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The Drum Search Awards Awards Case Studies Technology

How Nicorette ensured its site visibility lived up to its brand power


By The Drum, Editorial

November 28, 2023 | 9 min read

Nicorette and Kinesso won the SEO for B2C category at The Drum Awards for Search. Here's the award-winning case study.

Check out the Nicorette Landing page

As the UK’s number one Quit Smoking brand - a destination for one third of people looking to quit smoking – Nicorette didn’t have the site to match. Our research revealed that despite the brand's #1 position in the category on metrics like engagement, user experience and ranking for critical topics and keywords, Nicorette was not in a competitive position vs competing brands. The legacy site was also lacking in functionality, limiting what we could achieve – so a migration became our primary objective. This would enable us to create a site from the ground up, with SEO and UX at the forefront, on a platform that would bring our ideas to life.


Drive at least 8,000 organic sessions per month to the site across the first three months of the launching, increasing to at least 10,000 per month once new content has ‘bedded in’.

Increase the quality score of critical terms, so each term has a quality score of at least 7 by improving landing page experience and content relevancy.

Significantly increase generic rankings for terms including ‘nicotine gum’ and ‘nicotine inhalator’, ranking in at least position two across our key terms, and position one for all key branded terms one month after launch.

Increase BrightEdge BPI Score (Bespoke model to assess overall site health), from 'Below industry average’ to ‘Above industry average’.

Increase the number of generic rankings through the creation of new content and expansion of existing content.

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Strategy: Nicorette's key target audience are those looking to quit smoking. However, we identified an opportunity to break this audience down into segments:

People wanting to quit but who haven’t started their journey yet.

People who are in the process of quitting (this may be using NRT or another method).

People who have successfully quit but need support.

People who are looking to support a quitter. These segments were critical for our strategy as it enabled us to break content down into the key stages of quitting – ‘Thinking about quitting, giving it a go and then sticking with it.’ We set out to completely recreate the site from the ground up, with SEO and experience at the forefront. First, we took a step back to decide how the site should be structured and created an IA map, factoring in existing content. We then needed to complete a content audit to understand what topics Nicorette should be covering on the new site, and map keywords to every new and existing page to ensure our top targets were covered.

In-depth keyword research and competitor analysis highlighted a massive opportunity for content around quitting smoking within Nicorette's key customer stages of ‘Getting ready to quit, during the quit journey and once you have quit’. Our content audit highlighted that although ‘During the quit journey’ may have lower total search volume, it’s a less difficult category to own and should therefore be a cornerstone of our content strategy.

Increasing conversions was one of our main objectives of the migration. We needed to make content work harder from a commercial perspective. Adding clear but natural CTAs to pages helped increase conversions and drive more traffic from informational pages to product pages. We identified that people looking to ‘quit vaping’ was an untapped opportunity for Nicorette, too. ‘Vaping quitters’ became one of our key target audiences. To attract these users, we included a dedicated quit vaping hub with various pages and prominent callouts. Please refer to ‘Nicorette - Quitting Vaping Page’ in attached files.

To increase generic and brand rankings, we built all PDPs from the ground up from a technical and content perspective. The legacy PDP pages were lacking in content and provided very little additional information to the user. It also made it very difficult to rank for generic terms as there was so little copy on the page to naturally feature highly valuable terms. We expanded all PDP pages to include a significant amount of supplementary information such as how the product works, how to use it, FAQs, success stories, comparison to other products and how it can be used with other products to increase AOV. SEO was the backbone to this structure, to ensure we could incorporate all the relevant terms on each PDP page. Please refer to ‘Nicorette PDP Page - Legacy’ and ‘Nicorette PDP Page - New’ within the attached files.

We also wanted to make the site more engaging by giving users an interesting reason to stay for longer, but then direct them to a relevant product. The ‘Myth Busting Quiz’ is an effective way for users to interact with the site, learn something new and purchase a product or find out more to help them in their journey. This is something other brand sites weren’t doing. We improved the design and functionality of the product selector so users could find the best product for their situation. Using search insights to determine what questions we should ask consumers; we realised people wanted to quit smoking due to financial reasons. We updated the ‘savings calculator’ and added ‘Shop Nicorette Products’ to drive more conversions. Nicorette was underutilising schema, so we ensured it was implemented across commercial and informational pages. We now have FAQ-rich results, PAA and featured snippets which significantly enhances the Nicorette SERP experience.

Results: The migration was a roaring success, with no significant technical issues identified within the post-launch technical audit. As a result, there was no negative impact on visibility.

Organic conversions (Clicks through to retailers) increased significantly since launch with an increase of +90% YoY (Jan-July). This included a +113% increase YoY in -January - a peak period for Nicorette. Organic conversion rate also increased from 3.49% to 3.96% YoY.

These additional conversions generated over £20,000 additional revenue for Nicorette purely from an organic perspective so far this year.

Organic sessions increased by +67% so far this year (Jan-July). In fact, the site has so far driven more sessions between January and July compared to all of 2022 combined!

BrightEdge BPI score increased from ‘Below industry average’ to ‘Above industry average’ post-migration, hitting 100% in July 2023, the only brand across all brands in all markets within the Kenvue and Johnson’s and Johnson’s portfolio.

We increased the number of organic keywords ranking significantly, with non-branded rankings more than doubling since migration!

Overall quality score for key categories significantly improved. Keywords within the ‘Spray’ category improved from 6.9 to 7.7 and resulted in a CPC drop of 25%. The QS improvement also played a part in the +19% YoY increase in paid clicks, even with a drop in budget of -8%!

July 2023 was the best month for Nicorette since April 2019 with 10,899 organic sessions.

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There are significant challenges working with a highly medical brand, however, we were able to push what was possible. Our research and analysis left no stone unturned, from using insights to influence the content and site structure to what our key target audiences should be. The project had a relatively small budget, so our insights enabled us to prioritise what would provide the best ROI for Nicorette.

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