’t attract many potential customers because the website was not ranking on search engines. 

  • Saturated Market

There are over 3,000 cannabis brands in the US alone. Thus, cannabis is a highly saturated market, especially in the US. Establishing a distinct brand identity and voice was crucial to setting the brand apart from the others. It was one of the main reasons the brand could not build a loyal customer base or effectively leverage word-of-mouth marketing.

  • Low Organic Traffic

Exhale Wellness was doing SEO in-house. Thus, its cannabis SEO strategy was not properly optimized, and there was no backlink profile present to improve its search engine rankings. The complete absence of a solid link building strategy played a key role in keeping its search engine rankings limited, which was ultimately hindering revenue growth.

  • Ineffective Content Strategy

Very basic content was present on Exhale Wellness’s website, and what was available was not optimized for SEO. This affected the ranking and visibility as the content could not engage the customers or provide sufficient answers to their queries. The content also couldn’t offer the depth of information first-time buyers require. The brand also did not target enough branded or niche-relevant keywords.

  • Lack of Scalable SEO Efforts

Exhale Wellness wants to increase its customer base and market share. However, the lack of a scalable SEO strategy equipped to handle the increased traffic or analytical demand of a growing online business has become apparent. The absence of a dynamic strategy has led to missed opportunities for optimization and conversion.

Solution

According to our analysis, we developed a multi-pronged content optimization and cannabis backlink strategy for Exhale Wellness. Our comprehensive and tailored strategy aimed to increase the brand’s online visibility and drive organic traffic in the competitive cannabis niche. We optimized SEO practices, created a content strategy, and focused on building high-quality backlinks. Here’s how we took the average keyword ranking in the top 3 of the site from 52 in 2021 (Q3) to a whopping 5,516 in 2023 (Q4)!

2021 Fourth Quarter Highlights

  • Number of links ordered- 1,500
  • Total keywords- 21,491

2021 Fourth Quarter [October to December]

We started working for Exhale this quarter. We aimed to address the gaps our team had identified in Exhale’s current standing and objectives. Here’s a detailed look into our strategy:

Link Building Strategy

We started improving Exhale Wellness’s site by removing existing content and adding relevant, detailed, and optimized content to its homepage and all service pages. We also optimized images and fixed some design aspects to reduce the average load time. We focused on building a strong foundation with premium backlinks from high-authority sites identified through competitor analysis.

How many Links Ordered?

  • Total links ordered- 1,500
  • Blogger outreach- 50%
  • Niche edits- 30%
  • Media placement- 15%
  • Tier 2- 5%

Results Per Quarter

  • Increase in traffic

We started noticing a positive impact of our efforts from the first quarter. The average organic traffic went from 35,702 visits in Q3 to 552,349 in 2021 (Q4).

  • Increase in Keywords Ranking

Total organic keywords ranking in the top 3 went from 52 to 1,310.

Total organic keywords ranking between 4th to 10th position rose from 273 to 1,989.

Total keywords ranked increased from 3,251 to 21,491.

  • Increase in DA, DR

Exhale’s DR saw a considerable jump from 1 in Q2 to 44 in 2021 (Q4).

  • Boost in Revenue

Our efforts were already translating to revenue, taking it from $162,282 in Q3 to $2,169,784 in Q4.

2022 Yearly Highlights

  • Number of links ordered- 7,800
  • Total keywords- 275,290

2022 First Quarter [January to March]

As we foray into the new year, we drove our focus to build and improve brand authority. Here’s how:

Link Building Strategy

This quarter, our focus shifted to improving Exhale’s online brand presence. Our strategy was to create high-quality backlinks from reputed sites in the domain targeted to the homepage. We used a combination of branded and generic anchors to boost the brand’s authority safely. This approach helped us solidify Exhale’s position in a competitive market while protecting the site from potential penalties.

How many Links Ordered?

  • Total links ordered- 1,500
  • Blogger outreach- 45%
  • Niche edits- 35%
  • Media placement- 10%
  • Tier 2- 10%

Results Per Quarter

  • Increase in traffic

The average organic traffic jumped from 552,349 in 2021 (Q4) to 707,598 in 2022 (Q1).

  • Increase in Keywords Ranking

Total organic keywords ranking in the top 3 increased from 1,310 to 2,948.

Total organic keywords ranking between 4th to 10th position went from 1,989 to 4,259.

Total keywords grew from 21,491 to 52,791.

  • Increase in DA, DR

There was a 3-point increase in DR this quarter, taking it from 44 in the last quarter to 47.

  • Boost in Revenue

The revenue saw an uptick from $2,169,784 in the last quarter to $3,315,497 in the present.

2022 Second Quarter [April to June]

Starting this quarter, we started modifying our strategy depending on what works and what doesn’t.

Link Building Strategy

We expanded our link building strategy to include more pages and content types. Thus, we started focusing on brand, high-volume, and long-tail keywords from this quarter. Our anchor text was still a mix of generic, branded, and URL-based to keep things natural. We wanted to integrate high-quality backlinks into valuable content areas to improve search engine rankings and strengthen the site’s overall SEO structure.

How many Links Ordered?

  • Total links ordered- 1,700
  • Blogger outreach- 45%
  • Niche edits- 40%
  • Media placement- 10%
  • Tier 2- 5%

Results Per Quarter

  • Increase in traffic

The average organic traffic increased from 707,598 in the previous quarter to 845,210.

  • Increase in Keywords Ranking

Total organic keywords ranking in the top 3 jumped from 2,984 to 3,164.

Total organic keywords ranking between 4th to 10th position went from 4,259 to 6,000.

Total keywords grew from 52,791 to 66,186.

  • Increase in DA, DR

Exhale’s DR increased further in this quarter, from 47 to 51.

  • Boost in Revenue

The revenue in this quarter went from $3,315,497 in the last quarter to $3,548,962.

2022 Third Quarter [July to September]

We enhanced our cannabis SEO strategy for Exhale to start focusing on competitive keywords this quarter.

Link Building Strategy

This quarter, we continued pursuing guest posts and niche edits. In addition, we honed in on competitive keywords in its niche, especially those related to hemp product guides and reviews. Our strategy was to improve Exahle’s site authority and backlinks by securing links from top-tier sites known for their strong online presence, thus increasing the ranking of high-competition keywords.

How many Links Ordered?

  • Total links ordered- 2,200
  • Blogger outreach- 40%
  • Niche edits- 45%
  • Media placement- 5%
  • Tier 2- 10%

Results Per Quarter

  • Increase in traffic

The average organic traffic crossed the six-figure mark this quarter. It increased from 845,210 in the last quarter to 1,065,815.

  • Increase in Keywords Ranking

Total keywords ranking in the top 3 went from 3,164 to 3,306.

Total keywords ranking between 4th to 10th position rose from 6,000 to 7,852.

Total keywords increased from 66,186 to 75,645.

  • Increase in DA, DR

Even after our experiments, the DR kept growing consistently. It went from 51 in the last quarter to 55.

  • Boost in Revenue

The revenue kept seeing an upward trend from $3,548,962 in the previous quarter to $4,469,023.

2022 Fourth Quarter [October to December]

Now that the brand was establishing its identity and strengthening its online presence, we adapted the strategy for diversification:

Link Building Strategy

We started diversifying the content types and sites from which we secured links to improve content variety and authority. This strategy focused on securing links for even more high-authority and influential domains, including those with a higher potential of ending up in featured snippets, to increase Exhale’s visibility and drive more targeted traffic.

How many Links Ordered?

  • Total links ordered- 2,400
  • Blogger outreach- 45%
  • Niche edits- 40%
  • Media placement- 10%
  • Tier 2- 5%

Results Per Quarter

  • Increase in traffic

The average organic traffic crossed another threshold, from 1,065,815 in the last quarter to 1,287,630.

  • Increase in Keywords Ranking

Total keywords ranking in the top 3 rose from 3,306 to 3,505.

Total keywords ranking between 4th and 10th position went from 7,852 to 8,905.

Total keywords increased from 75,645 to 80,668.

  • Increase in DA, DR

Exhale’s DR showed landmark growth, going from 55 in the previous quarter to 62 in the current one.

  • Boost in Revenue

The brand’s online revenue kept continuously increasing throughout the quarters. It went from $4,469,023 in the last quarter to $5,469,875 by the end of 2022.

2023 Yearly Highlights

  • Number of links ordered- 15,850
  • Total keywords- 407,920

2023 First Quarter [January to March]

Exhale Wellness had already started creating a niche for itself in the cannabis market. We were getting more traffic, rankings, and revenue. We decided to focus on maintaining and strengthening its position this year.

Link Building Strategy

We continued to build on our existing strategy by increasing content specificity and maintaining a high standard of backlink quality through niche edits and guest posts. We also emphasized strategic content placement and refreshing broken links with high-quality alternatives to ensure stability in rankings and sustained overall traffic growth.

How many Links Ordered?

  • Total links ordered- 3,100
  • Blogger outreach- 40%
  • Niche edits- 40%
  • Media placement- 10%
  • Tier 2- 10%

Results Per Quarter

  • Increase in traffic

Incoming average organic traffic increased from 1,287,630 in the previous quarter to 1,333,146.

  • Increase in Keywords Ranking

Total keywords ranking in the top 3 rose from 3,505 to 4,201.

Total keywords ranking between 4th to 10th position went from 8,905 to 9,779.

Total keywords increased from 80,668 to 82,754.

  • Increase in DA, DR

The DR jumped another 5 points, from 62 in the last quarter to 67 in this one.

  • Boost in Revenue

Exhale’s revenue increased from $5,469,875 in the previous quarter to $6,059,755 in 2023 (Q1).

2023 Second Quarter [April to June]

In this quarter, we continued creating high-quality backlinks to increase site authority further.

Link Building Strategy

We kept aggressively securing backlinks from high-authority sources and known domains in the cannabis industry. Instead of limiting them to the homepage, we also started focusing on important internal pages and products that showed better potential for ranking through niche edits and strategic partnerships with high-profile sites. The goal was to expand the previous quarter’s performance while reaching new customer segments.

How many Links Ordered?

  • Total links ordered- 3,600
  • Blogger outreach- 40%
  • Niche edits- 45%
  • Media placement- 5%
  • Tier 2- 10%

Results Per Quarter

  • Increase in traffic

The average organic traffic grew from 1,333,146 in the last quarter to 1,496,054 in this one.

  • Increase in Keywords Ranking

The keywords ranking in the top 3 increased from 4,201 to 4,492.

Keywords ranking between the 4th and 10th position went from 9,779 to 10,605.

Total keywords went from 82,754 to 92,232.

  • Increase in DA, DR

There was no change in DR this quarter, which remained at 67.

  • Boost in Revenue

The brand earned a decent revenue, which increased from $6,059,755 in the previous quarter to $6,684,562.

2023 Third Quarter [July to September]

We kept expanding Exhale’s backlink profile and started working actively on a secondary layer of backlinks.

Link Building Strategy

We continued leveraging high-authority guest posts and niche edits in this quarter to increase the DR. Also, we adopted a content syndication strategy to increase content visibility and reach. We ensured that high-value articles linked to Exhale were featured in prominent publications to improve the DR and customer engagement.

How many Links Ordered?

  • Total links ordered- 4,500
  • Blogger outreach- 35%
  • Niche edits- 35%
  • Media placement- 10%
  • Tier 2- 15%

Results Per Quarter

  • Increase in traffic

The site traffic jumped from 1,496,054 hits in the previous quarter to 1,536,545 in this one.

  • Increase in Keywords Ranking

Total organic keywords in the top 3 increased from 4,492 to 4,516.

Total organic keywords ranking from 4th to 10th position rose from 10,605 to 11,645.

Total keywords went from 92,232 to 106,456.

  • Increase in DA, DR

The DR finally increased by two points, going from 67 in the last quarter to 69.

  • Boost in Revenue

Exhale’s revenue increased from $6,684,562 in the previous quarter to $7,015,978 in the current one.

2023 Fourth Quarter [October to December]

In this quarter, we moved towards advanced link building and keyword optimization to improve Exhale’s visibility even further.

Link Building Strategy

Our strategy in this quarter involved identifying link building opportunities at sites specializing in cannabis-related content. We also optimized our anchor text distribution, pumping relevant and high-quality content to improve discoverability. Links to new product pages (such as Exhale’s sexual products range) were created through generic, branded, and naked anchors. We also tried some geographical keywords to target specific markets more efficiently.

How many Links Ordered?

  • Total links ordered- 4,650
  • Blogger outreach- 35%
  • Niche edits- 30%
  • Media placement- 15%
  • Tier 2- 20%

Results Per Quarter

  • Increase in traffic

The average organic traffic reached an all-time high, from 1,536,545 hits in the last quarter to 1,674,015.

  • Increase in Keywords Ranking

Total organic keywords ranking in the top 3 went from 4,516 to 5,516.

Total organic keywords ranking from 4th to 10th position rose from 11,645 to 13,590.

Total keywords increased from 106,456 to 126,478.

  • Increase in DA, DR

DR increased one more point, taking it from 69 in the last quarter to 70.

  • Boost in Revenue

The revenue also reached another milestone, going from $7,015,978 in the previous quarter to $7,456,014 by the 2023 year-end.

Final Thoughts

We’ve been associated with Exhale Wellness for the last 2 years. The brand has maintained a top position in almost all branded keywords and decent rankings in numerous related keywords. Here’s the difference our customized link building strategy has made for the brand:

  • Keyword Stability

Ensuring keyword stability was a key part of our strategy for Exhale Wellness. We maintained a consistent ranking for the targeted keywords, thus providing a dependable source of traffic for the brand. The organic keywords ranking in the top 3 rose from 849% in 2021 to a whopping 1,275% in 2023.

  • Optimizing Target Keywords

Optimizing target keywords involved creating and regularly updating the list of keywords to align Exhale’s product offering with the search behavior of its target audience. We analyzed the keyword performance data regularly to adapt our link building strategy accordingly each quarter, thus taking total keywords from 1,012% in 2021 to 1,548% in 2023.

  • Increase in Organic Traffic

We could boost Exhale’s organic traffic with our multi-faceted SEO strategy, which combined strategic keyword optimization, strong link building, and content improvements. We were able to attract more visitors to the site by enhancing its authority and visibility. Thus, the average organic traffic incoming to the site jumped from 564% in 2021 to 927% in 2023.

  • Increase in Revenue

The ultimate goal of our cannabis SEO strategy was to improve revenue, and Exhale definitely benefited. The revenue started seeing an upward trend since our first quarter of engagement. As the incoming traffic stabilized, the rate of customer conversion increased. This means the traffic was larger in volume and better in quality, thus taking the revenue from 621% in 2021 to 1,067% in 2023.

Client Testimonial

“Before partnering with 747, our brand was limited to orders coming in solely from contacts. Exhale Wellness underwent a complete transformation since we’ve teamed up with this amazing team. They have professionals on board specializing in cannabis SEO who scaled up our digital presence from scratch while keeping legal regulations in mind. The strategic link-building campaign and keyword optimization from 747’s team has not only boosted our search engine rankings but also significantly boosted our revenue. We were just another cannabis brand a few years ago. Today, we’ve become one of the most popular online brands in the US for premium cannabis and hemp-based wellness products.”

  • Ms. Jessica Alba, Chief Marketing Officer (Exhale Wellness)