We’ve covered how to write affiliate product reviews in the past, but how about how to improve affiliate product reviews, now that Google has done a big Product Review update?
Anyone who has looked for a really in-depth review of a product to help them make a buying decision knows how difficult it can be to find something reliable.
Google in recent years has had many product-related keywords littered with thinly written reviews of products that basically re-wrote the company’s sales copy and didn’t offer much else. Google’s recent Product Review Update swung a hammer at the rankings of those sites.
In this guide, Mushfiq shares 3 tactics you can use to set your niche site apart from the competition while simultaneously “future-proofing” against Google updates. Curious about how to improve affiliate product reviews on your niche site? Let’s get into it!
3 Ways To Improve Affiliate Product Reviews On Niche Sites
By: Mushfiq S.
Why Improve Affiliate Product Reviews?
The Google Product Review update was officially announced by Google with the intent to reward posts on individual products with first-hand knowledge, useful practical information, and in-depth research.
One thing that is definitely worth noting is that Google says this isn’t a penalty to sites that do the old list method, but it is specifically a boost to product reviews that have unique and heavily researched content. Information that goes beyond the specs everyone can copy and rewrite.
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This suggests that since an actual penalty isn’t involved, revising your product reviews to Google’s new standards should give you every chance to potentially recover lost rankings.
The message behind this is clear: Google demands a higher quality of product reviews if you want yours to rank at the top of Google’s results.
The fact Google made so much information available shows they’re not against product reviews or affiliate marketing. But the information needs to be useful, original, and helpful.
Keep that in mind when tackling a product review, follow the advice in this article, and your product reviews will have every chance to beat the competition on Google.
The good news is that there are several easy ways to drastically improve the quality of your product reviews. Doing even one (though preferably all of these, if possible) can make a big difference.
Before diving into these tactics let’s make one important point clear: nothing beats an actual first-person review of a product you bought and tested yourself.
Ultimate Tactic: Purchase The Product (If Possible)
Try to find a review from someone who bought a product and clearly, actually tested it out themselves. Unless you had one in mind, chances are you spent a lot of time online without finding one.
So many product reviews are lists of 5, 10, or even dozens of products and it’s clear the author has never actually tried out any of them. The information isn’t helpful, there’s nothing different than a company product listing on Amazon will provide.
When you can buy the product and review it you have information that no amount of Google searching will provide. You have original pictures, you can walk through specific details that impress you or irritate you, and provide original information that proves you have reviewed the product.
Terms like “lighter than I expected,” “flimsier than I would have liked despite their claims of extra strong specialty plastic,” or “quieter than any other X I’ve owned” give you trust with readers and with Google. These terms show you’re an authority on this product and can be trusted.
It also helps you pass any manual review with flying colors.
If you can purchase the product and test it out personally, this is the ultimate tactic for an amazing review that Google will love.
Tactic 1: Obtain (or Create) Unique Product Images
There’s one thing you can almost always count on when looking through product reviews: seeing the exact same pictures over and over again. This isn’t a good look and it’s a red flag that this person probably hasn’t actually used the product in person.
Unique images not only give the reader confidence that your reviews are actually legitimate, but they make your reviews clearly stick out from the competition.
Google’s image search is advanced and seeing different original images, the alt tags you include with them will definitely help to get a boost from the Google Product Review bump in the Algorithm.
Original product images are a great way for your review to stick out. But how can you get them if buying the product yourself is impractical or impossible?
Talk to the Manufacturer
Companies are eager to get their products out there. When you’re asking them for pictures, mention that you’re a blogger. If you have a large audience, mention that. If you don’t, use a term like “building a large online audience.”
Manufacturers often pay many thousands or millions of dollars for advertising without knowing how much of an effect it’s having on the bottom line. They are almost always happy to provide you with original pictures if you just ask for them.
Sometimes they will even offer to send you the product for free.
Even if you get a pre-packaged media kit for bloggers and influencers, these will often include extra pictures, charts, and diagrams that aren’t used by other reviewers.
This is a great way to get unique images that will make your product reviews stand out.
Use Facebook Marketplace
Look around Facebook Marketplace for the product you want to review. You can usually find about anything somewhere on Facebook Marketplace. Reach out to the owners and ask if you can use their images.
Most won’t care. If they do care, not all is lost! Ask for multiple pictures for a small payment through the Facebook app. Let them know what you need and that you will pay after receiving the pictures.
These strategies can also be applied to places like Craigslist, or online forums on a specific topic related to your product review.
Create Your Own Unique Images
Original images are great, but they’re not always available. Even if they are, creating your own images is a great way to provide a great resource. At least when you do it right.
Use a free program like Canva to create product images. Point to features with arrows. Add a circle to emphasize a unique trait. If the picture is full-sized, you can add a short succinct bullet point list to the side.
You can also use multiple angles or images of the product to create side-by-side comparisons or even collages. These are great pictures that really let readers get a look at the product.
You can vary your anchor text to show the value you’re giving to the reader.
Quick Tips for Obtaining Images
- Ask the manufacturer for unique images
- Search for the product for sale on Facebook Marketplace and other similar online sites to ask for images from current listings
- See if a friend or acquaintance owns the product – a simple question to your Facebook or Twitter friend groups could result in some free original photos
Quick Tips for Creating Images
- Use Canva to stylize product images
- Keep it simple: a little goes a long way and you don’t want the images too cluttered
- Create a collage to show multiple different views of the product
- Add a banner or effect when appropriate
Tactic 2: Share Unique Data Points in Tables
Who doesn’t like a good comparison table? When you are looking for the best way to improve affiliate product reviews, putting together a good comparison table is key.
One that doesn’t just regurgitate factory specs but actually shares unique data and research for each product, you bring a huge amount of value to the table that most affiliate websites won’t bother with.
Often this information is even readily available online with just a little bit of digging!
You want to find really in-depth reviews, both good and bad. Some of the best reviews will be middle – 3 stars out of 5, for example. If there are paragraphs that include pros and cons, that review could be a gold mine of good info to use as one of several sources for your review.
Just a shortlist of the unique type of data you should comb reviews, forums, and first-hand accounts for include:
- How long the product lasted before breaking
- Common problems (and fixes) with the product
- Response time on warranty or how quickly a company sent a replacement
- Common keywords mentioned about traits or features (good or bad)
Putting all of these info points into a useful comparative chart creates an actual useful buying guide as opposed to giving factory specs that don’t matter to 99% of buyers.
Good unique tables will stand out compared to tables that just list the product name, basic specs, and a buy now button.
Unique helpful information = better reviews.
Tactic 3: Compare and Contrast Other Competitors (and/or Old Models)
Many products have new models or release multiple styles of the same product.
Ever try finding a new fishing rod? It’s not unusual to have 16 or more versions of a model released to cover a wide array of anglers.
Most affiliate sites don’t do this. They don’t compare & contrast the products in a helpful way.
Why compare not only products from past years that were popular but also other similar products released by the same company?
Because you not only provide a great resource that helps a frustrated online shopper and makes them more likely to buy, but you also give yourself a chance to rank for a lot of longtail keywords you’d otherwise miss out on.
Remember that this information needs to be useful from a buyer’s point of view. If the comparisons are just bullet point factory specs that don’t help.
But if the comparison shows one is ideal for individuals up to 6 feet tall, but this other product is much better for the average individual taller than 6 feet in height, that’s actually useful.
Good comparison charts work.
Common Questions About Product Reviews
Will these tactics ensure I am protected against Google algorithm updates?
No. There is never a 100% guarantee that you will be protected from future Google updates. However, following this advice will ensure you have a leg up on your competition that is rehashing information found on many sites.
What if I can’t afford to buy the product to review it?
This is unquestionably the best method if you can do it. But it’s not mandatory. You will need to work harder and follow the strategies here to really stick out in a good way. If you know someone who has bought the product, talking to them about it and getting their point of view works almost as well!
Can I review more than one product in a post, or can I only review one at a time now?
While reviewing a single product in-depth is a great way to rank at the top for individual product-related keywords, there’s no reason “best Y product” lists won’t work. As long as the information is useful, helpful, and well-researched.
The hit many product review websites took from this update was because their list articles tended to be none of those things.
How am I supposed to know what Google wants from a review?
They tell you. Unlike many other updates, Google openly gave a lot of information on this one. You can read Google’s own words on the product review update here.
3 Ways To Improve Affiliate Product Reviews On Niche Sites – Conclusion
Many of Google’s updates over the years have been about improving the overall quality of information and user experience. The Product Review update was exactly that.
About the author: Mushfiq has been buying, growing, and selling website assets since 2008. His first exit was in 2010. Since then, he has done 175 website flips with multiple 6-figure exits. His free newsletter, The Website Flip, covers case studies on his portfolio of sites, website flipping guides, and exclusive websites for sale.
Bonus: The Best Framework For Your Product Reviews, According To Google
We like that with this update, Google has given us a bullet-point list of exactly what they want to see in a good product review.
Google has said that as a content creator, you should ask yourself, does your product review;
- Express expert knowledge about the products?
- Explain what the product is really like, beyond what the manufacturer lists on their site?
- Provide clear details on how the product performs in various categories?
- Details exactly why this product is different from its competitors?
- Explain how the product may be used in different situations?
- Provide research that determines the true benefits and drawbacks, with examples?
- Has the product evolved through various models or versions? If so, did you explain these changes and updates in detail?
- Identify and break down key factors or importance, that will help consumers make their decision? For example, a wireless vaccume review might determine that charge time, run time, and compartment depth are key decision-making factors and rate performance in those areas.
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