Guide: how to write the perfect article for your affiliate website

davids355

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Writing content is not an easy task, it is also fairly subjective as far as the quality of content is concerned. I recently wrote another post here about determining the quality of content - https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/how-to-determine-the-quality-of-content.1226514/ - I was looking for answers in that post and I didn't really find them. As such, I have been thinking recently about what makes a good article.

kmWrksL


Of course there are the obvious things such as formatting, spelling, grammar and readability. These things can all be calculated and measured using tools. But even if an article meets all of those standards, it sounds OK when you read it etc, how do you know that it actually covers a topic comprehensively - especially when its for an affiliate site where perhaps you don't know the topic very well yourself?

After thinking about this quite a bit, I decided that I would try and come up with a sort of template, or a guide, for producing content that is going to be engaging, informative and most importantly cover the topic comprehensively.

oqczirT


This guide is the result. When writing this guide I had in mind the creation of a template that could be given to content writers, however it can also be used for writing your own engaging content.

Step 1: Finding your target keywords
The first step to writing your article is of course to find your primary target keyword. If you have an existing website then you may already have a list of topics on which to write about, but if not then you really need to find appropriate topics that have a reasonable amount of search volume and relatively low competition. These may also be primary target keywords that you are ultimately trying to generate income from, or they may themselves be longtail keywords that you are using to drive traffic and internal link power to your primary target articles.

Either way, you want to make sure you find the write keyword to target before starting your article, otherwise you could be completely wasting your time. There are lots of ways that you can do this - both manually and using tools. However, my favourite method is to use ahrefs and basically spy on your competition to find high search volume, easy to rank keywords.

jfSJHGx


I won't go into the details here as I have already written a guide on doing exactly that, which you can find here - https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/f...ds-from-your-competitors-with-ahrefs.1254011/ - this is just one of many similar guides that you can find on blackhatworld that relate to finding valuable keywords using ahrefs - if you need more information, just search the forum for guides relating to ahrefs and keyword research.

Step 2: Finding 2-3 resources relating to the article
This is basically the initial research for the content. This is where you find out what the topic should cover and what others have written about. Essentially you are fact finding here. To make this research as efficient as possible, search for the chosen keyword(s) on Google and then gather 2-3 URLs that seem to be most relevant. This might be the top 2 or 3 results or it might be sites that appear further down in the listings - it depends which content looks the most comprehensive and engaging.

RxJiG9a


For each URL that you find, read through the article and then make short notes on each post, using bullet points to sumarise the key points raised in each article as well as anything else that seems to be relevant - in particular look out for common topics that are covered across all of the articles as these are likely to be important to the primary topic and recognised as such by search engines.

Step 3: Produce headings and sub-headings based on the initial research
Based on the initial research and the information gathered, put together a list of headings (and sub-headings where relevant) based on the points that need to be covered. This is important because it gives the article structure right from the beginning. Also, as you are deciding on the headings based upon the important points that you discovered in the research stage it will help to keep the content informative and actionable rather than being padded out with chit-chat.

For each heading and sub-heading that you list, include a short paragraph giving a summary of what that part of the article is going to cover.

acqcQ9E


By the end of step 3 you should have a skeleton article that is somewhere between 100-300 words in length and this will form part of your reference when you begin writing the article itself - the headings can be transferred straight into your article and the descriptions that you have written can be your reference point as you begin writing each section of the article.

Step 4: Research and document 2-3 technical points
Based on the headings and short descriptions that you wrote in step 3, think about and document 2-3 points that require factual or technical information. Research these points separately, similar to the way that you researched the initial topic. Make a note of the resource that you found in relation to each point, and also include a short description of the relevant information from that resource.

The information gathered in this stage can be used to form part of the article itself as this helps to ensure that you have well researched and technically relevant information in the article which ultimately adds value for the reader. In addition to this, the resources that you found whilst carrying out this research can be used as live links in the article, again adding value for the reader.

Ensure that the resources used here are not in direct competition with the topic of the article itself as you don't want to be linking out to competitors. However, as you are researching specific technical points within the primary topic, you should find that the sites you come across relate to broader topics rather than being about specifically the topic of your article. This also provides additional value to your content in that you will have a much broader amount of information in your article as you've conducting research that spans a wider area than the specific topic that you are writing about.

To put this into perspective, if you are writing about blue widgets and your research consists of searching on Google for "blue widgets" then you are going to end up with content very similar to everyone else. However, if you research "blue widgets" then you pick out some technical points and perform further (albeit light) research on "widget making machines" and "why the color blue is commonly used for widgets" then you are finding and adding new value to the topic, thus benefiting readers.

Id6uVDk


At the end of this step you now have a skeleton version of your content, you have a few really valuable, well researched, talking points for the article and you have also built up some knowledge of the topic so that you can hopefully write about it, in detail, without much effort.

Just a few more things to do, then we are ready to put the article together.

Step 5: Identify existing content on your website that you can link to, from the new article
This is really important. You don't want to isolate your content from the rest of your site, rather you want to link to existing content on your site, where relevant. This acts as a backlink for existing content - and a super relevant one at that. Internal linking is good for SEO and it helps any link juice to flow through your website. You can also use this effectively if you produce content on LSI terms that are easy to rank (Think KGR keywords) and then link the content to other articles on your site covering more competitive (and lucrative) keywords - this way you are producing your own contextual, relevant links (that come from pages receiving traffic).

Of course, if you have a SILO structure in place then respect that and link only to content that is within the same or adjasent SILO.

You can also look at linking back to this article from other existing articles on your site, using the same principals as above. This has the same benefit in that it helps link juice flow through your website and re-enforces keyword and topic relevance within your sites content.

Step 6: Finding relevant longtail keywords to include within your article
Once again you can use ahrefs for this. Rather than just having your single target keyword, you want to have perhaps 10 or more longtail keywords to go with it - ideally you want easy to rank keywords that will not only generate some traffic themselves but also help to re-enforce the relevance of your article to the primary target keyword and to the broader topic that your article covers.

The easiest way to do this is to use the websites that you found in your initial research (Step 1) and then plug those sites into ahrefs. You can follow my ahrefs guide once again for doing this - https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/f...ds-from-your-competitors-with-ahrefs.1254011/ - but basically, you can find all of the additional keywords that the competition are ranking for. The likelyhood is that they will be ranking for 10-100+ longtail keywords which should further confirm how important this stage is to making your article a success.

Look through the list of keywords that the competition are ranking for and pick out 5-10 of those keywords. Think about the search volume and level of competition of course, but also think about relevance - ultimately you want to make your article as relevant as possible to your primary target keywords so don't just stuff in keywords for the sake of it.

To make it more likely that you'll find longtails that you can actually rank for, you can also look for sites that you are outranking with other existing content on your website - your site needs to be established, and you need to know your competition well in order for this to work but that is why this entire (and lengthy) process is so important because you will get to know all of this additional information which ultimately will help make your site a success.

Step 7: Writing the content - finally!
Finally you have all of the information required to produce a really engaging article. I see a lot of people mentioning that you spend a little while researching content before you get stuck into writing. However, I would argue that it should be the opposite. When writing this guide I spend around 1.5 hours researching the content and covering all of the points mentioned above.

Doing this means that when it comes to writing the article itself, you can actually fly through it, because by the time you have done all of that research you actually know the topic pretty well. You also have lots of aids in place for writing the content - you already have your skeleton article, you have key points to reference and include in each section of the content, you have technical points that you can refer to and you have a fair amount of knowledge on the subject matter.

The article I wrote today, before putting this guide together, ended up being just over 1800 words in length and took around 30 minutes to write thanks to all of the research I had done beforehand.

Step 8: Find 2-3 relevant images and or other media for your content
This is very important and something that I think writers should really include as standard when providing content writing services. You really don't want to publish content on your site without some rich media. Media brings an article to life, makes it easier to read and arguably makes it more engaging.

hU6T9mh


Once your article is complete, scan through it and look for interesting points where an image would be appropriate - the easiest way of doing this is simply to grab an image that is relevant to 2 or 3 of the headings within the article, or even an image that is relevant to one of the longtail keywords that you researched in step 5. Finding images that are really relatable to a specific part of the content also helps to make the article even more relevant to the subject matter as well as being more engaging for the reader.

Add these images in to the content and make sure they are optimized as well - name the image file itself to match one of your longtails or a broad match to your keyword, add your alt tag and so on.

Step 9: Spelling and readability check
Spellchecking your content before publishing is very important and you can also run it through your preferred tool to check for grammar mistakes, readability and so on.

Step 10: Publish your content
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Publish your content, upload your images, make sure you format your headings correctly (H1, H2, H3 etc) and add in any external and internal links as previously discussed.

Step 11: Track and monitor your results
Don't forget to grab all of your keywords - primary and longtail - and add them to your rank tracker so that you can monitor the progress and success of your newly published article.
 
Last edited:
Nice I'll apply to my site and it's nice you laid a good example by applying that when you were writing this detailed guide.

All jokes :D , you are well appreciated
 
Excellent guide. I like that you spend so much time on research before even starting and I think people don't do that enough.

Also, another thing to consider when researching long tail keywords is that Google often ranks sites for a keyword without it being even properly mentioned in the article. For example, if it's a question keyword you could add it to your FAQ and potentially rank above sites that don't properly target that keyword. I've had success with this strategy.
 
Nice I'll apply to my site and it's nice you laid a good example by applying that when you were writing this detailed guide.

All jokes :D , you are well appreciated
step 7 applies to forum posts too ;)

Great guide btw.

you got me there! Might go back and add some images in a while :confused:
 
Nice I'll apply to my site and it's nice you laid a good example by applying that when you were writing this detailed guide.

All jokes :D , you are well appreciated

Thanks.

step 7 applies to forum posts too ;)

Great guide btw.

Thanks for pointing that out, I have added some much needed images to the post now.

Good points/references made, thanks David! :)

Thanks.

Excellent guide. I like that you spend so much time on research before even starting and I think people don't do that enough.

Also, another thing to consider when researching long tail keywords is that Google often ranks sites for a keyword without it being even properly mentioned in the article. For example, if it's a question keyword you could add it to your FAQ and potentially rank above sites that don't properly target that keyword. I've had success with this strategy.

Good point. Thats well worth considering when producing the content. So you could optimize the body of the article for a number of longtails and add additional longtails in places such as the FAQ, image alt tags and so on. As you mentioned, you might then rank for some of those keywords even if they're only mentioned once. I think optimizing the content in this way is also more beneficial as far as the primary keyword optimization is concerned (Rather than, for example, adding the main keyword into all of those locations and over-optimizing the content).

Worth spending 10min...
Thanks, @davids355 for sharing such a comprehensive guide... :)

Thanks, appreciated.
 
@davids355 it seems you have been really busy bui those abs, no wonder guides like this from you have become rarer here, finally a new one and glad it’s here
 
@davids355 Thank you for sharing this in-depth guide really its very helpful for me Thanks :)
 
Great advice and exactly the same way I've been writing my posts for years. However, I'm in the process of testing "condensed" content and how well it can rank.

The research phase is much more intensive and I make a huge list of technical and long tail keywords found with KWE, top 20 meta descriptions and withing top 10 articles.

What I'm looking for are unique keywords that support and add topical relevance for the head term, not just long tail variations. The theory being even short articles can rank high if they contain more authority indicators than other long form articles.

Always good to test new ideas!
 
Writing content is not an easy task, it is also fairly subjective as far as the quality of content is concerned. I recently wrote another post here about determining the quality of content - https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/how-to-determine-the-quality-of-content.1226514/ - I was looking for answers in that post and I didn't really find them. As such, I have been thinking recently about what makes a good article.

kmWrksL


Of course there are the obvious things such as formatting, spelling, grammar and readability. These things can all be calculated and measured using tools. But even if an article meets all of those standards, it sounds OK when you read it etc, how do you know that it actually covers a topic comprehensively - especially when its for an affiliate site where perhaps you don't know the topic very well yourself?

After thinking about this quite a bit, I decided that I would try and come up with a sort of template, or a guide, for producing content that is going to be engaging, informative and most importantly cover the topic comprehensively.

oqczirT


This guide is the result. When writing this guide I had in mind the creation of a template that could be given to content writers, however it can also be used for writing your own engaging content.

Step 1: Finding your target keywords
The first step to writing your article is of course to find your primary target keyword. If you have an existing website then you may already have a list of topics on which to write about, but if not then you really need to find appropriate topics that have a reasonable amount of search volume and relatively low competition. These may also be primary target keywords that you are ultimately trying to generate income from, or they may themselves be longtail keywords that you are using to drive traffic and internal link power to your primary target articles.

Either way, you want to make sure you find the write keyword to target before starting your article, otherwise you could be completely wasting your time. There are lots of ways that you can do this - both manually and using tools. However, my favourite method is to use ahrefs and basically spy on your competition to find high search volume, easy to rank keywords.

jfSJHGx


I won't go into the details here as I have already written a guide on doing exactly that, which you can find here - https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/f...ds-from-your-competitors-with-ahrefs.1254011/ - this is just one of many similar guides that you can find on blackhatworld that relate to finding valuable keywords using ahrefs - if you need more information, just search the forum for guides relating to ahrefs and keyword research.

Step 2: Finding 2-3 resources relating to the article
This is basically the initial research for the content. This is where you find out what the topic should cover and what others have written about. Essentially you are fact finding here. To make this research as efficient as possible, search for the chosen keyword(s) on Google and then gather 2-3 URLs that seem to be most relevant. This might be the top 2 or 3 results or it might be sites that appear further down in the listings - it depends which content looks the most comprehensive and engaging.

RxJiG9a


For each URL that you find, read through the article and then make short notes on each post, using bullet points to sumarise the key points raised in each article as well as anything else that seems to be relevant - in particular look out for common topics that are covered across all of the articles as these are likely to be important to the primary topic and recognised as such by search engines.

Step 3: Produce headings and sub-headings based on the initial research
Based on the initial research and the information gathered, put together a list of headings (and sub-headings where relevant) based on the points that need to be covered. This is important because it gives the article structure right from the beginning. Also, as you are deciding on the headings based upon the important points that you discovered in the research stage it will help to keep the content informative and actionable rather than being padded out with chit-chat.

For each heading and sub-heading that you list, include a short paragraph giving a summary of what that part of the article is going to cover.

acqcQ9E


By the end of step 3 you should have a skeleton article that is somewhere between 100-300 words in length and this will form part of your reference when you begin writing the article itself - the headings can be transferred straight into your article and the descriptions that you have written can be your reference point as you begin writing each section of the article.

Step 4: Research and document 2-3 technical points
Based on the headings and short descriptions that you wrote in step 3, think about and document 2-3 points that require factual or technical information. Research these points separately, similar to the way that you researched the initial topic. Make a note of the resource that you found in relation to each point, and also include a short description of the relevant information from that resource.

The information gathered in this stage can be used to form part of the article itself as this helps to ensure that you have well researched and technically relevant information in the article which ultimately adds value for the reader. In addition to this, the resources that you found whilst carrying out this research can be used as live links in the article, again adding value for the reader.

Ensure that the resources used here are not in direct competition with the topic of the article itself as you don't want to be linking out to competitors. However, as you are researching specific technical points within the primary topic, you should find that the sites you come across relate to broader topics rather than being about specifically the topic of your article. This also provides additional value to your content in that you will have a much broader amount of information in your article as you've conducting research that spans a wider area than the specific topic that you are writing about.

To put this into perspective, if you are writing about blue widgets and your research consists of searching on Google for "blue widgets" then you are going to end up with content very similar to everyone else. However, if you research "blue widgets" then you pick out some technical points and perform further (albeit light) research on "widget making machines" and "why the color blue is commonly used for widgets" then you are finding and adding new value to the topic, thus benefiting readers.

Id6uVDk


At the end of this step you now have a skeleton version of your content, you have a few really valuable, well researched, talking points for the article and you have also built up some knowledge of the topic so that you can hopefully write about it, in detail, without much effort.

Just a few more things to do, then we are ready to put the article together.

Step 5: Identify existing content on your website that you can link to, from the new article
This is really important. You don't want to isolate your content from the rest of your site, rather you want to link to existing content on your site, where relevant. This acts as a backlink for existing content - and a super relevant one at that. Internal linking is good for SEO and it helps any link juice to flow through your website. You can also use this effectively if you produce content on LSI terms that are easy to rank (Think KGR keywords) and then link the content to other articles on your site covering more competitive (and lucrative) keywords - this way you are producing your own contextual, relevant links (that come from pages receiving traffic).

Of course, if you have a SILO structure in place then respect that and link only to content that is within the same or adjasent SILO.

You can also look at linking back to this article from other existing articles on your site, using the same principals as above. This has the same benefit in that it helps link juice flow through your website and re-enforces keyword and topic relevance within your sites content.

Step 6: Finding relevant longtail keywords to include within your article
Once again you can use ahrefs for this. Rather than just having your single target keyword, you want to have perhaps 10 or more longtail keywords to go with it - ideally you want easy to rank keywords that will not only generate some traffic themselves but also help to re-enforce the relevance of your article to the primary target keyword and to the broader topic that your article covers.

The easiest way to do this is to use the websites that you found in your initial research (Step 1) and then plug those sites into ahrefs. You can follow my ahrefs guide once again for doing this - https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/f...ds-from-your-competitors-with-ahrefs.1254011/ - but basically, you can find all of the additional keywords that the competition are ranking for. The likelyhood is that they will be ranking for 10-100+ longtail keywords which should further confirm how important this stage is to making your article a success.

Look through the list of keywords that the competition are ranking for and pick out 5-10 of those keywords. Think about the search volume and level of competition of course, but also think about relevance - ultimately you want to make your article as relevant as possible to your primary target keywords so don't just stuff in keywords for the sake of it.

To make it more likely that you'll find longtails that you can actually rank for, you can also look for sites that you are outranking with other existing content on your website - your site needs to be established, and you need to know your competition well in order for this to work but that is why this entire (and lengthy) process is so important because you will get to know all of this additional information which ultimately will help make your site a success.

Step 7: Writing the content - finally!
Finally you have all of the information required to produce a really engaging article. I see a lot of people mentioning that you spend a little while researching content before you get stuck into writing. However, I would argue that it should be the opposite. When writing this guide I spend around 1.5 hours researching the content and covering all of the points mentioned above.

Doing this means that when it comes to writing the article itself, you can actually fly through it, because by the time you have done all of that research you actually know the topic pretty well. You also have lots of aids in place for writing the content - you already have your skeleton article, you have key points to reference and include in each section of the content, you have technical points that you can refer to and you have a fair amount of knowledge on the subject matter.

The article I wrote today, before putting this guide together, ended up being just over 1800 words in length and took around 30 minutes to write thanks to all of the research I had done beforehand.

Step 8: Find 2-3 relevant images and or other media for your content
This is very important and something that I think writers should really include as standard when providing content writing services. You really don't want to publish content on your site without some rich media. Media brings an article to life, makes it easier to read and arguably makes it more engaging.

hU6T9mh


Once your article is complete, scan through it and look for interesting points where an image would be appropriate - the easiest way of doing this is simply to grab an image that is relevant to 2 or 3 of the headings within the article, or even an image that is relevant to one of the longtail keywords that you researched in step 5. Finding images that are really relatable to a specific part of the content also helps to make the article even more relevant to the subject matter as well as being more engaging for the reader.

Add these images in to the content and make sure they are optimized as well - name the image file itself to match one of your longtails or a broad match to your keyword, add your alt tag and so on.

Step 9: Spelling and readability check
Spellchecking your content before publishing is very important and you can also run it through your preferred tool to check for grammar mistakes, readability and so on.

Step 10: Publish your content
YQ9N3pw


Publish your content, upload your images, make sure you format your headings correctly (H1, H2, H3 etc) and add in any external and internal links as previously discussed.

Step 11: Track and monitor your results
Don't forget to grab all of your keywords - primary and longtail - and add them to your rank tracker so that you can monitor the progress and success of your newly published article.

Another brilliant guide to this amazing forum. Honestly I love this place more and more by the day. To have staff contributing as well as the members is awesome, thank you for this because the timing is brilliant for me.
 
Great advice and exactly the same way I've been writing my posts for years. However, I'm in the process of testing "condensed" content and how well it can rank.

The research phase is much more intensive and I make a huge list of technical and long tail keywords found with KWE, top 20 meta descriptions and withing top 10 articles.

What I'm looking for are unique keywords that support and add topical relevance for the head term, not just long tail variations. The theory being even short articles can rank high if they contain more authority indicators than other long form articles.

Always good to test new ideas!
How many words are your articles? Have you seen any results yet?
 
How many words are your articles? Have you seen any results yet?

The article I wrote today was the first one based on this template. It was 1800 words in length. I’ll update the thread once/if it shows some results.

I know from experience the principals work though - such as including long tails, comprehensively covering the topic and so on; if you don’t do that then you definitely miss out on valuable (and easy to obtain) traffic.

The new thing for me here is trying to capture a successful process and put it into a repeatable format.
 
Woah, really long guide. Thank mate, I'll read this later. Bookmarked!
 
Great advice! I think there are golden nuggets in there for experienced and newbie writers alike.

You mentioned it took you 1.5 hours to research for this post, I'm curious now on how long it took to write? I'm doing everything I can to increase my word count per hour at the moment
 
Great advice! I think there are golden nuggets in there for experienced and newbie writers alike.

You mentioned it took you 1.5 hours to research for this post, I'm curious now on how long it took to write? I'm doing everything I can to increase my word count per hour at the moment

took me around 30 minutes to write the article - a little over 1800 words in length - article flowed easily because I done so much research beforehand.

I was working at a fairly relaxed pace whilst doing the research though and putting a little extra effort in as I was planning on writing this guide afterwards.
 
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