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SEO Copywriting: How to Write Copy That Triples Conversions (+ Case Study)

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13 Oct 2020

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SEO Copywriting
Rank Boner

Hey SEOButler readers,

I’m a copywriter that’s worked extensively with agencies and affiliate sites since 2014, and today I want to share with you exactly how I achieved that big blue wave you see at the far right there.

That graph represents an increase in clicks to Amazon from 20% to over 60%, and I feel the SEO community would greatly benefit from me sharing some really cool tips I’ve learned working behind the scenes of successful affiliate sites.

So I’m going to show you not just the theory behind it, but practical tips, examples, and even a plug-and-play affiliate product review template I’d be happy for you to steal.

Producing high-quality, engaging content — especially at scale — is perhaps the greatest challenge in SEO, whether you’re an affiliate or an agency. 

By using these tips, I truly believe anyone can drastically improve the quality of their content, no matter the goal.

Important Note: These tips apply to all web writing, not just affiliate reviews. But at the end of the guide, I’ll show you a case study where implementing these tips resulted in 3x’ing conversions. 

First, What is First-Rate Content Anyway?

We’re all busy, right? 

So let’s just dive right in.

High-quality content is more than just content that “answers the query” with correct grammar and natural language. 

I see this everywhere in our community. Yes, you want to answer the query, but real high-quality content, the kind that drives engagement, clicks, and conversions, is so much more than that.

Readers want valuable content that’s easy to read. So, in that case, “quality” content is content that delivers a ton of value in a very easy-to-read package. 

Readers want to get something valuable out of your content, and they want to get it as quickly and painlessly as possible. 

In that case, quality content is content that offers tons of life-improving or problem-solving value in a way that increases time on page, decreases bounce rate, increases clicks/conversions, and results in return visitors.

So what’s the problem in the SEO world?

The problem is that most content is very dull, overly professional, or only very surface-level (Just cliche statements and no details). Even decent content that “answers the query” falls victim to this. 

Yes, there is a time and place for drab, dry, obituary-section type content. For example, a “how to create forms in PDF editor (With screenshots)” article is fine if it reads dryly.

But for the vast majority of content, that’s not enough to be considered really high-quality.

The thing is that creating ultra high-converting content isn’t that hard. 

Here are 5 tips on how to write content that hooks, engages, and compels no matter what topic you’re writing about.

Tip #1 – Value. Value. Value. Always Provide More Value.

The web is a fierce war for readers’ attention. 

If you don’t give them what they want, they will bounce.

Boring, fluffy, surface-level content won’t cut it.

Yet how often do you see content like this?

Constant Contact

This, my friends, is fluff. 

Did you really learn anything from this? Did you enjoy reading it? Do you feel compelled to purchase ConstantContact?

Doubt it.

Like I said before, readers want to get something out of reading your content beyond just the basic, surface-level facts. 

Simply explaining what something is or giving basic facts or features is not going to cut it.

Here’s what to do instead:

Always Add Benefits

Readers care about benefits. What’s in it for them? What advantages does ConstantContact (CC) provide? Think about it from the reader’s perspective. What do they gain? Be sure to appeal to the basic human emotions like greed and fear. It could be:

  • CC skyrockets profits quickly
  • CC is super easy to use
  • CC is cheaper than competitors
  • CC has more email templates than competitors

Always Add Details

Cliche is French for “I didn’t take the time to research this topic enough to tell you the details.” Readers won’t take you seriously if you don’t tell them how they benefit and then BACK IT UP. You can always add helpful details by answering some basic questions:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • What kind?
  • How does it work?
  • Why is it better?
  • Why should I buy it?

Here’s what that content would look like with more details and benefits.

Let’s take another look at that piece of content from before:

Constant Contact

How could we improve this with more details and benefits?

  • All-in-one-marketing: Which kind of services come with that? What’s the benefit of an all-in-one solution as opposed to separate tools?
  • Templates: How many? Which kinds of templates? Why is that a good thing?
  • Works across all devices: Why is that good for your users? 
  • Substitute for GetResponse: How much is it? Does it work? Is it good?

Here’s what it looks like when we add REAL VALUE:

Constant Contact Value

Important Note: Entertainment is Value Too

Nobody wants a snooze fest. You’re writing web content, not War & Peace. 

Here are some quick ways I add fun and entertainment to my articles:

  • Make pop culture references
  • Add memes
  • Crack jokes at yourself and others
  • Demonstrate how things work using funny hypothetical situations

Tip #2 – Research the Web Deeper

I know this sounds painfully obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway: The more you know about your topic, the better the article you will write.

One of the easiest wins in all of content creation is simply researching more thoroughly than your competitors. It doesn’t take much skill — just hard work and knowing where to look. 

For the sake of this tip, let’s pretend we’re writing an article about exogenous ketones. 

Everyone loves keto, right? (pizza is keto-friendly. Right, guys?…Guys?)

Here’s a brief overview of how my research process would look for that topic:

Start With the Whole SERP

The SERP is your best friend. Make sure to analyze it from top to bottom including the People Also Ask and even related search terms.

SERPs
Keto Review

Right off the bat, I see a ton of awesome stuff to include in my article:

  • People want to know if it will get them into keto faster
  • They want to see if it will help ketosis overall
  • They’re concerned with weight loss
  • They’re worried about dangers
  • They’re concerned about MLMs
  • They’re interested in a competitor: Pruvit

That’s a ton of great info to get you started — and we haven’t even looked at the top results yet.

Next, Check Facebook Groups

I can’t believe so few writers do this. 

Facebook groups are a goldmine for information. You can see how real people — mostly — talk about your topic and what their key concerns are. 

You can even learn some cool tidbits that you would never have found otherwise. 

Check it out:

Keto FB

From these results alone, you learn a cool hack to include in your article (people love tips and hacks), people’s favorite flavors, and some extra info about Vitamin C (a popular supplement on the keto diet).

Dig into these pages, and you’ll find content gold.

Finally, go to YouTube

YouTube is the best research tool on the web. 

YouTube your topic and watch the top videos. You’ll hear how real experts talk, including their lingo, pop culture, and even opinions from community members in the comments.

YouTube Keto

Tip #3 – Write a Targeted, Convincing Intro

Intros are my biggest pet peeve.

95% of intros online are completely wrong, and that’s an engagement killer. 

The Nielsen-Norman Group reports that you must clearly convey your value proposition within 10 seconds if you want to win extended user attention. 

The study goes so far as to say that users act in “ruthless triage” when selecting which pages they pay attention to. 

In English, that means if they don’t like you, they bounce. If they do like you, they stay for a long time.

Attention Span Graph
(Source: NNGroup.com)

I have a truth bomb for you:

Intros are not just about introducing your topic. They’re for convincing the reader to invest time in your article.

Here’s an example of a bad intro for the term GetResponse vs. MailChimp:

Get Response vs MailChimp

Does someone searching for this term need to know what an email is or why it’s powerful?

NO.

They already know that. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be searching for email marketing software like GetResponse or MailChimp.

Step one of writing a convincing intro is targeting it to the reader’s level of awareness. 

Instead of telling the reader WHY they should read this article, this author merely explains something the reader is already aware of. 

This oversimplification will almost certainly result in a BOUNCE.

Here’s another example:

Shopify Invoice

See the issue? 

Does someone searching for “best Shopify invoice apps” need to be told what an invoice app does? 

I highly doubt it.

So, when writing your intros, keep these 3 things in mind:

  • Write for the user behind the search, NOT for the topic: What’s their level of awareness? What do they already know? What do they hope to get from this article? Instead of writing an intro about invoices and invoice apps, write one that convinces them you’ve got the best invoice apps for them.
  • Trigger emotions: We’re all emotional creatures. Triggering emotions in your intro is a great way to gain user attention. The most powerful emotions are fear, trust, hope, and humor. The right one for your article depends on what your goals are. 
  • Keep it short and sweet: Remember, you’ve got 10 seconds or less. Use them wisely. As a rule of thumb, I teach my new writers to write 3 sentences, 4 MAX.

Tip #4 – Write Short, Simple Sentences

Remember what I said at the beginning — readers want articles that are easy to read. 

Try reading the following sentence:

Screenshot

Now try this one:

Webcam Review

Eyes bleeding yet?

Again, I repeat, readers want simple, concise sentences that are easy to read. 

That’s why tools like Yoast Readability Score are so popular… 

You not only want to ensure that a broad audience can understand your content, but you must also make sure it’s easy for them to read.

And it’s not just for engagement, either…

According to Yoast, readable content ranks in the long term. 

Brian Dean at Backlinko also confirms that user metrics such as:

  • Bounce rate
  • Dwell time
  • Repeat traffic

All affect rankings. 

Making life tough on readers is not in your best interest.

Teaching my writing pupils how to write concisely is my biggest challenge. 

We writers naturally want to write more, so when we’re forced to write less, we get moody. 

The easiest way to keep things readable (aside from avoiding walls of text) is writing short, simple sentences.

That means:

  • Short: Keep them very short and to the point. Say what you mean in as few words as possible. If you see a sentence starting to run long, break it up into 2.
  • Simple: Use simple words (EX: begin > get started with) and simple grammar. Avoid passive voice, distancing, or complex grammatical constructions. 

Pro Tip: Avoid starting sentences with dependent clauses. Dependent clauses are ideas that don’t form a complete sentence. For example:

Bad: Owing to its vast library of educational videos, Lynda.com is one of the best online learning sites.

Good: Lynda.com is one of the best online learning sites. It’s home to a massive library of educational videos!

The second version is way easier for the human brain to process, helping your readers extract more value, and making reading easier.

#5 – Add a Few Spices to Mix Things Up

Extra-long pieces of content can get boring really quickly (how ironic does this sentence sound in a 2,000 + word piece?)

My trick for keeping readers engaged longer is throwing a lot of pattern interruptions at them. 

I call these content spices — they aren’t necessary, they just make the article taste better.

As a rule of thumb, I throw these in every 300 words or so.

My favorite ones are:

  • Did you know?: Give them a fun fact.
  • Related statistic: “35% of Amazon’s revenue comes from its Recommendation Engine!”
  • Bucket brigades: Little hints in your content about what’s coming later. It’s like when you put (I’ll explain later!) in parenthesis.
  • Jokes in brackets: I love adding my inner monologue into my writing whenever it starts to drag on (kind of like it is right now).
  • Memes: My personal favorite. Nothing wrong with fun memes.

If you learn one thing from this piece, I want it to be this:

High-quality content is all about the reader — NOT just the topic itself. Your aim isn’t only to explain the subject well – that’s just one of the goals. Your main goal is to satisfy your reader and give them MORE than they expected.

Great content is reader-focused.

It matches their level of awareness. It doesn’t waste their time. It offers them benefits and details. It triggers their emotions. It makes their reading experience fun and enjoyable.

You can achieve this by:

  • Telling them all the benefits of the new things they’re learning
  • Adding extra helpful tips and practical advice you discover from research
  • Writing an intro that’s targeted to them and doesn’t waste their time
  • Writing concise sentences, so their reading experience is simplified
  • Adding some fun pattern interruptions, so they don’t get bored (like you probably are now)

Content is NOT A COMMODITY meant to be produced in bulk and sold as cheaply as possible. 

It is a tool for capturing your reader’s attention and growing your business.

I know a lot of you are probably wondering, Does all this stuff really work?”

So that’s why I want to share with you a quick case study on how implementing my system into an article resulted in triple the conversions.

Billiards Niche Site Case Study: Does High-Quality Content Really Work?

Thanks for bearing with me through all that content. 

Now, I want to show you just how powerful implementing these tips can be. 

I repeat, content is NOT just a commodity to be produced in bulk and sold at rock bottom prices. 

It’s a powerful tool that can 2x, 3x, or even 4x earnings on your niche affiliate site. 

Just check out the difference between my articles and the previous fluff on my client’s site:

Affiliate Fluff

All of my articles are earning way more and selling way more products. 

Not trying to brag, just pushing this point home.

OK, so let’s run through a quick case study…

Full disclosure, this article was not about pool cues, but it’s a distant cousin in the same town. 

I can’t actually share the niche, or the site owner will end my life. In the following examples, I’ve changed the product name from the real product to pool cues. 

I’m sure you’ll understand why he doesn’t want his niche revealed.

Let’s get to it…

The Problem

My client had a very common affiliate SEO problem:

His article was ranking #1 for a “buy-ready” key term — “best pool cues for beginners” — but driving very little engagement and earning 0 commissions. 

When you’re ranking for a “buy-ready” key term like that, you should be earning heaps, even with recent Amazon commission cuts.

As soon as I read the article, I realized 3 major issues:

#1) A Bad Intro

Like you read earlier, this intro made the same mistake most intros make: It only talked about billiards cues and why they are good. Something the reader was already aware of. 

Remember, when someone lands on your page, you must convince them to invest their time in your article — not just explain the topic.

#2) Long, Confusing Sentences

Many of the sentences were 2-3 lines long and full of punctuation. They looked a lot like this:

Cue Arsenal

Not too bad, actually, but there’s definitely some room for improvement.

This sentence is very difficult to extract value from. In fact, the reader may have to read it 2 or 3 times to understand it fully. At that point, they’ll probably just start skipping around the page or bouncing altogether. 

You just lost a chance at getting a click because you didn’t grab their attention.

#3) Features Not Benefits

Nobody buys based on logic.

Nobody.

That’s why so many affiliate reviews generate so few sales. Just explaining your product isn’t enough to convince someone to buy it.

Imagine this…

You go to the Maserati dealer to buy your first trophy car. The salesperson waltzes up and starts telling you facts about the sweet ride you’ve been eyeing.

“This car is black.”

“This car has 4 wheels.”

“This car has a 90-degree V8 engine.”

Not very interesting.

His review did the same thing. Here’s what it looked like:

Pool Cue Fluff

Extremely boring, explanatory, and emotionless. 

You need to strike the delicate balance between sales and explanation — it’s difficult but doable (you’ll see how further down).

My 3 + 1 Solution

Now I’m going to show you how implementing the tips you learned above resulted in that beautiful big blue wave from the first image.

#1) I Rewrote the Intro

Instead of just explaining what pool cues did, I wrote an intro that convinced the reader to buy one of the cues in his review by using emotion. 

Here’s how it looked:

Cue Bullets

#2) I Shortened the Sentences (And Added More White Space)

Whenever I saw a long sentence like the one you saw before, I chopped it up into two shorter sentences. This is super easy to do. 

As a rule of thumb, I just kept things to a single complete thought in every sentence except for rare circumstances. This is more art than science, I admit.

From there, I added a lot more white space. I tried to keep paragraphs 2 lines maximum, and I rotated between single sentence paragraphs and double sentence ones. A lot like this image:

Grip Dat Cue

Just to sum it up: Keep things to one line or two lines max. And if you need a longer paragraph, do it sparingly.

#3) Benefits. Benefits. Benefits.

This is key.

When people search for “best” key terms like “best pool cues for beginners”, they’re ready to buy. So you must show them sales copy mixed with regular content, not just explanatory material.

Sales copy requires emotions and energy.

Of course, you don’t want to oversell. You’ll lose credibility if you do that. But you definitely want to crank it up a notch from your typical boring, explanatory content.

Here’s what it looked like before:

Pool Cue Fluff

Notice how there are no benefits and very few details? It just explains what this pool cue is. Nobody is going to buy this.

How does the length and weight of the cue help a beginner? How does the grip help a beginner? Why should I buy this one and not another? (Positioning is so important)

Remember: Any time you state a feature, you must explain HOW this feature benefits the reader. If it’s complicated, you must then back it up with logic and explanation.

Here’s my new version:

Pool Cue Benefits

Am I the next David Ogilvy? No, not even close. Is this a huge improvement? YES.

BONUS – Tell a Story

Just a quick aside…

I love telling stories at the beginning of my reviews. 

Stories are part of the very fabric of human society.

We live in an era of nano-second attention spans, yet the average film is still 90 minutes.

Why?

Because stories enthrall us. They keep our attention. They make us want to find out the resolution.

I implore you to start telling stories about how the products you review helped solve a major issue in your life. How you struggled but then overcame it when you found your products.

I can’t teach you how to write a good story here. 

But I can tell you that all good stories set the scene, involve struggle, and end in triumph (usually).

In this case, I talked about struggling to find a pool cue, losing all the time at the pub, never impressing a date, and just generally being miserable. But that all changed when…

Get the idea?

The Result

After changing the intro, shortening the sentences, writing benefits-driven copy, and adding a story (plus adding some of my spices here and there), we saw some incredible results.

Honestly, I was SHOCKED. 

Rank Boner 2

That’s a tsunami right there! Conversions went from roughly 22% to over 60%!

This isn’t the only time we’ve seen great results from writing entertaining, tight, reader-focused content.

It’s happened over and over again:

Rank Boner 3

If you want results like this, you need to start writing valuable, entertaining, easily digestible content that’s all about the reader and how they benefit from what they’re reading.

Here’s a quick TL;DR

  1. Provide value: Don’t just explain features or facts. Explain how these things benefit the reader. Answer the query and be sure to explain how the reader’s life will improve or what they’ll get.
  2. Research deeply: Learn as much as possible that might help your reader and work it into your articles. Go to Facebook, YouTube, industry forums, Reddit — anywhere.
  3. Write a targeted, convincing intro: Don’t just explain the topic. CONVINCE the reader to read your article using emotion.
  4. Write concise sentences: Keep sentences short and to the point. Keep paragraphs 1 or 2 sentences max. Don’t use complex grammar or long-winded phrases like “due to the fact that.” If occasionally you must, keep it infrequent.
  5. Add some fun spice for pattern interruption: Every 300 words or so, add a fun pattern interruption like a fun fact, fun meme, interesting stat, joke, expert quote, or something like that. It works!

Free Affiliate Product Review Template

I use roughly the same template on all of my product reviews, and it’s led to some awesome results for my clients.

Since your goal is to get someone to buy a product, you’re essentially showing readers a SALES PAGE, NOT a blog article.

Actually, it’s some scary Frankenstein-like hybrid of the two.

So, if your product reviews are intended to make sales, then they ought to look like sales pages. 

Here’s a template for writing killer product copy, even if you aren’t David Ogilvy. I hope this adds rocket fuel to your business.

Drive Link: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YduCRMRuinLYk6agbmD86zuUDQ5COH_5/view?usp=sharing

Good luck, all!

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KEVIN MENGKevin is a copywriter working in the digital marketing industry specializing in product reviews, landing pages, and SEO-related blog content. After 6 years working his way up from entry-level agency writer to partner on successful affiliate sites, all of his content tips and strategies are based on cold hard data from real affiliate sites. His goal is to make the SEO industry realize just how important good content really is and, if you want to start actually making sales, you need to start thinking like a copywriter – not a typical content writer. He recently launched Web Copy Masterclass – a course that teaches just that. When not writing, he spends his free time playing music at open mics around Southern Vietnam and shooting hoops on the beach.

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