Last night I woke up due to some horrible back pain and went for a “walk” to the toilet. Whilst sitting on the white throne I opened the Google News Feed and found this article from Search Engine Land about the winners and losers of the latest Google Product Review Update in April 2021.
When I was operatively working on the ENV Media websites my role was to dissect our sites in relation to the latest updates. Now I’ve been off the track for a couple of months, but whether this article reached me at the perfect time while sitting there in the darkness, or the fact that te marjority of my worklife has been centered around online reviews, I leave untold.
Comparing products, not lining them up
Possessing a high awareness of yourself can be a blessing or a curse. Blessing in the sense that you consistently are re-evaluating your SEO strategies, and a curse since it can create anxiety about stupid things. As for today, let’s use it for its blessing.
Over at Google Developers, there is an interesting “checklist” of questions content creators within the review sphere should look into. Many of the factors are something I am already applying in the SEO strategies at our gambling sites, but some were new.
SEO in affiliate marketing is very different from let’s say paid affiliate marketing. We, SEO’s, aim for those really sweet keywords including “review”, “best”, “list”, “where to..”, etc. Keywords that guarantees warm leads with click to conversion rates in the bucket of 20-40%.
Back in the days working for Catena Media it was the wild west ranking on those keywords; Kick up a site, write 20,000 words about casino reviews, send a dozen of backlinks with anchors consisting of “review” and BOOM: profit!
Classic 2010 SEO; rank and bank.
However, if you think about it, a review is nothing if there isn’t a point to measure it towards:
Is x50 wagering requirement for a live casino bonus good or bad?
Is 2000 slot games a big library or small?
The power of internal links
As a professional in iGaming, I know x50 wagering is extremely high because I have written 100’s of casino reviews looking into this exact matter. 30-40 is substandard for a live casino bonus, 25 is extremely good.
But that information has to go inside the review so a novice reader understands that concept as well. Otherwise, that’s just a number.
And this is a concept we’ve been applying in our product reviews since 2018. ALWAYS give the reader a reference point to your argument you write in a review.
Let me show you this example from Cashup Club’s casino review of JungleRaja.
As you can see here I give the reader a reference point why I think JungleRaja is doing such a good job with their casino games. An argument based on facts.
So that’s for the reader – what about Google?
Yes, we need to feed the cookie monster with some crumbs as well. And if there’s something this cookie monster likes it is internal links with unique and relevant anchor texts.
A common practice in SEO for internal linking between products is to use the product name as anchor text. That’s the lazy version of doing it, how Gustaf The Cat would do SEO. It is not how you should do SEO.
Look at this.
First of all, when you are sending an internal link from a section with an H3 saying “Roulette” and you refer to another section on another page about Roulette you are building up relevance.
Secondly, if that internal link also has a highly navigational purpose, meaning that the user can go and benchmark/verify whether 20 vs. 40 roulette titles is true/big. That kind of stuff adds up crumbs for the monster.
Third – The anchor text and its context becomes organic and stays on the topic of being a review. How many times have you not tried to squeeze in a keyword in an anchor text? You’re sitting there mashing the keyboard turning the sentence up and down, just to get that keyword in there. Google can sense that shit nowadays.
Fourth, by interlinking your product reviews you are also supporting the silo in an organic way.
Conclusion on the firing squad
Make sure you know the products you review damn well. Even if I order the majority of the content to my projects, I am ALWAYS the one internally linking them. I build my internal links with love <3.
The power of being objective
With this in mind, lets segway over to what I found highly interesting in the Search Engine Land article.
Google reacts to sales copy.
I have always hated sales copywriting and found funnels copywriting funnels extremely stupid. You know the type of funnels for, let’s say, an SEO backlink course like this. They are filled with sales copy guaranteeing things, using superlatives and just generally sounds like an icecream pitch for a 9 year old.
My kinda thing is informational, well researched and personal copy. Hopefully the kind of content you find on this blog.
So when I read the following while sitting in the darkness on the toilet I silently closed my left fist and taste of victory spread in my mouth…
Sales copy is ruining SEO, at least that’s what this random guy at SEL says.
In the article, thereare more examples that are not directly related to pushy copy writing. However, using pushy copy writing does not go hand in hand with my theory of internal linking. My theory of internal linking is informational, well researched and specked with product knowledge.
And thats also the types of crumbs Google like to follow.
The author of the article points out that the losers of the latest update fail at pointing out basic facts about the products. They are taking for granted that their brand and authority is enough to “convince” the reader to buy product X – they’re not backing up the arguments with features. They are taking things for granted. They are not being objective.
What were my results of the update?
Im glad you asked, let me show you some screenshots of my sites’ performances.
Affiliate site reviewing home teeth whitening products in Sweden.
Affiliate sport news site
x2 affiliate sites in online casino
Lottery affiliate site
All in all, I have not noticed anything negative about this update for the past two weeks. Nor in traffic or in revenue, if something it would be positive.