As our Rigorous Review contest launches today, you may be interested in knowing what it takes to write a winning review- not just one that has a better shot at winning a contest prize, but one that has good chances of seeing long-term success via search engines and social media.

Throughout the month of November, we will be sharing advice on writing great reviews of products, places, and services, though just by looking at our judging criteria for this month’s contest, you will discover certain elements that will help your Hubs along:

  • The positioning and use of the Ratings Capsule
  • The search friendliness of the Hub’s title, and ability of the title to compete with dominant review sites (Amazon, Yelp, etc.)
  • The usefulness of the review (whether or not the reviewer mentions both upsides and downsides of the product/place/service, the extent to which the reviewer delves into specific details like detailed features, prices, ease of use, a pleasant customer experience, etc.)
  • Whether the review is genuine (whether or not the reviewer has actually purchased the product or service, or has actually visited the place, as evidenced by original photos and video and firsthand accounts)
  • The presence and quality of original photos and video
  • Whether the entry is on a long-tail, niche topic that has not been extensively covered online (e.g. is not an iPhone review)
  • Whether the entry has a search-friendly title (mirrors common search terms)
  • Excellent writing (proper use of grammar, capitalization, etc.)
  • Uniqueness of the entry (that it is not copied or paraphrased from elsewhere online, full of details, examples, names, and figures)
  • Attractive formatting (avoidance of excessive link, eBay, or Amazon capsule clutter, excessive bolding or italics, and all-caps)
  • Judicious use of relevant capsules (original photos, video, maps, tables, links, etc.)

Indeed, using the HubPages Ratings Capsule give your Hubs star ratings that show up in search results, which can make these Hubs more compelling than their competition. Search-friendly titles are of course essential when it comes to a Hub being found through search results, and the utility of a Hub plays a crucial role in determining whether or not it ranks well in those results.

The authenticity of a review is also crucial when it comes to long-term success. Because the Internet is flooded with reviews of products that have been written by people who have clearly never purchased them, reviews of products written by actual owners- people who have tried and tested them, and who have real stories and experiences and images to share- are all the more valuable and likely to succeed.

Reviews that are well-written, attractively-formatted, and that feature relevant (and hopefully original) images, video, and other relevant media (e.g. tables summarizing prices and features) also have a greater shot at success because they include more concrete information that can help potential buyers make educated decisions.

We put a lot of thought into our judging criteria for each contest and try to make these challenges into learning experiences that can leave you both a winner and a stronger Hubber.

Even if you don’t participate in November’s contest, you can still learn a lot about writing online reviews from this month’s blog series. Stay tuned!

P.S. Before entering in the contest, be sure to read the contest rules and qualifying requirements on our official contest page.

Posted by:HubPages Admin

7 replies on “How to Write a Winning Review

  1. So who will be judging the contest this time? Hopefully not the AP mentors as we’ve already observed how this worked out before.


  2. It certainly seems like a good idea. I do agree with you that there has to be some way to limit bad reviews. It will be really interesting to see which type of review wins.

  3. Never mind answering my question as the results of the first few daily winners tell me everything I need to know. LOL!


    1. Those are selected by judges, and they consist of HubPages staff. I assure you, Randy, that we do not take Apprenticeship status into account. We judge strictly based on our judging criteria (which is why we made it so explicit).

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