Creating Buying Guides For Affiliate Content That Rank & Convert in 2020 | Skipblast

Creating Buying Guides For Affiliate Content That Rank & Convert in 2020

When you’re creating affiliate content for your site, there should be two main goals that you are focusing on.

  1. Rank in Google
  2. Convert visitors into affiliate monies

Accomplishing this is not as simple as finding a ranking guide and having your writer rewrite it for your site.

While you may be able to score a few wins with that method, you’ll be able to score wins every single time once you get a system down and can easily replicate and scale it.

I create all of my buying guides the exact same way, whether I’m writing something that uses links to Amazon or links to another affiliate program.

I’ll share my process below, but I warn you that it’s work. I don’t half-ass my content.

This post contains some affiliate links to products that I use and love. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Step 1: Finding The Right Keywords

Many people decide on the overall keyword that they’re going to chase, i.e. best jogging stroller, and don’t really think any further than that.

You’ve got to dig deeper.

In fact, you need to find the major keywords for that entire topic that you want to target with your buying guide on the best jogging strollers.

keywords

When I find a new keyword like this that I want to target, my next step is to find the rest of them so that I can create my article outline.

This ensures that I pick up all the related keywords that I need to rank, while also giving me the opportunity to create the basic framework for the article that I can then hand off to my writer.

The best way to know what those major related keywords are is simply by checking out the guides that are ranking. Most of the time, those sites have already done most of the work for you.

In the first article that I check out, I find the following sections to add to my list:

  • Do You Need a Jogging Stroller?
  • When Can You Use a Jogging Stroller?
  • What are the Features of a Jogging Stroller?

The next article that I find gives me another section to add:

  • Safe jogging

The next article gives me several sections that I haven’t seen yet:

  • Best Single Jogging Strollers For 2019
  • Best Double Running Strollers For 2019
  • Jogging with an infant?
  • Having a baby doesn’t mean you have to give up jogging!
  • Why jogging with a stroller is beneficial?

Once I think I have all the sections that I need from the pages that are currently ranking, I check out the People Also Ask section of the results to determine if there’s anything else to add to my outline.

people also ask

When I find good questions in this section of the SERPs, I usually try to work them into my article. If the questions aren’t really something that should be an entire section, then I just make a note to tell my writer to include the info into existing sections.

Another good way to find even more things to add to your article is to check out the “Questions” results in KWFinder.

KWfinder questions

If you’ve never used KWFinder before, they have a free 10-day trial – take it for a test drive now.

Note: I know this seems like a lot, right? And sometimes you just want to get a post published on your site, right? Well, here’s what I do when I’m in rush – I post the bare minimum (a ‘buying guide’ section followed by a few mini product reviews) and then update it with the other section when I have the time.

Step 2: Create The Article Outline

It doesn’t matter if I’m writing my own content or outsourcing it, I always create an outline from the keywords that I’ve found.

I do this so that I can ensure that my sections (the H2s for the article) are well optimized for the keywords that I want to rank for in Google.

My basic structure, no matter if I’m promoting Amazon products or website hosts, is a general guide on what to look for or think about before buy, followed by mini product reviews, and ending with answers to common questions.

Note: If any of the common questions can be turned into a stand alone article, then I do that instead of putting in the guide and use that new article for internal linking back to the buying guide.

So, based on what I found above, this is what I’m starting with:

  • Do You Need a Jogging Stroller?
  • When Can You Use a Jogging Stroller?
  • What are the Features of a Jogging Stroller?
  • Safe jogging
  • Best Single Jogging Strollers For 2019
  • Best Double Running Strollers For 2019
  • Jogging with an infant?
  • Having a baby doesn’t mean you have to give up jogging!
  • Why jogging with a stroller is beneficial?
  • Can I jog with a regular stroller?
  • Can a jogging stroller be used as an everyday stroller?
  • When can a baby go in a jogging stroller?
  • Is it harder to run with a jogging stroller?
  • How to open/close/clean/fold jogging stroller?

Now, I don’t want to use the exact same section heading as the other rankings sites that I copied earlier, so I will rewrite those a bit.

Here’s how I might outline this buying guide –

article outline

That first level (7 main sections) will be my H2s in the article. And the sections where there is a sub-section (like the FAQs section) feature the things that I want my writer to cover in the overall section.

So those won’t necessarily be H3s, but they can be depending on if it’s keyword rich or not.

When you outsource your content, giving the writer an outline like this means that you’ll get back exactly what you want instead of some half-assed article full of fluff.

Step 3: Picking The Products

I think it goes without saying that you only want to promote stuff that has good reviews.

When I’m selecting products for an Amazon affiliate site, then I just go to the best sellers list for that type of product and pick out a few that are rated highly.

amazon best sellers

Typically, I select the products that I want my writers to review when I send them the outline. However, with writers I trust, I simply tell them to pick some rated at least 4 stars.

But the main thing to think about here is how many products do you want to feature in your buying guide? And do you want to have more products in your table/chart than you do reviews of?

I’d guess that five or 10 products are the most common numbers you see in buying guides. Sometimes I see sites that only do three and I’ve seen others go as high as 40+ items.

And when you see such a wide variety of sites ranking on page one, it’s really a struggle to know what YOU should be doing with your own guides.

When I’m writing my own buying guides, I think a lot about decision fatigue, which is a fascinating topic if you’re not already familiar with it.

via GIPHY

The basics of decision fatigue state that the more choices offered to a consumer, the more mentally fatigued they become.

For some consumers, this means that they will simply choose the default option present to them in order to avoid having to make a decision. For others, like me, it means that they will make no immediate decision and instead “sleep on it” and make a decision once they are refreshed.

So, do you give them limited choices or an over abundance of choices?

I often settle somewhere between five to seven products for my guides. But I also try to highlight things like the best value option (for the budget conscious who want decent quality at a good price), the best money can buy option (for the big budget buyer), and the cheapest option.

But I also like to try to put the most expensive item (with good reviews) at the top of my chart for those fatigued buyers who go with the default option present to them.

You can experiment with what works best in your niche.

Step 4: Putting It All Together In A Good Format

Using the article outline created earlier, you’ll want to optimize the finished article for good on-page SEO practices and make it easy to consume for your site visitors.

via GIPHY

I’ve already told you how I select my H2s and H3s. And I rarely go any deeper than that for my headings.

Since most people are getting online via mobile devices, you definitely do not want large chunks of text on their screens.

Go against your traditional school paper writing habits and break up your text with only one to two sentences per paragraph.

Use bullet lists when you can to break up the monotony of the text.

Add images and gifs to give the readers eyes a break from all that reading.

For your products, make sure you’re putting in images of those too – and if you’re using Amazon, be sure to do it without breaking the terms of the operating agreement.

I’m a big fan of the AAWP plugin for inserting Amazon images and making nice looking charts, tables, and product boxes. It so much easier than HTML tables or Tablepress.

aawp site

I also suggest using a table of contents plugin so that readers can easily see what the page is about when they land on it. This type of plugin is also how you get those nifty jump links in the SERPs.

jump links

You should also have some sort of call to action (CTA) above the fold. For most affiliate sites this is a table or chart.

But it can be a button or even a bullet list with text links to your top recommended products.

I know that tables, charts, buttons, etc. can look at bit spammy when they are above the fold. But the fact is that you need something up there from a CRO standpoint.

A couple of years ago I tested not having a table above the fold vs having one and my site’s revenue increased 46% after adding tables above the fold to all the money posts.

Just look at how The Wirecutter does it. They have this big ass photo at the top, and then there are three visible links at the top of their articles.

One thing I’ve seen people debate in the past is should you have a large featured image at the top of your posts on your site? Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t.

And I’ve seen plenty of sites ranking without images at the top of the page. So, experiment and see what you prefer and if there is a conversion difference.

When you have buying guides like mine, they are usually very long. Most people don’t read the whole thing (according to my heat maps).

Even so, I always try to end the article with a final call to action – even if it’s just another table or chart of the top products. Cause sometimes people do scroll all the way through to the end.

Step 5: Update It Regularly

One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make with their affiliate content is that they publish content and never look at it again.

This is a problem on several levels. Plus, it hurts your rankings and your income.

You need to revise those old posts regularly. Why?

  • New products are released all the time and you might want to add them to your chart/table or reviews.
  • Amazon is a bastard and changes out ASINs for seemingly no reason at all and then your product links serve up 404 errors.
  • New buyer questions and other keywords pop up in the SERPs – add them to your content for more ranking keywords.
  • New versions of products are released, so old ones are discontinued but you’re still sending people to the old product that’s no longer available to buy.
  • Your competition takes your rankings because their content has been updated more frequently and your stale old page gets pushed down the SERPs.
Changing the published date on your posts and/or  updating it in your page title is not enough to appear “fresh” for Google. Though I do suggest you change your published date to a “last updated” one so Google and readers know how fresh the content is when they land on it.

FAQs

Based on some of the questions that people email me regularly, let me try to answer some of the things you might be thinking right now.

Where do I outsource my content?

Currently, I have a writer from Upwork that I’ve used for several years. I work with him off-platform – this is a great setup, if you can get it.

I also outsource some stuff with Writer Access right now. This year I’ve also used Word Agents.

And, I have a nephew in high school who I’ve recruited to write some content, as well as his friends.

You can look for writers in Facebook groups, the Reddit forhire subreddit, and a variety of other places.

Do I use a VA to publish my content on my sites?

Nope. Never have and I doubt I ever will.

I’ve known too many people using VAs who end up with their affiliate links not inserted properly for me to ever trust a VA to get this right for me.

But hey, plenty of people do it, so if you feel comfortable with that then go ahead.

Do I use an editor for the content that I get back from writers?

No, because I only work with writers who can deliver content that needs no edits. Why do extra work or pay for extra work when you can pay someone to do it correctly the first time?

How much should I expect to pay for content?

This really depends on your niche and if you need a writer with specialized knowledge. I typically pay between $0.03/word to $0.06/word for Amazon affiliate buying guides.

For specialized knowledge, I’ve paid up to $0.12/word for content.

What’s a good keyword research tool for affiliate content?

I use KWFinder and have for several years now. It’s got a free trial, so you can try it out for yourself.

What search volume should I target?

Honestly, I don’t really worry much about search volume – even if it’s crazy high. I just make sure that I target a wide variety of keywords in my guides.

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Shawna Newman

Hey, I'm Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok, Las Vegas, and (currently) Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.

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7 thoughts on “Creating Buying Guides For Affiliate Content That Rank & Convert in 2020”

    • I use the AAWP plugin, but this page looks like Tablepress with some custom CSS. You can probably hire someone on Fiverr or Upwork for the custom CSS to look like this one.

      Reply
  1. Hey Shawna – I just discovered your site, you have some great content and now have a new subscriber here. What table of contents plugin do you use/recommend?

    Reply

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