By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.

How Will Google Analytics 4 Affect Cannabis SEO?

Published on
February 14, 2023
will google analytics 4 affect SEO, GA4 SEO

Meghan O'Dea has honed her skills as a writer and content strategist for over a decade. She cut her teeth writing film and music reviews and a weekly opinion column on the 20-something experience. Early success in personal essay led Meghan to earn a Master's degree in Creative Nonfiction at UT Chattanooga, during which she attended the international MFA program at City University in Hong Kong as a visiting scholar. She has served as a digital editor for Fortune Magazine and Lonely Planet and earned bylines in The Washington Post, Playboy, Bitch magazine, Yoga Journal and Subaru Drive Magazine, amongst others. Meghan began writing cannabis stories for Willamette Week, Nylon and Different Leaf while working in the travel and outdoor media industries in Portland, Oregon. In addition to covering the intersection of travel, hospitality and cannabis, Meghan's work as a travel journalist took her from Los Cabos to Yellowstone, from San Francisco to Jamaica. She has also taught composition and travel writing at the college level and guest lectured on topics such as literary citizenship, urban history and professional development at conferences and universities throughout the United States as well as Madrid, Spain.

Three media outlets I check every single day: The Cut, New York Magazine, The Washington Post

Super inspired by: Women like Isabella Bird, Uschi Obermaier and my maternal grandmother, who dared to travel the world even in eras when global adventures went against the grain.

My monthly #GrasslandsGives donation: PEN America’s Prison Writing Program

When I’m off the clock (in five words): Books. Long walks. Architecture. Mixtapes.


One question many marketers have about a certain search engine giant’s upcoming transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 is how it will affect their business—including their approach to SEO. Will the switch to GA4 have a major impact on how companies appear in search rankings? The answer is probably not. Will switching to GA4 impact how companies report on their SEO rankings and allocate their marketing budget? The answer is a little more complex.

The good news is that according to Google Search Advocate John Mu, your current rankings in Google’s SERPS (search engine results pages) won’t be affected by the move from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. 

Mu tweeted in February of 2022 that “how you implement Analytics doesn’t affect SEO at all. (assuming your Analytics doesn’t block search crawling or indexing).”

That’s a significant reassurance for many marketers who are wondering exactly how the shift to a completely new data collection paradigm will impact the processes they’ve honed for years. 

In the age of digital media, SEO is one of the most essential investments a cannabis company can make. SEO extends your earned and owned media efforts, raising the profile of your brand and getting in front of people searching for the products and services your company offers. 

Data Collection Versus SEO

Famously, however,  SEO is as much an art as a science, especially for cannabis brands that have a smaller body of search engine data to draw from than those in industries that haven’t been banned at the federal level for decades. That makes it all the more important to collect all the data possible on who is visiting your website and why. 

Even if using GA4 versus Universal Analytics doesn’t directly impact how your page ranks on Google moving forward, it’s helpful to know how much traffic is currently driven to your page by organic search compared with paid ads, and how to best optimize your owned content to increase that traffic.

Understanding how customers come to your site from search engines and social media is essential for knowing how much to spend on content creation and paid advertising. It also helps to understand who is listening to your owned media creation efforts and how to report on such data internally and externally.

That’s why it’s a little more complicated to predict how switching to GA4 will impact the way companies report on their SEO rankings. It doesn’t matter which property your cannabis company uses, whether Universal Analytics or GA4—the way data is collected on inbound traffic from those rankings will change, and this may inform different marketing decisions. 

Compare and Contrast

One thing is for certain: Having a solid grasp on Universal Analytics data now—rather than when it’s officially replaced by GA4 in July 2023—gives marketing teams a chance to compare and contrast how Google collects and reports on data in each property. It also gives you as long a runway as possible to collect data before the switch, so you have a bigger, more seamless body of information to base decisions on in Q3 and Q4 of 2023 and beyond.

If you haven’t yet switched or been automatically converted to Google Analytics 4, you can follow their step-by-step instructions on adding GA4 to sites that already have Analytics set up. It’s also important to make sure that services connected to Google Analytics, like Google Ads, Google Optimize, AdSense or AdExchange, are also included in your migration.

Related Hand Curated Articles

Leveraging AI-Language Programs Successfully in Your Cannabis Marketing
Cannabis Marketing

Do's and Don'ts for Cannabis Marketers Using AI-Language Programs Like Chat GPT

Let’s dive into some key do's and don'ts for leveraging AI-language programs successfully in your cannabis marketing.
September 22, 2023
5 min read
A flat lay image of an embroidery hoop with a cross-stitch of a cannabis leaf sits on a wooden background.
Cannabis Marketing

Is Threads the Next Big Social Media Platform for Cannabis Brands?

Will Meta's new platform Threads live up to its potential as a “Twitter killer?” We dig into whether Threads will be the next big thing for cannabis brands earned media strategies.
September 11, 2023
5 min read
Photo by Andrew Ruiz on Unsplash
Cannabis Marketing

Your Competitors Are Spending Money on Cannabis Brand Activations, Experiential Marketing and Events. Why Aren’t You?

True to the name, brand activations spark something in consumers, and bring your brand to life in their hearts and minds. Cannabis brand activations can be as simple or elaborate as suits your strategy, budget and timeline. 
August 28, 2023
5 min read
A collage showing a newspaper, the old Twitter logo on a mobile phone, the new X logo for the Twitter rebrand and a cannabis leaf
Cannabis Marketing

Twitter Greenlighted Paid Cannabis Advertising. Here’s What Happened Next.

When the company formerly known as Twitter greenlighted paid cannabis advertising six months ago, the industry took note. But has this new paradigm panned out? Here's the lay of the land for the latest in cannabis social media.
August 15, 2023
5 min read