The Honest Company

In compliance with my non-disclosure agreement, I’ve obscured confidential information. This case study presents my own ideas and work and may have been summarized, re-created or altered to maintain confidentiality.


The Honest Company, led by Jessica Alba, provides ethical household and lifestyle products, spanning baby, skin, body care, and wellness.


Pre-pandemic, the company wanted to launch a subscription service. But, their graphics-heavy website needed a redesign with optimization in mind.


I was recruited for the redesign task and for my experience in SEO; leveraging trend analysis to elevate the new subscription platform and maximize ROI.

Beauty and the Optimization Beast

In today’s online marketplace, competition is more intense than ever before, especially in the wellness and lifestyle industry. As new products appear almost daily, companies must adapt and iterate quickly in their race to dominate the market.

Even before 2020, a recent study by SimpliField showed that luxury and lifestyle brands were on the rise.

In a post-pandemic world, this statistic has grown stronger. The stakes are higher than ever.

Personalized products are becoming the standard. At the heart of this change are subscription-based services like Therabox, Bespoke Post, and Hello Bello. These changes are driven by search algorithms and proper SEO is crucial for increasing sales and brand exposure.

The challenge I faced early on was discovering that the website was comprised of mostly images and missing an important opportunity to rank in search engine for keywords, both organic (showing up in search results) and targeted paid ads.

As you can see, the page looks nice, but was just a series of images stacked together. This works directly against proper SEO.

Determining Success Criteria

The project was taking shape, but in order to achieve success with this project I needed to understand and find answers to three main questions:

  1. Who was the target audience?
  2. What were the strongest keywords to optimize for?
  3. How could we move away from the images and redesign for optimization?

My process started with a website review and a deep dive into the analytics. It appeared that the traffic was great. Naturally, Jessica Alba related to the demographic very well. The brand itself was strong and the traffic reflected that.

The closest competitors by traffic were Patagonia and West Elm (as noted below).

We needed to improve the authority of the website and optimize for those not searching for the brand, specifically.

Next, I took a look into the keywords.

A Great Keyword Adventure

Our main goal in launching subscriptions, naturally, was to convert as many users as possible into customers. One of the key metrics to keeping your customers cart full is to meet them where they are. Search intent and relevancy are two of the key ranking factors.

As the search algorithm changes daily, it can sometimes be a moving target. According to search engines, the search intent was mostly informational. This was great for the blog part of the page, but the shopping component needed to shift to commercial and transactional. This would drive more sales.

Here’s a visual breakdown.

The keywords we were ranking for as noted above were honest, honest company, honest diapers, honest beauty and the honest company, which is great for people searching by name. When it came to brand name, we were ranking number one.

If we could start to rank for higher sales keywords, the website would perform better and we could maximize our marketing spend. My next research indicated our main competition (according to Google) and our top performing pages. This is helpful to know which pages to redesign first.

In looking at the competition above, the top five keywords we wanted to target were: pampers, diapers, baby diapers, honest diapers and cloth diapers.

It should be noted, though that Pampers is a competitor and cloth diapers doesn’t fit the business goal of subscriptions.

Honest on its own is a strong brand, so very little keyword optimization was needed. A redesigned and optimized experience would bring us the quickest return on investment.

Bounce RateS and RoadmapS

Next up was bounce rates.

If you’re unfamiliar, a bounce rate is a roughly calculated metric that helps businesses know which pages are working as intended and which may need some optimization. It refers to the point where visitors bounce to another page or navigate away entirely – such as going to a new website.

The bounce rate isn’t a perfect measuring tool, but can be helpful for an overview of a website’s health. This was the last piece of the puzzle before design. As expected, the main devices used to browse were mobile. This data allowed the perfect transition into design.

The Notorious JPGs

In a quick test, I discovered that some pages on mobile had a load time of over 2000ms (2 seconds). This is particularly an issue due to the speed differences between mobile networks and wifi connections.

If you consider that the average attention span of a user is around eight seconds, time was crucial. By these metrics, it had to be addressed. We needed to focus on a mobile-first design optimized for our keywords.

The chart a few sections above indicated that the home page was the best performing page. So, I started there.

A Sandbox of Visual Assets

As a lifestyle brand founded by a celebrity, there were a lot of awesome visual assets and videos to utilize for design. The visual elements and media is one area where Honest really excels from its competition.

We wanted to keep the aesthetic as close as possible, so I went to work to adapt the designs into separate elements of text and images – paying attention to the image sizes and optimizing for a mobile-first experience.

For visual reference, the text elements have been highlighted in the images below to show the difference between the previous version and the current version, optimized for SEO.

Upon completion of my first contract, I organized and delivered the assets to the frontend team using Zeplin and Google Docs for design documentation.

After my first contract, I was brought on again for a second contract to help improve the shopping cart experience. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about the shopping cart improvement project.

Improved Metrics & Lessons Learned

After design implementation, I ran another SEO analysis to understand if our strategy was working. As I stated above, these metrics aren’t entirely reliable and there are many factors in place that can alter the numbers. However, it is a measurement and it can be very valuable to determine effectiveness over time.

According to Semrush, there was much improvement. Overall visits were up and average visit duration was longer. The bounce rate was down.

Throughout this process, the biggest lessons learned were were who our competitors were, what our biggest needs were as it pertains to optimization, and where to begin as a foundation for the new shopping cart experience and creating a subscription service.