While advertising restrictions reach an all-time high across countries and continents, one aspect of marketing has never been in the center of attention, namely SEO (Search Engine Optimization). On the one hand, this is simply due to the fact that SEO is not directly considered advertising; on the other hand, it would be impossible to establish rules since too many factors and parameters influence the ranking of web pages which can, in addition, change easily within a short timeframe.
Especially for less known brands or newcomers, an organic top ranking has, however, a major marketing effect. Around 70% of customers visit the first search result page only, and the mere first five search results account for around 65% of clicks to a website. This is why an elaborated SEO is key. What is more, advertising codes tend to include vague expressions such as “moderate”, “shall not address children”, “shall not create unrealistic expectations”, etc., that can be interpreted the one way or the other, and often lead to fines that are difficult to challenge.
SPECIFICS OF SEO FOR ONLINE GAMBLING
Most companies therefore invest in SEO, and very often even in an entire SEO department, because the increase in ranking for a gambling website has a couple of pitfalls.
a) The search volume for the most prominent keywords such as ‘gambling’, ‘betting’, ‘gaming’ or ‘bets’ is tremendously high, i.e., many compete for short tail keywords. This is especially valid for English, but also for less prominent languages.
b) Betting sites create many pages that are quickly outdated and must be either deleted or redirected. One can compare the challenges with online shops.
c) Many websites look very similar, with similar menus, products and pages, and have little USP apart from varying odds and promos.
d) Off-page SEO such as the generation of high authority backlinks, good reviews, or Social Media feeds with valuable content is more difficult to achieve, since gambling is a delicate product.
So what are the best measures and tools to create this add-on that leads to a better ranking than the one of competitors?
SEO STRATEGIES TO BE CONSIDERED
Now, what is the secret for a good ranking? It is -like in regulation- the right mix of activities. There is one additional element gambling operators have: a detailed KYC. Since companies know their customers pretty well, they are able to deep-dive into their minds and find out the right questions, long-tail keywords, phrases and other semantics that gamblers might look for.
Considering operators know their customers, they can assess their data, communicate with them and find out what they like and dislike. Based on that feedback, they can improve and individualize contents. Also, analyzing direct competitors’ offers, websites and mobile, will do no harm to find out about their weak points and do it better, whether it is about the optimization of meta data (from title tags to meta descriptions, H1 and H2), page structures, graphics, page load times, snippets of products, sitemaps and many more.
CHECKLIST FOR SEO ACTIVITIES
Skimming through many websites, it becomes quickly evident that text is not always king. Exceptions prove the rule, of course. One finds the classic pages such as Help including game rules, Promotions, Responsible Gambling, News, Betting tips or Contact, but covering related topics is still rather rare, as well as game trainings, updates on laws and regulations, or a technology section for instance.
Especially following the unique content update of last year by Google, reviewing the option of additional content could make the difference. Below, one can find a couple of measures that, from a SEO’s perspective, could increase the ranking:
a) Additional content around betting and gambling, including match reports, regulatory info, product innovation, new technologies, video streams, etc.
b) Content creation for Social Media, that goes beyond promotions, sports sponsoring or teasers for betting events, and which is integrated on websites and mobile.
c) Studies, sponsorships or events that tackle side topics, from IT to finance to cyber security.
d) Guest blogging about in-house competences.
e) Review sections on- and off-page (for instance, on Google, Trustpilot, oddspedia, etc.). Videos with authentic feedback can provide for an additional push.
The last point goes hand in hand with a substantial investment in customer support that bets on real people. AI-supported CS may be fancy, but little satisfying so far. There are many other ways to improve the ranking, and every platform and product has slightly different customer profiles, but definitely two ways to score are excellent reviews and additional unique content.
CREATING A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC APPROACH
When it comes to SEO, it is all about putting on the shoes of customers. What do they want? What do they need? How do they want to feel? Those operators who place customers in the center of interest in every aspect may be the ones who will be less and less dependent on classic advertising that is less and less feasible and linked to higher risks.
A lot of money could be shifted towards a sophisticated customer support that picks up clients and accompanies them along the way, towards interesting news with added value, articles and videos that catch the attention, towards ethical sponsorships, research and better protection. Many fines could become obsolete, and also reputation-wise, it could be a win-win situation.