Content tips, specifically for online gaming affiliate businesses.

WHEN I TALK ABOUT CONTENT, I mean the stuff the humans can see. Let's be pedantic: titles, words, graphs, images, links; both on your own site and on third-party profiles such as social media.

Here's the thing

Your content serves three broad functions, and should be well-balanced towards all three, which are; readers, relevancy and ranking (the 'new three Rs').

• Readers: should find your content useful, possibly interesting and hopefully memorable (enough to make them want to find you again by name).
• Relevancy: your content is the major relevancy signal, and your chance to show search engine crawlers exactly and explicitly what your site is about.
• Ranking: elements of your content and they way in which it is marked up will be evaluated by components of the search engine's ranking algorithms.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that I have omitted a fourth critical point to good content, which is that it attracts links. That's a topic for another day.

Here's the second thing

More does not mean better. I can ensure that my content is written and marked up so that non-human visitors understand it is about 'bingo' (for example). Now if I make 'bingo' every second, fifth or tenth word, that does not make my content more relevant. It makes it drivel. Quite simply, if you keep the new three Rs in mind and follow some of these five tips below, you will have a solid content strategy - which is one of the foundations of good search engine optimisation.

1. Write for humans first

You want humans to (ultimately) click your affiliate link, therefore, your content needs to be written with humans as the priority.

2. Don't keyword-stuff your headings... this is not 2006!

Headings should be marked up with (heading) tags, with primary heading being the h1, secondary heading h2 and so on.

h1 Nichola Bingo Review /h1 It shouldn't be too much of an effort to ensure your keyword occurs in your h1 as one would naturally tend to headline a piece of content along the crux of the subject matter. Don't, however, 'stuff your keyword into your header by front-loading it unnaturally, or repetitively.

In my experience, the use of keywords in your heading tags is most useful as a relevancy signal, and is, at best, a very weak ranking signal. You will not stand to gain anything by having more h2, h3 tags than the content naturally requires, or by unnatural repetition of the keyword in every single header.

In short:

• You should find your keyword will fit naturally in your . If not, hire a good writer.
• If your keyword is at the start of the heading (i.e. front-loaded), then great; though don't contrive this as there is little to gain.
• If your content requires additional tags and your keyword naturally fits here, then great.

3. Mark up images correctly

If you are using images or tables, you need to ensure that content is also explained to search engines. Images should have both an alt attribute and an image title.

Both elements are intended for humans first, however, Google has confirmed that it primarily uses the alt attribute to ascertain what the image is about. This makes good common sense, if we understand the intended difference between the alt attribute and image title.

• Image title: the label, the overall caption that summarises the image.
• Alt attribute: the alternative information, which will be displayed should the image fail to load, and will be 'read' by assistive technologies.

As an example, if I wanted to optimise a profile page about me for 'UK SEO Consultant' or similar, and I have a portrait on my profile page, my image title could be 'Nichola Stott, Director, theMediaFlow' and the alt attribute could expand 'Portrait of UK SEO Consultant, and Director of theMediaFlow, Nichola Stott'.

4. USP: what is your Unique Selling Point?

Google has made no secret of the fact that it wishes to de-prioritise sites that offer little original content, or little content of additional value to the web. In recent years, changes and tunings to the algorithm have sought to identify other signals such as 'brand strength' and authority (the update commonly known as Vince), or to de-prioritise repetitive or wholesale duplicated content (the update commonly known as MayDay). Whilst many may feel this is a targeted dislike and mission to weed out affiliate sites from the SERPS, to focus on motive is counter-productive. Instead, we need to evolve to our sites' offering so that there is something of original value.

Identify what it is about your site that makes it better and different from your competitors. Do you have the most expansive list of games? The most kick-ass, fun community? The most comprehensive comparison features table?

Know what your content USP is, and leverage this on-site and off-site in your promotional campaigns and social media messaging.

5. Differentiate

All too often, I see cookie cutter affiliate site content that goes like this '[brand name] Poker is a leading Poker site that offers an [exciting/fun/vibrant] in-game atmosphere, with an [attractive/pleasing/bold] UI'.

Every page, about every game on your site becomes substantially similar; which, due to the very nature of competition in this space, means that every affiliate site becomes a clone of the other.

Start again with your site's USP and filter this message down into your content. Think about how different data points can be presented or what types of multi-media or user-generated content you can add into the mix.
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