In December 2019, the magazine's website reported an increase in traffic of 104% year-over-year and broke its own search traffic record eight times during the entire year.
Across ecommerce, Good Housekeeping has made huge strides, experiencing a 1200% increase in revenue between February 2019 and December 2019.
These gains are the result of an aggressive digital growth strategy around search for product reviews and gift guides implemented over the past year.
“At the end of the day, what’s really key for us is understanding what our brand stands for, or what our audience looks for,” Jane Francisco, Good Housekeeping EIC-editorial director, Hearst Women’s Lifestyle Group, told Publishers Daily.
“When I first came on [six years ago], we were grappling with the title Good Housekeeping and the breadth of the coverage that we have always done historically. One of the things we focused on was: What about Good Housekeeping is different than all the other brands that cover home and shelter, food, fashion and beauty?”
The concept that centers GH: “Home is the place where you get ready to face the world, where you invite your friends and family, where you take care of your own family and where you express your creativity whether through cooking, design or decorating. That has been a guiding principle for us in how we create content,” said Francisco.
The digital execution of this principle followed the integration of the print and digital Good Housekeeping teams, focused on digital first.
“One of the great things about this brand: The type of content that works really well for us in the video and digital space is the same type of content that works really well in the magazine,” Lauren Matthews, group digital dontent director, Good Housekeeping, said. “It’s not trying to speak to the two different audiences or trying to create two different types of content.”
Across those teams, Good Housekeeping counts scientists at its Good Housekeeping Institute, in-house writers and editors, functional and editorial experts and a data team. Since integrating, it has doubled its content output, resulting in traffic increases across every vertical.
Matthews noted Good Housekeeping’s ecommerce success is a result of its traffic success.
“The biggest growth we’ve had in the last year was in search traffic,” Matthews said. “We look at it as an opportunity to know when our readers have questions, and we want to be able to offer them solutions.”
Through the support of its SEO team, Good Housekeeping developed a strategy around keyword opportunities, focusing on search intent behind product review keywords.
Capitalizing on its search advantage, the team updated 45 gift stories and created over 70 new gift guides over the holidays. Currently, the Good Housekeeping team is creating more gift guides for men — 30% of its online audience — and teen guides. They’ve also worked closely with the Institute to steer what they’re testing toward popular search topics.
The brand attributes around 85% of its affiliate revenue to organic search.
To further support its digital and search success, Good Housekeeping hired its first SEO editor, Juliana LaBianca, in October 2019 to help the brand’s editorial insights team with strategy development and implementation. She also focuses on growing and improving content.
Looking toward 2020, Francisco and Matthews are excited about Good Housekeeping’s video push lead by John Gara, supervising video producer. “We have a new team that started in late fall and already they’ve gotten some great momentum,” said Francisco.
The brand is also focused on its newsletter strategy. Up next month: a daily spring cleaning challenge from Good Housekeeping delivered through a new organizing specific newsletter.
“It’s a really engaged audience,” said Matthews. “We’re thinking about how we can create new, specific communities in this space.”