EUROPE BY NUMBERS


top-level data for the iGaming markets in France, Italy and the Netherlands


This issue's instalment in the Europe by Numbers series will detail and analyse top-level data for the iGaming markets in France, Italy and the Netherlands. This data is publicly available from Google Insights and Google AdWords and also takes into account information that I come across in my daily activity as an iGaming SEO working across international markets.


IN THE LAST issue, we looked at the UK. Germany. Greece and Spain. This time we're going to focus on France, Italy and the Netherlands. I think it's important to state right now that my area of expertise doesn't extent to iGaming regulation and regional law.

My area of expertise is UK and international iGaming natural search. This expertise will assess the opportunities in these three markets which may influence your affiliate strategy and help you avoid obvious and sometimes costly mistakes.

France

Last month, when we looked at the relative search volume for the major product categories, we used the single keyword translations of the major product litis netting', bingo', 'casino' and "poker'. For this issue's analysis, we're going to add the respective language equivalent to 'online'. The reason for this is simply that the French word for betting' is paris'. Obviously, this would skew the apparent size of the French betting market because it's also the name of the French capital.

Now we have that issue cleared up let's first look at how much search volume there is in France relative to Italy and the Netherlands.

As we can see from Figure 1, France has the greatest demand out of the three territories we're looking at in this issue. Links don't come cheap but given the legal situation in France, there are only a small amount of operators pushing themselves in this market targeting few product verticles, this makes it a great place to get aligned ahead of any regulation that would open this market further.



Let's look at the drop in brand search volume for one major European operator in 2010, following the change in legislation. Figure 2 shows relative search volume in Google.fr for ' Unibet' as a brand search query.

There is an opportunity here if you're prepared to get positioned and hold out for regulatory change. Legislation aside, there's a lot of interest in France for poker, which enjoys more than twice the search volume of casino, with betting coming in at half the volume of casino and a token volume available on bingo. Given the value of casino players and the volumes available for poker, I would be inclined to recommend targeting poker and casino in France (see Figure 3).

Fig 3 - FRANCE

KEYWORD GLOBAL MONTHLY SEARCHES LOCAL MONTHLY SEARCHES
parier en ligne 49500 49500
bingo en ligne 8100 5400
casino en ligne 110000 90500
poker en ligne 246000 201000

Before getting involved in this market, there are a few things you should know about SEO in the French language.

Firstly, the use of accents; Google distinguishes between results and rankings depending on whether an accent was used or not. As such, you really need to decide whether or not to use the accents in your SEO.

Tip: Don't use accents in your on-page or off-page optimisation. Unlike most other languages, which utilise diacritical characters such as Swedish, German or Spanish, French consumers don't use accents when searching on Google. This is actually misreported in the Google AdWords Keyword Tool with local monthly search volumes appearing the same (suggesting that the accented version of a word is searched equally) but this is not true.

This phenomenon led me to believe that Google.fr was ignoring the accent commpletely, however, when searching with and without the accent, there are slightly different results, which suggests Google is behaving normally and all is well (albeit being grossly inaccurate with it's monthly search volume reporting, which one would argue :s normal for Google).

Italy

The Italian market is approximately 20 percent smaller than France. Competition is fierce, and there are many affiliates battling it out with operators, particularly for casino and poker products. Poker is king in Italy, although high player values provide a lucrative opportunity across all products.

Popular sports markets include football, tennis, basketball, even ice hockey and volleyball. As always, don't be fooled by the relatively low search volume on 'scommesse online', Italian for online betting (see Figure 4) as the traffic always comes in through long-tail queries.



While bingo carries significantly larger search volume than it does in France, there's still little activity or aggression in this market. As such, gaining a strong position in Google's Italian index is relatively easy.

Poker and casino are far more of a challenge. Many of the affiliates and operators I speak with have interests in these markets. As such, I'll tell you straight: the competition is tough and only the well funded will survive. My advice is not to gamble your entire SEO budget on Italian poker or casino.

As a scholar of Latin, I find the origins of language quite fascinating. The word 'casino' is, in fact, derived from the Latin word 'casa', 'a house'. Italian is the closest living descendent of the Latin language and, historically, the Italian word 'casino' commonly referred to a house where dancing, drinking or gambling would take place. The word once meant 'summer house' in Italian, although it's dissemination through all romantic languages took the meaning of 'a place of gambling'. It also means 'brothel'.

Given its diverse and colourful usage in Italian, you may want to take Google's reported search volumes for the single keyword 'casino' with a pinch of salt.

Latin etymology aside, it should be noted that the accent is often used in Italian in the following way: 'casino', although, in practice, the accent is often ignored in Italian search queries.

Note: The Italian language isn't isolated to Italy. You may want to keep this in mind when choosing to language or region-target your website. Italian is also widely spoken in Switzerland, Canada, Brazil and the United States.

Fig 4 - ITALIAN

KEYWORD GLOBAL MONTHLY SEARCHES LOCAL MONTHLY SEARCHES

scommesse online 18100 18100
bingo online 450000 27100
online casino 1500000 74000
poker online 1830000 165000

Netherlands

Of the three markets we've covered in mis issue die Netherlands is probably the most appealing for affiliates. The relatively soft entry, and high player values make it quite an exciting opportunity. In the Netherlands, casino is king and quite considerably so, followed by poker and bingo. Once again, don't be fooled by me search volumes for "Online Wedden' the long-tail of sport once again makes for an exciting opportunity.

Note: football, tennis, cricket and rugby are all popular sports markets in the Netherlands.

Netherlands

KEYWORD GLOBAL MONTHLY SEARCHES LOCAL MONTHLY SEARCHES
online wedden 6600 5400
online bingo 450000 9900
online casino 1500000 49500
online poker 1830000 40500

Dutch players are extremely high value and bingo is on the increase. Casino and slots phrases drive significant player values in the Netherlands, however, an evolved market has lead to some expensive link costs due to the larger operators having inflated the market value of text links in their race to dominance. The general reeling that the Dutch market is soft and lucrative has resulted in an influx opportunistic affiliates and operators, and particularly around 'casino' and 'slots'.



Benefits of the prolific use of English

I've found that Google Chrome's auto-translate feature coupled with the widespread use of English among Dutch webmasters makes it far easier to work link deals without the requirement for native Dutch speakers. That said, it's always better to use native speakers if you have the option.

The Dutch language takes its influences from English and German, being a descendent of the Germanic language with many words borrowed from English. So always check the local search volumes before picking your target keyword in Dutch. You'll be surprised how often the English word is the most commonly used.

Battlefield Summary and #BAClink hashtag

There are a number of potential battles to be fought. You should always do your own careful due diligence before engaging in any campaign.

Each of these countries carries its own opportunities and threats, so always play to your own strengths and your competitor's weaknesses and form alliances where possible. Remember: collaboration is programmed into all living things on a cellular level.

At the recent Barcelona Affiliate Conference, I launched the #BAClink hashtag as a way for affiliates to collaborate and reciprocate links. I strongly advise using this as a method for collaboration.
Just tweet the products and territories where you have affiliate websites, along with #BAClink and share the love. (Only your money sites, no artificially inflated PR or link farms. Let's keep this pure!)

Remember...
• Don't let your quest for perfection get in the way of progress.
• If you see a Guru in the road, turn and run the other way.
 
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