The constant changes and developments on the Internet introduce new trends

The constant changes and developments on the Internet introduce new trends, obligating everyone who does business online to keep up with the competition. In order to stay ahead of the race, operators are aware of the need to invest in product development, to deliver advanced technology and to manage effective marketing strategies.

NOWADAYS, as European gaming markets open up to regulation, there is a pressing need to take advantage of the new business opportunities on offer. New businesses must find innovative ways to provide an entertaining gaming experience that is attractive to the player, attends to their local preferences and keeps up with the competition in its local market.

SEO professionals face the challenge of effectively adapting their SEO campaigns to those developments and new advances whilst managing concerns as to whether such progress will affect their page rankings. So, in late 2010, we came up with an innovative idea...

The 'experiment'

We announced an SEO contest for our affiliates for the site, To qualify for the contest, our affiliates had to rank for a certain keyword phrase on Google, 'Win Real Money Playing Online Slots at'. The biggest challenge our participants faced was avoiding over-optimisation, keeping a certain balance while monitoring their search engine rankings. Hundreds of affiliates participated in the competition and. because of this, we managed to reach over one million search results on Google within just two months. Trevor Weir, who won the contest, commented that his strategy "was not try to 'game' Google. Google wants to see a certain thing: you must give unto Cesar what Rome demands."

Although was not optimised for the keyword phrase 'Win Real Money Pkying Online Slots at', the site reached the top three on Google as a result of the SEO contest.

Remarkably, we realised that large sections of the SEO community had finally acknowledged and agreed on two very important and undeniable pieces of evidence on the Google algorithm:

1. Nofollow' affiliate links do pass link juice. The trust and reliance of the domain was tremendously increased by the extensive amount (thousands) of backlinks.

2. That even sites/pages without extensive backlinks can be included in high rankings as long as the content is well optimised.

The explanation

So, how did these sites, without many backlinks, rank well for the competition phrase without external links?

After defining the title and hi tag clearly, the strongest on-page SEO to be done to impress Google is to add the keyword phrase multiple times within the anchor text of the exact page that you want that specific phrase to be found on. This has always been true and at least two examples in this competition prove that easily.

Anyone who knows the basics of search engine optimisation will be aware that linking your site to others is crucial in effective SEO. Most search engines rank sites according to the amount of links created. Google, on the other hand, emphasises on relevancy and quality rather than quantity.

The experience gathered during the contest illustrates that if, for example, 20,000 backlinks were required to achieve a ranking among the top five, then all 20,000 of those backlinks with the exact text that the contest was looking for had to be used. Otherwise, one would have run the risk of over-optimising on the one keyword with unpredictable results on Google's part. This is, Weir quoted, "what a lot of the competitors in the contest did and they reached the top five for a certain period of time before suddenly sinking to positions 40-100."

His winning site,, counted more than 30,000 backlinks prior to the contest. Many of them were not being recognised by Google and Yahoo!, but thanks to his well organised database, he could easily track the real location of those links and by sorting and grouping them, he could quickly see how many links had what kind of anchor text. Using this analysis, he was then able to create a well implemented back-linking strategy relatively simply.

The contest awarded prizes of over Ђ4,600 to the winners and, in addition, allowed the company to achieve an outstanding amount of low cost backlinks, amazing exposure in the online media arena and, most importantly, new affiliates. We managed to increase our site's traffic, maximise revenues and optimise new player acquisitions.

Innovation is one of the core values of this industry, and is certainly at the heart of our own philosophy. What the first SEO contest has shown is that innovation needn't stop with product development; it can go far beyond to online marketing strategies where companies can, as we have demonstrated, build mutually beneficial campaigns with our affiliate partners.
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