Consider this the definitive guide.
Fortunately, how to do product reviews well is a relatively “static” skill. Different to so many things in digital marketing, it’s going to be the same next year as it is the year after that. Here’s how to get it done so you can see the review popping up in Google and having your visitors actually buy the product you’re reviewing.
First thing’s first:
This Is All You Need To Rank
I mean, in terms of the content itself.
Most of how well your review will rank depends on
a) The size, quality, authority, and on-site optimization of your site as a whole.
b) Your link building to the site and the review itself.
c) The competition of the niche you’re in, of course.
The only things you need to think about for ranking purposes while creating your product review are:
1. Including the product name (or the review keyword) you want to rank for in the title of the review.
2. Including the product name (or the review keyword) you want to rank for in the URL of the review.
3. Mentioning the product name (or the review keyword) you want to rank for in the content of the review… which is impossible NOT to do.
4. Linking to at least one other piece of content of yours from within your review, and out to one other external authority site in your niche as well.
Everything else will happen naturally. If you’re doing a thorough review (and following the guidelines of this post), your article will naturally and inevitably end up mentioning other phrases that Google considers laterally related.
Note: You should NOT focus on mentioning the keyword any particular number of times. And you should avoid saying the name constantly through the article. The first couple of times you can call it “product name”, but as the article continues, you can call it “this stroller” or whatever the product is. You know what I mean? Same as telling a story about a person. The first time, if the listeners don’t know him, you say the guy’s name. After that, you just call him “he”.
Wit h the things above, and your site, and your link building, Google will not struggle to decide which terms your review should rank for just because your content isn’t a keyword stuffed piece of 1999 “seo content”. K?
The subject of how to make your review informative and high converting is much more complicated, and so it’s there that we’ll spend the rest of our little guide.
How To Start A Product Review
In the first paragraph/s of your review the best you can possibly do is to cover two things.
1. Merge with their journey, like I discussed in point 1 at that link.
2. Introduce some of the questions you’re going to answer.
Here’s a vital point about product reviews that not everyone understands.
“Every searcher comes to your review with a question in mind; A question they haven’t yet been able to answer with the research they’ve already done.”
Because understand this: People who look for reviews are researchers. It’s likely that when they reach your review, they know a bit about this product already.
When they hit your review, they need to know quickly that it’s going to answer the specific question they have. And part of your job writing a review is to identify the most common questions your readers are going to have, and answer them with your content.
An example question that a propect might have for a stroller might be, “Will my handbag fit in the carry compartment of this stroller?” It’s a specific question that the manufacturer is not going to be able to answer, but an informed consumer is. If you thought this was a popular question for the stroller you were reviewing, you’d be aiming to have a section of your article headed “How Spacious Is The Carry Compartment?” and in your introduction, you might want to mention that you’ll be delving into this aspect of the product.
Ultimately, most of the subheadings of your article should be questions. This allows “skimmers” to get to your page, have a quick scan and see that the one single important question they have is going to be answered.
Final note on introductions: The two things I mentioned above only need take up 2 or 3 sentences. The meat of your review is still to come.
What’s In The Meat Of Your Review?
There is no perfect order for the following ingredients, but the best review – highest ranking and highest converting – will contain at least a splash of each of the following.
Check your own reviews against this list of ingredients and add/subtract as needed.
Ingredient #1: Give The Product Context
Right after I say there’s no particular order I have to say that this part can only really go at the beginning.
This is where you make some remarks about why they might know about this product or why they might be considering it. It’s a chance to point out something positive about the product and indicate to your readers that you have some sense of how they got here.
If there has been a big TV campaign for the product, you might say “You probably saw this stroller on one of those TV ads”. If there was a big story about them on the news recently: the same. If it was endorsed by a particular celebrity; If there was some kind of study on it recently; If it’s particularly traditional for some reason, you point it out, and tell the audience you know that too.
This is part of the “merging with their journey” that I mentioned. It tells them that you know about their experience of becoming acquainted with this product and helps them feel like you know them.
This stroller review I found did a pretty decent job of this technique, even though they put it very first in the article which I wouldn’t have done 🙂
Ingredient #2: Discuss Features, But Focus On What They Mean
This is something a manufacturer will rarely do, but it’s what everyone considering any product wants.
The stroller might advertise that it comes with a cup holder, but they don’t always say “The cupholder means you can keep a drink bottle with you and always remain hydrated which of course is extremely important for breastfeeding”.
It’s more than discussing the benefits: It’s discussing why the buyers life will be better or worse as a result of that feature. This is a major way for an affiliate to add value.
See the discussion of how this product will integrate into your life?
You can do this in the form of a pros and cons list, but I think those are sometimes boring ways to divide up your content. You can be more conversational, and give the article more targeted headings (addressing those key questions) if you forgo the Pros and Cons list in favor of the question answer style we discussed above.
Examples of this kind of chat might be:
“The motor on the Vitamix is loud, which might annoy your neighbors if you live in a thin walled apartment block, but it’s loud because the motor is more powerful, meaning it’s going to blend your ingredients much more quickly, saving you time in the kitchen”.
“The Wayfarer stroll has a carry compartment larger than any stroller at this price range, but do note: once the bassinet is attached, the space through which to access that compartment becomes limited. This means it can take more time to load new things into the compartment when the baby is actually in the bassinet”.
“A bonus of this drill is that it comes with a set of drillbits. It’s helpful for small projects because you won’t need to buy these bits separately, but they’re a touch flimsy, so if you’re planning on big heavy duty projects with the drill, this addon may not “add on” much to the value”.
The reason this is so helpful is because it gets people clear on how this product will fit into their lives, and helps them decide on whether the product is exactly what they want. And when people know that this is exactly what they want, they buy it.
Ingredient #3: Reveal Things The Manufacturer Doesn’t
Here’s the perfect example from a review of a men’s blazer jacket:
He turned the blazer inside out and took a photo, to show people the lining. The manufacturer didn’t do that.
This way he’s able to illustrate an undersold benefit of the product more clearly, which is a big help in the pre-sell. If people already liked the idea of this jacket, then they also learned that the lining of it was better or more suited to them than they realized, they can only want it more.
Look for the things your manufacturer doesn’t say about the product and use them as content points, but only if it’s something interesting and potentially “sexy” to the buyer. If the stroller uses titanium screws instead of steel ones… no one might care… unless this means the stroller will last an extra two years against it’s competitors because of them.
To do this well, you have to get into the mind of the person who is interested in this product and ask “What might they want to know that the seller isn’t saying?”. You can also check the Amazon reviews for the product if applicable, where people have either complained about something, or pointed out a shortcoming that you can explain in more detail with your review.
However you do it, and whether you do it with just one “hidden feature” or more, this is a big value add for your review, and a big conversion booster as well. The feeling of “insider knowledge” people get when they realize they know something about the product that not everyone else knows can be very motivating.
What’s more: This gives a lot of trust to you the reviewer because you just revealed something that no one else was willing to say. You’re a knight in shining armor, hunting down the truth for your valued subscribers.
Ingredient #4: Discuss Who The Product Is For… And Who It’s NOT For
No product is the right product for all the people. People reading reviews are trying to decide on whether this one… or another one… is right for them.
You can help them make that decision by pointing out who is right for this product, and who is wrong for it.
“There’s a process taking place here by which you galvanize the support of the people who this is right for, by drawing attention to their counterparts. If it’s wrong for that guy, and I’m not that guy, it’s even more right for me.”
Example: On the review of that same blazer, I saw them say that this jacket wasn’t a good choice for taller guys because the fit doesn’t work. I think “great, I’m not a taller guy, this is probably just right for me!”. Further, it stops the taller guys (or whoever isn’t going to like this product) from purchasing and asking for a refund later.
This also of course adds to your impartiality and trustworthiness. The reader sees that you’re not just saying anything to make the sale, you’re trying to be objective and point the right customer in the direction of this product.
“This blender is great for people with compact kitchens because it compares favorably on the power, but isn’t going to take up all your bench space”.
“This stroller is best for city folk who don’t much drive, because the added space makes it a little heavier, but if you’re not lugging it into your car every day, you won’t really notice”.
This is another huge value add and a conversion booster all in one. Don’t miss having some of this discussion in your reviews.
Ingredient #5: A Verdict
No review is complete without one, and yet it’s remarkable how regularly I see it.
You sum things up. You reiterate who should buy this, and you discuss purchase options.
Purchase options include:
a) Where to buy it: Are the prices different at different places?
b) Shipping situation: How much is shipping? Are returns free or paid for by the seller?
c) Discounts or coupons: Does it ever go on sale, and if so, for how much? Is it good value at this price? Are there any special coupon codes available?
You also end here with your final, and often most clicked Call to Action. Something like:
“If this stroller is for you, click here to grab it from the official website and get X” where X might be “my bonuses” or “the special offer” or whatever deal sweetener you can come up with to help push people over the line. That is IF the verdict is a favorable one.
Here’s an example of a really simple “verdict” even though it doesn’t use that section title:
And here’s one that’s more involved, with a (albeit gentle) call to action and everything…
Notes On Style And Other Review Features
There are another couple of things that are important for a good review: Personality, and comparisons.
Personality is what makes the person reading be able to relate to you, feel comfortable, and trust your opinions enough to purchase the product. You inject personality by revealing bits about yourself and your own experience where applicable, by making a joke or being goofy at times, and by keeping the writing style light-hearted and conversational.
The blender guy did it a little bit with this introduction to his review of two blenders…
with use of “Anyway” and with his wordplay on “Magic” and “Nutri”. It’s fun and a bit goofy and it tells you you’re not reading something written by a robot. It’s also in the first person, which helps.
It makes for easier reading, it improves conversions, and it’s worth the extra money you’ll spend to get a writer who can make your content read like this. Don’t expect this to come from your $1/100 words writer.
Whether it’s a big table, or just a subtle mention of the differences between two similar items, comparing products can be a great way to help your reader feel like they don’t need to do any further research: The results are already in.
Do be careful though: A review table done poorly can make a reader feel like “Ohh wow, there is a lot more to these blenders than I realized… I really need to do more research before buying”. You won’t make a sale if that happens. To avoid this, keep the text in your tables light, don’t compare more than 3-4 products where you can avoid it, and make sure the verdict of the table is really clear even if a person were only scrolling past it.
Other than a table, when you’re talking about a feature you could mention how it’s better than the same feature on a more expensive product. Or you can poke fun at another product you don’t promote that’s perhaps too expensive, or not as good value, in order to help people realize the value of the product you’re reviewing.
Remember the principle that people don’t know the value of anything except as it’s related to the value of something else they do know. This is part of why comparisons can shore up a purchase decision so well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How Many Affiliate Links Should Go In The Review?
A: For most reviews, any more than 3 is excessive. One goes really early on, usually first paragraph or two. Second might go on an image of the product or a banner. Third goes in the call to action.
Q: How Many Words Should The Review Be?
Smaller than 600 risks being too thin. 800-1000 words is what you’re shooting for.
Q: What About Formatting?
A: Cleanly laid out, plenty of white space in your margins, try to eliminate paragraphs bigger than 5 lines so there aren’t too many heavy chunks of text, and make sure your font is nice and large. Oh and use images to the point that they enhance or clarify what you’re saying. There are lots of little things that can be tweaked outside of this, but if you have those factors in place, you’re pretty well set.
Got Other Questions About Your Product Reviews?
Ask me in the comments and I’ll answer them by adding to this post.
Until then, happy reviewing, and happy affiliate marketing.