Online editorial sites and magazines dominated results for upper-funnel, how-to keywords like “how to style short hair” and “cute and easy hairstyles.” These sites secured 72% of results on the terms in the fourth quarter of 2018 through the first quarter of 2019 according to Gartner L2’s report on the topic.
As organic results represent the overwhelming majority of results on styling how-to keywords relative to other categories, brands should invest in editorial partnerships and utilize paid product placements to gain second-order visibility in styling. However, not all editorial sites provide comparable opportunities. Independent blogs and editorials, buffeted by a long tail of small content hubs, take the lion’s share of results on these terms. Hearst Communications leads among its media conglomerate peers, amassing 31% of all results, five times more than the Meredith Corporation and six times more than Conde Nast. Five of its publications crack the top ten list of the largest shares of tutorial-based search, and they achieve 52% average organic visibility on tutorial terms, quadruple the overall average.
Brands that scored the highest in traffic growth in Gartner L2’s study saw 43% of incoming referral traffic from editorials or blogs in the second quarter of 2019. Given that, brands should think carefully about which editorial partners increase the effectiveness of their product placements. Another more costly, yet more effective, solution to gaining a foothold on these terms is through the creation of enterprise-launched content hubs like Unilever’s All Things Hair (ATH). ATH links blog articles to products from brands across Unilever’s portfolio and achieves 52% paid visibility on upper-funnel styling terms, triple the average tracked brands.
Although creating brand-owned content makes for a larger internal lift than traditional editorial placements, Unilever brands, especially those new to the portfolio, reap the benefits of an enterprise-owned hub. ApotheCARE Essentials, launched by Unilever in late 2017, saw the majority of its referral traffic from ATH in the second quarter of 2019.6