AFFILIATE COACHING CASE STUDY: E-SPORTBETS.ORG


We explain how we analysed the site and find areas for improvement


NOT ALL AFFILIATES I critique are enthusiastic about their topic or eager to pot in the necessary time to fix things. Mitko. the affiliate, explained how long the site has been up and running for, and the nature of the content and the results (which is traffic but no conversions). The website uses the Wordpress content management system (CMS) with a paid theme/ template. Since this is a site focusing on football (soccer) and is a sportsbetting information site, I brought in Dealer Dan from AffihateBible.com, who has more experience in sportsbetting and, later on, Kay Schaefer who is an SEO for ksom.es.

Before we explain how we analysed the site and find areas for improvement, you can hear from Mitko himself on our work: "Before John. Dealer Dan and Kay came along. 1 used to focus mostly on football previews and, although they included betting tips, the sitemap and the keywords targeted mostly visitors that did not care about betting. They literally opened my eyes, and I started focusing more on sportsbook promotions, changing the whole sitemap, and the structure of my posts. We also worked on few design tweaks like the Top i o Sportsbooks widget, plus some inner Knlring. The result? For two years, 1 made almost nothing; very few sign ups, and even less deposits. However, since these guys started helping me, clicks raised, sign-ups started showing... deposits as well."

The information we needed to get started and identify the problems was a sample of Google analytics data plus a bit of stats feedback from the affiliate programs, such as number of impressions, clicks, sign-ups and deposits. We also used dropbox.com cloud storage to share and update files for collaboration. We discussed every aspect of the website and areas to improve including SE0, content strategies, design and conversion.

Before starting on the website, the analytics data showed around 250 visitors per day but we knew this wasn't converting traffic. The site had a PageRank of two and has been running for two years with very consistent blog posts all about football. An established site like this has potential and will respond faster to changes than a newer site or a neglected one. In this critique, we look at every angle of improving the site and I hope you learn something from this that maybe you can apply to your affiliate site as well.

Content strategy and sitemap

After knowing the data of the website both in terms of analytics and in the results of having almost no depositing players, the content strategy was one of the first things that was critiqued. Since this site focuses on a specific niche of football, it makes it easier to make changes quickly as opposed to a generic topic like 'sports'. In reviewing most of the blog posts, the majority were about football match previews, for example Manchester United v Arsenal in the English Premier League, e-sportbets.org would consistently rank high for these searches and generate good traffic from it, but this traffic alone won't do much for conversions.

The solution wasn't to cut any of these previews out but keep them and complement the blog with additional posts related to football, such as football promotions, football news, etc. Basically, the blog wasn't being utilised to its fullest potential. The downside to just having football match previews is that this type of traffic will rarely convert and it is also content that expires very quickly. Once the match is over, the searches tend to stop immediately. That doesn't mean these pages don't have any value, but rather, there are ways of getting more value out of these pages since it is still traffic.

Kay Schaefer's immediate input was to focus more on the niche of football, football promotions, football betting tips and football sportsbooks and where can you bet on the games. This type of information wasn't really organised on the website and most sportsbetting affiliates tend to focus more on the sportsbooks themselves.

We had a few more new pages created and also more reviews of sportsbooks. Now that the blog posts have more diversity, this affiliate has a better chance of pulling in more traffic that can convert better.

On site SEO

The site initially had a good structure for SEO plus good SEO habits like appropriate page titles and descriptions; however, we still produced a list of items that should be fixed. In general, some of these fixes can be very hard to measure whether it is short-term or long-term but, either way, the long-term results will be there.

Duplicate content

The website had a small amount of duplicate content. The homepage listed blog posts that had very long excerpts which were auto-generated with the Wordpress theme. About 100 to 200 words would appear on the homepage and the same content would also appear on the individual blog post. The basic idea is to make sure excerpts are custom written and not reused. It is recommended to keep them to about two sentences but if you start reusing your own content, it is like watering down your website in terms of quality. Although this takes more work in the fine details, it is an easy way to stand out from the competition who don't take the time to prune their website.

H1, H2, H3 Header tags

Most Wordpress themes and also the majority of website coders and designers don't know much about SEO. One common issue with any Wordpress theme is the misuse of Hi, H2 and H3 header tags. The problem on e-sportbets.org is that any widget and sidebar that used the title of that widget would be used with an H2 title like

Football Categories

. Google likes to use these titles as a means to describe the content of your website. If every page uses the same titles then it (Google) is going to have a harder time
identifying the content of your page and will award higher rankings to websites that do make proper use of them. Mitko has some programming skills and easily hacked the theme to make the title look the same but without using the H2 tags.

You can read more about this from Google's SEO guidelines.

Interlinking

Specifically in relation to the blog posts, almost none of them linked to another part of the website; this is one thing most affiliates don't make the best use of. You want to give your users a chance to see something else on the website they might be interested in. So instead of just having a banner to Bet365, you can also have a link to the Bet-365 review where the user might want to read upon the site first before clicking on it. Things like this can be good for the user and can also help your rankings on more pages by giving them a link. Link building doesn't necessarily have to start with other websites and your own site could be your best means.

Link building

We checked the link portfolio at Yahoo! Site Explorer and found the site had a decent number of links to begin with, but we wanted to help diversify the link portfolio and build some stronger ones as well This can be a long process and without overwhelming the affiliate, we kept everything very simple to start.

Participate in affiliate industry forums

A note about participating in forums: you can add your signature to posts but not all affiliates choose to do this for many reasons. If you are going to post in forums with a signature do NOT post just for the sake of link building as it is the fastest way towards getting banned. Read the forums, leam more about the industry and participate when you can.

gpwa.org
casmoaffiliateprograrns.com
pokeraffiliatelistings.com
affihateguarddog.com
gamblingindustryassociation.com
gamblingaffiliateplace.com

Affiliate directories

gpwa.org
casinoaffiliateprograms.com
gafig.com

Social media

The website did make use of Twitter in the past but it was later stopped. We resurrected this along with Facebook since search engines recognise this traffic. These features are easy to automate and can bring in extra traffic. The Google +i feature has also been added.

Conversion

Low conversion on the site can hurt on multiple levels, from lower profits to lower rankings. If your users are leaving quickly. Google might decide not to send further traffic to that page for that keyword. Perhaps the content isn't optimised such that the user can properly scan and read what they really want to see.

Calls-to-action

Most of the blog posts themselves had less calls-to-action and that doesn't mean simply placing a banner on the page as a means to solve the problem. On the blog posts specifically, there were less images, icons and banners but also the location of these items matter greatly. If the user sees too much text and has a hard time scanning, then they might leave the site quickly, which increases your bounce rate. You want to make sure the user is captivated and that they can find even-thing they need on that page. Also, at the end of articles, we suggested ways of keeping that user on the site or in some cases, adding some banners and links to help the user with their next decision.

New sidebar

The old sidebar either contained no sportsbook information or just a basic banner. Since this is a widget and appears on every page, the information that goes here is fairly important. We took down the old banner and replaced it with a section called 'Top 10 Sportsbooks'. In a situation like this, there can be many benefits. Sometimes, too many banners get ignored so having them everywhere doesn't always help. The new section has small icons with the sportsbook link and a bonus. It is easier on the eye and only time will tell if the click through rates and conversion rates will improve. Assuming there is no improvement on this front, we have now helped to list an assortment of sportsbooks that they like and recommend for their users. Since the traffic is worldwide, this gives the players a chance to pick a sportsbook they might recognise in their region, such as Bet365 in the UK, Unibet in Europe, Intertops in America or Ladbrokes in Asia. But the best part of all: more affiliate managers can now offer more to this affiliate to be listed.

Geo targeting

Geo targeting is a future feature we will help to implement on the site. We noticed from the analytics data that the traffic was truly spread over the world despite the site being in English. Here is a breakdown of the countries:
i: UK (30%)
2 USA (10%)
3= Singapore
4 Australia
5: Canada
6 Indonesia
Romania
8 Ireland
9 Malaysia

Just as expected, football is a worldwide sport garnering many searches globally, but every sportsbook has their strong markets and markets where they do not accept players. Later on, the ads can be catered to these markets as well as adjusting the list of sportsbooks presented to those users.

Newsletters

This is more Dealer Dan's area of expertise but most affiliates don't do enough to capture more of their traffic. We helped to add a quick subscribe field which is already collecting emails. Not all users will come back to your site in the same way and by getting subscribers, you connect more with your interested users.

Design

In the future, we will tackle the redesign of the website for the logo, the template and how every page is presented: blog posts, home page, review pages, etc. Starting a project like this requires some reinvestment and we don't want to do this without seeing a bit more revenue come in first.

Conclusion

Overall, we appear to be seeing results very quickly, but this is mainly attributed to the change in content strategy plus the fact that the website has been established for over two years. Over the course of the next three months to a year, we expect this site to challenge for more competitive keywords while increasing traffic and improving the conversion process along the way. In this time, more work will be put into the website as well. There are also many other improvements not discussed here plus many conversations that have taken place to explain the reasoning behind these changes. We believe this affiliate will become successful with a bit of guidance, but the rest comes down to hard work (which this affiliate does).
 
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