Product reviews are one of the most profitable types of content you can use to promote products on your affiliate website.
Because reviews are at the end of the buyer’s journey.
When somebody reads a review for a product or service, they have already decided they are going to make a purchase.
They are researching their options before they decide which product to buy.
Product reviews provide the answers, and the reassurance people are looking for before they make a purchasing decision.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the different types of product reviews you can use on your affiliate site…
...And we’ll take an in-depth dive into the process of writing a review that generates conversions and commission.
- What Is Product Review?
- Types of Product Reviews
- How to Write Product Reviews
- Get to Know the Product
- Identify Your Target Audience
- Determine Your Grading Criteria
- Keyword Research
- Craft a Compelling Headline
- Eye-Catching Subheadings
- Write an Engaging Introduction
- Include the Core Elements of a Review
- Don’t Hype or Oversell the Product
- Compare the Product to Competing Products
- Use Comparison Tables
- Provide a Final Verdict
- Rich Snippets
- Boost Conversions with Multiple CTAs
What Is Product Review?
Let’s quickly go over what a product review is and why they are important for affiliate marketers.
If you’ve ever used the internet to conduct research before you buy something, you will have come across a product review.
At its base level, a product review is a piece of content that helps the reader decide whether a product or service is suitable for their needs.
A review makes it easy for the reader to investigate the pros and cons of a product, and provides a verdict on the quality and suitability of the product for a specific audience.
The more the review is focused on a specific audience, the more value it can offer to the reader…
...And the more likely it will generate conversions and commision.
According to a survey by BrightLocal, 81% of consumers aged 18 to 34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations:
This age group is also the most likely to purchase online.
According to Eurostat, 78% of EU consumers aged 16-24, and 76% of those aged 25-54 have purchased online within the last 12 months:
Product reviews provide a natural final step before an online shopper makes a purchasing decision.
Creating a value-packed review that is SEO optimized and highly targeted to a specific audience can generate affiliate income for months and even years ahead.
Types of Product Reviews
There are five types of product review you can utilize to promote products on your affiliate website:
1. Versus Reviews
As the name suggests, versus reviews take two similar products and contrast and compare them to see which is better.
In the example below, WebsiteBuilderExpert utilizes a versus review to compare two competing web hosting providers:
Versus reviews are usually in-depth, comparing the pros and cons of each product comprehensively.
At the end of the review, one product is usually recommended over the other.
A key advantage of versus product reviews is that related keywords are often less competitive, increasing your chances of ranking higher in the search results.
Using the example above, we can see that “Bluehost vs Hostgator” receives significant search volume, but has a low SEO difficulty:
If you write a versus review to compare one of your affiliate products against a competitor, it’s important to be balanced in your review.
Don’t let your relationship with the merchant cloud your judgement.
Your recommendation should be objective and justifiable.
If you think the competing product is better than your affiliate product, you can still recommend your affiliate product as an option for users with specific needs.
For example, let’s say that your affiliate product has better customer service but fewer features. You could encourage beginners to use your affiliate product and more experienced users to opt for the competitor product.
You can also include comparison charts to increase the visual appeal of your versus post and make it more scannable.
2. Comparison Charts
Comparison charts perform a similar function to a versus review post.
Rather than creating an in-depth review that details the pros and cons of both products, a comparison chart presents the information in a visual way that is easy to understand.
In the example below, G2 uses a comparison chart to compare the features of marketing software HubSpot and Marketo:
Comparison charts are less in-depth, but they provide all the information a user needs to evaluate two products and make a purchasing decision quickly.
Although they don’t tend to rank in search engines results as well as an in-depth comparison post, charts are effective at attracting shares and links on social media.
3. Single-Product Reviews
Single-product reviews are a great way to promote your affiliate products in an in-depth post.
You can review all kinds of products that are relevant to your niche and that your audience will be interested in.
When people are close to making a purchase, one of the last things they will do is to turn to Google and search for reviews.
People want to make informed purchasing decisions, and product reviews tap into that need.
You can go into lots of depth with a single-product review, covering each feature in detail.
One of the key elements of a successful single-product review is keyword research.
This information will help you to pinpoint the products that your audience are interested in and searching for online.
In the example above, Engadget targets the keyword “fujifilm x100f review”:
If your review can achieve a ranking in the top results of the SERP (search engine results page), you will make sales and earn commission.
4. Buyer’s Guides
A buyer’s guide is a great way to target multiple keywords and cover multiple products in a comprehensive piece of content.
This type of content offers advice and instruction to the user as much as it reviews specific products.
In the example below, Mattress Advisor covers everything somebody looking to buy a mattress needs to know:
A buyer’s guide walks the reader through every stage of the buyer’s journey, covering all the factors that need to be considered before making a purchase.
You can go into much more detail in a buyer’s guide and recommend multiple products that cater to the needs and preferences of multiple audiences.
According to a Microsoft study, the average human attention span is 8 seconds, falling from 12 seconds back in 2000.
Listicles are so popular online because they are quick and easy to read.
They are well suited to the shortened attention span of modern internet users.
Listicles are also a great way to target buyer intent keywords and include multiple products in your review.
The Wirecutter, one of the most well-known affiliate websites, does a great job of utilizing this type of review content.
Keyword phrases including “best” and “top” are high volume keywords that people search for when they are making a purchasing decision.
In the example above, The Wirecutter targets the keyword “best water bottles”:
When you rank products in a listicle review, you should use an evidence-based approach to determine your ranking.
You can go more in-depth in a listicle article, recommending different products for the diverse needs and preferences of your audience segments.
Listicle reviews can also work well for different seasons, or holiday promotions.
For example, you could create a best-of list for Christmas gifts, or father’s day gifts, or best-of review for summer season outdoors products.
Listicle reviews can also work well for specific niches, or types of people (even outside holiday periods)...
For example, “20 Insanely Cool Gadgets That Are Going To Sell Out Fast”, or “20 Great Gifts For Men”, or “Top 10 Supplements For Boosting Energy”.
Why Listicles Often Do Better For Paid Ads Than Individual Product Ads…
When running paid traffic to demographic audiences (e.g. Facebook Ads targeting Men in the USA aged 35+ who watch sci fi programs), sometimes listicles do a lot better than just promoting a specific product.
E.g. If you took that audience and promoted “20 Insanely Cool Gadgets That Are Going To Sell Out Fast”, then there is more likely to be something that will interest them, than if it was just a single product promoted.
It’s always worth testing both approaches, as sometimes a single product, that is written about in more details (full page review) can do better than a listicle, and you won’t know until you run tests with real traffic.
How to Write Product Reviews
To cut through the noise and attract the eyeballs of your audience, you need to publish high-quality review content that stands out from the rest.
It needs to be genuinely helpful and offer value to your audience.
You do that by creating well-researched, well-structured, informative, and targeted review content.
In this section, we’re going to walk you through the process of writing a definitive review that your audience will actually want to read.
Get to Know the Product
If you want people to listen to your recommendations, you need to offer value and provide a reason for people to trust you.
Knowing everything there is to know about the product helps you to establish credibility and provide answers to the questions your readers are asking.
You can buy the product you want to review or contact the merchant and ask for a free copy.
If it's a digital product, you'll find that lots of lots of merchants are willing to give you access - especially if you can demonstrate a history of successfully promoting products and generating sales.
If you are a newbie and working on your first affiliate site, make sure your website is as professional-looking as possible before you reach out to any merchants.
Some merchants refuse to hand out products to affiliates, so don't feel too disheartened if you are knocked back.
If you can get your hands on the product, take time to study the product and learn it's pros and cons.
You want to be an expert on the individual product and any similar products in the niche.
If you can't get your hands on the product, you'll need to do more research to make your review credible.
If the product is sold on Amazon, check out the user reviews and take notes of any common problems or any features that people praise.
In the user review above, the customer praises the product, but does point out a flaw that you would want to mention in your review.
Look at competing products on the market, and check out what customers and other reviewers are saying online.
Identify Your Target Audience
Before you start writing a review, you should have a firm grasp of who you are writing the review for.
You want to know who your audience is, the problem the product will help them solve, and how it will improve their lives.
- Are there any features that a specific audience will find appealing?
- Is the audience knowledgeable about the product and other products on the market?
- Are they a newbie looking for a beginner-friendly product?
Answering these questions will help you to structure your review and make your content as valuable as possible to your target audience.
If you write a review that tries to please everyone, you’ll end up with a bland review that doesn’t appeal to anyone.
Once you have a clearly defined target audience, you can include a short section that highlights who the product is for.
This helps to qualify the readers.
The visitors that keep reading are qualified and more likely to click on your affiliate links.
You can link to other products if you think that they are more suited to different audience segments.
Any people that won’t find the product useful can click onto one of your other recommended products that are better suited to their needs.
It also establishes credibility by showing that you have the readers interests at heart.
You’re not recommending the same product for everyone, and you’re not interested in recommending a product that isn’t a good fit for your audience.
Determine Your Grading Criteria
Once you have got to know the product and determined your target audience, you need to decide on the criteria you will use to review the product.
For example, if you are building an affiliate site that reviews drones, you’ll want to make sure your grade features like:
- Battery Life
- Ease of Use
- Mobile app
The criteria depend on the type of product you are reviewing.
It’s important to think about the needs of your audience and the key features they look at before they decide which product to buy.
Before you write your review, you should conduct keyword research to determine which phrases and keywords can help you get your review get more visibility online.
The main keyword should appear in the title, and the review content a couple of times.
You can also use supporting keywords to target different phrases in search results.
For example, if you are creating a buyer's guide for lawnmowers, you could include the following supporting keywords:
- Best lawn mower under $400
- Best lawn mower for small yards
- Best cheap lawnmower
- Best lawn mower with bag
These supporting keywords can be used to recommend different products for specific audience segments and increase the visibility of your content in search results.
When you use your keywords, make sure they naturally flow in your content.
Don't try to keyword stuff or shoehorn in keywords if they don't fit or make sense grammatically.
Craft a Compelling Headline
According to research by Copyblogger, 80% of people will read your headline, but only 20% will go on to read your review in full.
That’s why your headline is so vital to the success of your review content.
It has a vital role to play - it needs to get your visitors to read the first sentence of the review.
There are a couple of tactics you can use to help you create a compelling headline.
The first option is to address the biggest problem that your target audience faces and how the product solves that problem.
In the example below, Matthew Woodward uses this tactic in the headline of his WP Rocket review:
The second option is to use your headline to pose a question that you know that your audience wants answering.
Good Housekeeping utilizes this tactic in the headline of their iPhone 11 review:
The trick is to implement one of these tactics in a short and concise headline that is optimized for search engines.
You should limit your title to 70 characters to make sure it is displayed in full in the search engine results page.
Subheadings help to break up your content, make it easier to scan, and encourage your readers to keep moving down the page.
They should attract the attention of the reader and highlight the value of the text below.
A web page with a solid block of text is hard to read, results in endless scrolling, and increases the chances of your visitor leaving the page without clicking on your CTA and buying the product.
You can use your headlines to illustrate the benefits the user will get from the product or any negatives that the reader needs to know.
In the example below, Good Housekeeping utilizes a compelling subheading that is targeted to their female readership:
Creating your subheadings before you write the rest of your review will help to keep your content focused and valuable to your audience.
Write an Engaging Introduction
Your introduction should provide a clear overview of the review, establish credibility, and provide a reason why the visitor needs to keep reading.
In the example below, Website Planet does a good job of covering all of these bases in their introduction:
The content of your introduction should be targeted to the needs and concerns of your audience.
If you are targeting beginners and first-time users, you’ll need to spend more time introducing the product and the benefits it offers.
More experienced users want to see how the product has evolved, how it overcomes common problems that other products suffer from, and how it is better or worse than other products on the market.
You can make your introduction more engaging by including a “hook”.
The “hook” is a question or statement that gives people a reason to keep on reading.
In the Website Planet example, the opening paragraph and final sentence of the introduction provide the “hook” that encourages people to read the rest of the review.
Include the Core Elements of a Review
The structure and content of a review can differ according to the type of product, niche, and target audience.
However, there are some points that nearly every review should touch on.
The body of your review should cover the following key elements:
Features - What the product is and what it does.
Credibility - You should provide a reason why people should trust your recommendation.
Who is the Product For - Qualify your audience by revealing who the product will help, and how it is used?
Pros and Cons - List the strengths and weaknesses of the product. You need to go beyond listing features and show the benefits (how the product will improve people's lives).
Comparisons - How the product compares to other products on the market.
Product Details - Include information on the product price, guarantees, product specs, etc.
Verdict - Should the reader buy the product? Does it offer value for money?
A great way to improve the structure of your reviews is to see how some of the leading review sites structure their review content.
Websites like The Wirecutter, The Verge, and Buzzfeed Reviews are all excellent examples of how to structure a review.
Don’t Hype or Oversell the Product
Lots of beginner affiliates fall into the trap of over-selling the product in their reviews.
The purpose of your review is to help people make an informed purchasing decision, not to sell the product.
That’s the job of the sales page when people have clicked on your affiliate link.
You need to be transparent and balanced with your review.
Step into the shoes of your audience and analyze the product through their eyes.
What are they looking for in the product?
Nobody expects a product to be perfect, and you’ll earn more credibility and trust by being balanced.
Discuss the things you like about the product, but also the things you don’t like.
Explain how you reached your opinion, and address the benefits and flaws.
If your review reads like a sales page, people aren’t going to trust your recommendation, and they won’t trust any of the other content on your website.
Compare the Product to Competing Products
Comparing and contrasting with other products on the market is an excellent opportunity to highlight the advantages of the product you are reviewing…
...And it’s a great way to include links to other affiliate products that are more suited to the needs of different users.
Comparisons help your visitors to understand the product market and the other available options.
The reader has a reference point to help them make an informed purchasing decision.
It also shows that you have done your research, and helps to establish credibility.
When people know that you have compared the product to others, they feel more trusting of your recommendations.
Use Comparison Tables
Comparison tables are a great way to summarize the features and specifications of a product in a visually appealing table.
They make it easy for visitors to see a side by side comparison of multiple products and get an overview of the key information that influences a purchasing decision.
Including a comparison table can also boost your conversions.
If somebody wants a quick recommendation, they can check out the comparison table and click your affiliate link to purchase the highest rated product.
You can use a free WordPress plugin like TablePress to create your product comparison tables:
You can check out the product comparison tables used on Amazon to see which information you should include.
If your product isn’t sold on Amazon, check out the merchant’s website for the features and specifications.
Lots of merchants include their comparison tables on their website to help customers compare their product to other options.
Provide a Final Verdict
The end of your review should contain a summary of your opinion.
You can recap the main points covered in the review, provide your recommendation, and discuss pricing.
If you think another product offers better value, now’s the time to advise readers to check out your other review.
Tell your readers whether you believe the product delivers on its promise and if it is worth the money…
...And summarize the review in a short and clear statement.
Include a clear CTA at the bottom of your review to encourage users to click on your affiliate link.
Here’s a good example of a product review conclusion from TechRadar:
As you can see, the conclusion sums up the main points of the review and gives an opinion on whether the reader should buy the product.
They use the last sentence of the review to encourage readers to check out a different product that is more suited to the needs of the reader.
You can make your review look more appealing in the search results by implementing rich snippets.
Here’s an example of a rich snippets star rating in the search engine results page:
This is a great way to boost your clickthrough rate and drive more traffic to your review and your affiliate links.
The more people visiting your review from search results, the more money you will make.
If you use WordPress to build your site, you can install a free plugin like Schema - All In One Schema Rich Snippets to add a star rating and other rich snippets elements to your review.
Boost Conversions with Multiple CTAs
You should include a CTA in your conclusion…
...But you can increase the chances of people clicking on your affiliate link by placing a CTA at the top and middle of your review.
A simple “Buy Now” works well for an Amazon product, but for a digital product or service, you can use a longer CTA to encourage users to click through to the merchant’s landing page.
Depending on the type of product, you can use something like:
- “Click Here To Learn More About (product name)”
- “Get (product name) now for (price)”
- “Try (product name) for free”
Don’t place more than three CTAs in your review, and avoid putting affiliate links every time that you mention the product in the review.
This can come across as pushing for a hard sell.
You can attract the attention of your visitors by using a bright contrasting colour for your CTA button.
Here’s an example from Lucie’s List:
The “Buy Now” CTA button is directly below the image of the product, and is a bright contrasting colour that stands out on the page.
We’ve covered the essentials for a product review that generates sales.
Once you’ve published your review, you need to promote it and get it in front of as many eyes as possible.
Send a promotional email to your list of subscribers, promote it on social media, and make it easy for your website visitors to find it.
You can also link to your review from your resources/recommended products page.
If you follow the above techniques and include all of the essentials we listed above, your review can generate sales and commission for months and years ahead.