THIS ARTICLE TAKES a look at what some online gambling operators are doing, or not doing, in regards to Search Engine Optimisation

THIS ARTICLE TAKES a look at what some online gambling operators are doing, or not doing, in regards to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and everything else that revolves around traffic generation. For operators, this guide can give them some help on what areas of their marketing they can improve on and get a peek into what their competitors are doing. For affiliates, these tips and examples can be applied to most affiliate sites as well. Last but not least, I have seen both affiliates and operators spend a lot of money on SEO, ranging anywhere from $5,000 to surpassing $100,000, getting questionable advice and some horrible link building practices. These people spend the money not really understanding what they need or what they are buying. The most extreme case I have seen is someone charging exorbitant prices for link building only to find they bought all of their links from; the marketplace where you buy things for $5.

The online gambling industry is, of course, worth a lot of money and some gaming companies have spent a lot on SEO, whether for consulting, content or link building. Obviously, link building has been the main driver of rankings over the past few years, but that shouldn’t be the focus of gaming companies. If it really came down to buying links, then companies like 888 would forever stay in the top ranked positions. That said, this article will look at aspects of SEO that can affect a site like an online casino, poker room or sportsbook, and I will highlight examples of companies that both do it right, and also very wrong.
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As Google’s obsession with link acquisition methods clearly shows, links are still a key component of its ranking algorithm.

After looking at site-related factors, in this next part of our Looking for the Perfect Link series, we will analyse the page-related factors that may influence the final value of a link.

IN THE FIRST INSTALMENT of this article series, we saw how factors like age, incoming and outgoing links and rankings may influence the value passed by the links placed on a certain site. In this issue, we will get one step closer to the actual link, seeing which page-related factors may boost or compromise the ‘SEO value’ passed by a link. Taking such factors into consideration will not only allow you to avoid the pursuit of worthless new links, but also give you some ideas on how to improve the value of the links you have already acquired.


First of all, if you are acquiring links in order for them to influence your organic rankings, you should make sure search engines can see and follow such links. As basic as it sounds, it is not uncommon for link-acquisition deals to be closed by busy webmasters without verifying whether the obtained link will actually pass any ‘link juice”.

The main things to check to ensure that the page linking to you is passing link juice are:

• The linking site’s robots.txt file: access to the page should not be blocked via Disallow directives.
• Page-level META ROBOTS tags: the page should not be completely marked as a NOFOLLOW page.
• Link-level NOFOLLOW attributes: the code of your links should not contain the NOFOLLOW attribute.

After making sure search engines can technically access the page, you should check how often they do actually access it, by verifying the last time Google’s spiders crawled the page. This can be estimated by looking at the date of the ‘cached’ version of the page in Google’s memory (Figure i), viewable by performing a (site:http://www. query in Google and clicking on the cached button as shown in Figure 2. In cases where the date is older than a week or the cached version is not available, this means the page may be in one of Google’s supplemental indexes or is proving hard for Google to reach, and risks not being re-crawled after your link has been placed. To facilitate crawling, I recommend pinging the page URL via Pingomatic1, sharing the page URL on Twitter and Google+ and manually adding the URL via Google’s Submit URL page2.

Page-level semantic proximity

Following the release of Google’s Penguin Update3, the use of keyword-rich anchor texts to add semantic value to links has become extremely risky, to the point that the game is hardly worth the candle. In such condition, what can help you make sure your link passes not only ‘link value’ but also topic-specific relevance is the topic of the page in which your link is placed. For example, placing a link with a natural anchor text, such as ‘click here’ or ‘this site’, will still pass you extra relevance for the ‘poker bonus’ keyword if the page on which the link is placed is titled ‘How to get the best online poker bonuses’ and clearly focuses on the topic of poker bonuses.
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some pointers on how to create your link building roadmap

Phase 1: requirements and planning

What do you want to rank for?
It’s very easy to just go ‘I want to rank for online casino’, but in reality, unless you have truckloads of cash and a good site, or you are a really hard-core spammer, then it’s unlikely you will get into the top five (SERPs) for a huge money phrase. So, it makes sense to just aim lower and go for a niche you know has a decent revenue stream and work it out from there.

The next question is: ‘what’s a good niche?’ In my view, it’s one where revenue per user is good, and competition is low. There are betting phrases you could go for, but the revenue per user for an affiliate is probably only £15 a year, assuming 25 percent commission and gambler losses of, say, /50 to /60 a year.

So for me, sportsbetting isn’t a great place to start. I really like casino, and variations of it. Things like slots, or names of casino games are interesting; not great volume, but nice revenues and a good place to start small and work your way from there.

Casino phrases in the UK should bring you an average of £150 per conversion in affiliate revenue share.
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