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How Wirecutter Created An SEO Moat Through Reviews

Premium Content

It’s not every day you hear news of a product review website selling for $30 million. Yet, that’s how much The New York Times paid for Wirecutter in 2016.

What made The New York Times make such a considerable investment in a site that reviews products?

For starters, Wirecutter tested and reviewed thousands of products from different categories.

Whether it’s headphones…

Wirecutter page for reviews of headphones

Or furniture…

Wirecutter page for reviews of furniture

Or baby and kid stuff…

Wirecutter page for reviews of baby & kid items

Wirecutter reviews anything and everything. And this was something The New York Times wanted to implement across their organization.

These reviews also attract a more-than-decent number of people to the Wirecutter website. Let’s look at the numbers:

  • Ranking for over 6 million keywords
  • Attracting over 10 million in organic traffic
  • A $10.4M traffic value

Here’s a look at their search scorecard.

search scorecard for NYT's Wirecutter section

Impressive, isn’t it?

Even more impressive is that the site isn’t just generating traffic for traffic’s sake. On the contrary, the Wirecutter website contributes to over $150 million in sales, with the site making around 6-10% in affiliate commissions.

This analysis shows how Wirecutter accomplished it all. As you read, you’ll learn how Wirecutter:

  • Creates content that builds its website’s E-A-T factor
  • Uses opinionated content to stand out
  • Makes its product reviews to build authority
  • Matches search intent to dominate the SERP

Let’s dive in.

Sign in to your account.

How Wirecutter Sends the Right Signals to Google’s E-A-T Algorithm

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. 

And it is an essential guideline Google uses to determine whether a piece of content and its creators are of high-enough quality to provide value to readers and thus rank.

Although all websites that aim to rank need to pay attention to Google E-A-T, it’s especially more important for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) sites — that cover financial, health, and legal issues.

Wirecutter falls into the YMYL site category considering that people visit it when looking for products to spend their hard-earned money on.

So how does Wirecutter ensure its content keeps up with E-A-T standards and remains of high authority? 

Let’s find out.

Building E-A-T by Sharing Expert Opinions

One of the most significant differences between Wirecutter and the hundreds of other review sites is that Wirecutter offers an opinion concerning what product its reader should buy.

Here’s why doing so makes sense.

Imagine that you were one of the thousands who Googled “best office chair” at the start of the pandemic as you were trying to set up your home office.

You’ve never bought an office chair before, so it’s not surprising that you don’t know anything about them — other than you need one.

When Google returns the search query, you find yourself looking at ten results that contain a list of chairs to choose from.

Google search engine results page for 'best office chair'

As you click each link, you discover most of them contain a listicle where all the 7, 10, or 12 chairs are the best.

Since you can’t buy ten chairs, these review sites leave you where you started — still confused about what chair to buy for your home office.

However, unlike the rest of the review sites, Wirecutter tells you that the Steelcase Gesture is the best office chair you can buy.

While it might look like they’re sidelining other products, sharing an opinion about what they consider best — through actual testing — makes Wirecutter’s reviews beneficial to its readers.

By singling out a specific product, Wirecutter has already decided for their reader.

However, how do readers know they can trust Wirecutter’s opinion? 

They do, thanks to how Wirecutter’s team writes their reviews and tests products.

 

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