Affiliate marketing spending in the U.S. alone is expected to reach $8.2 billion by 2022. This is three times more than it was 10 years earlier. Flipping affiliate sites has become a business itself.
You generate traffic, promote products, and once your site is making a steady amount of money every month, you flip it. But last month, affiliate marketers, particularly bloggers, suffered a blow after Google released its ‘product review update’.
Before that, only general updates were released by Google and there was no such update specifically for product reviews. And as expected, it has guidelines for websites writing reviews on a research basis.
Of course, Google knows that if a person has reviewed 100 products on his blog, he hasn’t used all of them. Google doesn’t mind research-based reviews, but fluffy reviews with nothing useful for the user will go in thrash from now — irrespective of the number of keywords in them.
So, what kind of product reviews will Google promote in its search ranking, and how can you write SEO-friendly product reviews?
Be an Expert, or Hire an Expert
Google wants expert-level information in product review content. That means you should pick your niche wisely. If you have no interest in Golf, you should hire a writer who’s enthusiastic about golf; not someone who rephrases the content from your competitor’s blog.
Be Very Specific
Google wants your words to paint the picture of the product in your reader’s mind. How does it look and what are the quantitative measurements? You can also mention what’s provided by the manufacturer.
But please stick to the product, don’t discuss cricket bats when you are reviewing a cue stick. Don’t overstretch about its uses. Churning out fluff content to write more words than your competitors is going to hurt your rankings.
Cover Comparable Products
A lot of bloggers think reviewing more products would increase their chances of earning a handsome commission. But they all make one mistake — they don’t tell the audience what sets each product apart.
Now Google will prioritize those product reviews that explicitly explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances. (Once again, you must be an expert to explain this.)
Discuss the Benefits & Drawbacks
All product reviewers make this mistake in the beginning. They keep selling throughout the review, believing that it’s their job. Or that’s why they are paid to write. From now on, Google will only consider those reviews that show both sides of the product.
If there’s a drawback, be clear about it. If there are multiple drawbacks, improve your product research. But don’t exaggerate. (And of course, you won’t miss an opportunity to discuss a certain benefit of a product.)
Go Beyond the Product Description
Since most of the product reviewers have not used the product themselves, they rely on the data provided by the manufacturer. Fidelity issues in online stores are common; the manufacturer says one thing while the product turns out to be completely different.
Google wants you to do deep research and go beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer. ( This is a challenge since research for a product review is done from customer reviews, and they are sometimes the opposite of what the manufacturer claims. How would a writer deal with this? Once again, only an expert would be able to deal with such products.)
Add a Buyer’s Guide
This is a common section in all affiliate blogs. However, most bloggers think this section is useful to increase the word count rather than giving something valuable to the user.
Google wants writers to educate the readers in this section, how they should buy a certain product — what are the factors to consider?
Don’t try to sell your products here. Don’t tell how your products meet the criteria you have just shared. Stay neutral.
- Google wants only experts and enthusiasts of a certain niche to write product reviews — that too after deep research.
- Avoid fluff and keyword stuffing at any cost.
- If you cover ten products, compare them and share with your reader why you think a particular product is the best of all.
- Tell your reader which product is best for whom, according to the budget and circumstances.
- Tell your readers how the product looks, share quantitative measurements.
- Always add a buyer’s guide in the end.