A guide to iGaming SEO

With a growing number of online casinos in the market, it has become vital for marketers to know about igaming and casino SEO. iGaming is one of the most competitive fields, including some of the most common niches casinos, sports betting, poker and lotteries. Some think that iGaming, requires a different set of SEO techniques, but the reality is it doesn’t. iGaming SEO is more competitive, and you often have to do much more to close the gap with more established competitors. 

Some SEO think that iGaming has a bad reputation with search engines, but this is not the case. If your site has a poor structure, user experience, bad content and a weak link profile, it won’t rank. 

It is good to keep up-to-date with popular trends in digital marketing, but if the foundations of your SEO campaign are poor, then you'll never stand a chance of ranking.

Due to the competitive and highly lucrative nature of iGaming, there is a need for getting experience advice from SEO professionals to ensure that you can get a return on investment from organic channels.

What’s required in Casino SEO

iGaming SEO is characterised as ultra-competitive, but it uses similar techniques with which you may be familiar. Don’t get me wrong, from a link-building point of you, there is a lot of spam and blackhat link building going on, and it can be tricky to acquire new backlinks, but search engines treat sites equally.

Some SEO professionals prefer to avoid the industry because they perceive it as difficult or involves too many blackhat techniques. However, it isn’t that bad, and it is possible to rank a site in iGaming without huge amounts of link building, as even some of the biggest brands have poor SEO.

Achieving results and delivering results do require extensive research and continuous hard work. It’s not about having the perfect SEO strategy but more about doing the right things and delivering the strategy consistently over time. Remember, SEO is not a quick fix. Although you shouldn’t try and set a time frame on a project as every website is different in iGaming, we tend to look at 12 month period to get a site ranking.

Keyword research

Choosing a list of search terms you want to rank is not straightforward. You need to undertake detailed keyword research to identify potential search queries. Still, it would help to determine which competitors are ranking to narrow down where you can potentially achieve first-page results.

More specifically, you’re looking for sites that rank well but are much weaker than other brands on the first page of SERPs. You then need to look further into other SEO elements, such as content, internal linking, backlinks etc.

Like any industry, site owners want to target the most popular keywords with the largest search volumes but for the reasons stated above, getting them ranked in the search engines is very challenging. You shouldn’t think about outranking the strong, established brands from a starting position. You have to be realistic about the search terms you want to target.

Competitor analysis is a key part of any SEO strategy. As mentioned above, once we’ve identified some potential searches, it is all about reviewing competitors to establish where it’s possible to make gains. When analysing competitors’ sites, we’re looking at key elements of the page such as metadata, content, internal linking, site structure and backlinks, to name a few.

Link building is challenging for Casino or Betting SEO. The main reason is that the industry has fallen into the vicious cycle of buying links from private blog networks (PBNs). Buying links goes against the guidelines of search engines such as Google, but some of the most well-known brands spend six figures each month on new link acquisitions.

Google will reward sites with authoritative and relevant backlinks as they build trust and pass on SEO weight. As a general rule, many in the industry say if you acquire poor quality backlinks, your site won’t rank. Unfortunately, it is not straightforward as many sites have terrible link profiles and can still achieve good results.

We tend to avoid the strategy of acquiring low-quality backlinks, but we also believe that you don’t need thousands of links to rank. We focus on getting everything right on the site and building good quality backlinks from a range of sources consistently over time.

SEO Strategy

To achieve SEO results as a basic plan, you need to consider the following:

Based on the above, you know a little more about what is required, and below, we’ve provided a guide to some techniques that can help you deliver results.

Buy an aged domain

It is advisable to consider buying the old domain to kickstart your SEO campaign because if you find a domain with a strong link profile, you can hit the ground running with your SEO campaign. If you can also find a domain with content that’s targeted toward a specific niche would be even more effective.

A good-aged domain can easily establish your site quickly if it has a good link profile. Ensure the domain was active for several years, indexed, and has links but only a limited number of spammy links.

Take time to undertake detailed keyword research

When doing keyword research for gambling, it is not as simple as using the Google Keyword Tool to identify the most searched terms. You must be very specific in identifying the different phrases and search terms relevant to the business. In conjunction with this, you need to identify where you might be able to garner results where the competition is weaker, and opportunities exist.

Search terms continuously evolve in competitiveness; you must understand what you are targeting and how likely you can achieve results.

Keyword popularity can change over time, and it is also different depending on the regions you’re targeting. For example, in European countries, there are many searches for specific games, whereas, in places like New Zealand and Canada, the focus is on the more premium terms such as online casinos or slots. This behaviour changes as markets evolve, so keeping on top of what users search for is important.

When you gather your keyword research, you can use software to understand search volumes, levels of competition and related paid costs. These will all help you understand the value of keywords. Most keywords are competitive in iGaming, but there are still plenty of nuggets why you can find that will deliver traffic, registrations and deposits.

You must make sure you use and implement keywords naturally on your website, writing informative content that answers the users’ search queries about that search.

Write naturally for the user, including your targeted search terms and try to make sure you cover all of the elements that the user might search for that are relevant to the search term.

The importance of competitor analysis

Reviewing your competitors’ rankings is a vital part of the SEO strategy. This type of analysis is crucial to finding effective opportunities to rank. Without competitor analysis, you’re working in the dark. With each group of search terms and landing pages for which you’re producing content, you should choose the top competitors in your vertical and understand why their pages rank. Look at their content, internal links, external links and where pages are situated within the site’s structure.

Remember that you need to outperform these direct competitors, and you will do this by making sure your pages are stronger. What you shouldn’t do from this start in this niche is to try to rank for the biggest terms as you’re only going to come up against the strongest sites, and it is going to take a long time to achieve this goal. And remember, they are not standing still when it comes to SEO.

The structure of the competitor’s site is really important. Where pages are concerning the index page will play a big part in deciding where a page ranks. Additionally, the content on the page will heavily influence what you do to try and outrank them.

Technical optimisation

We think of technical optimisation as ‘housekeeping’. Its work needs to be done to ensure that the site can be indexed easily by search engines and presents a logically set of pages with a clear goal or objective. Having a well-structured and optimised site will help you rank, and a poorly optimised site will reduce the effectiveness of the site and any optimisation work.

The goal of a campaign is to make (almost) every page a viable ranking page that targets specific searches and keywords in its own right.

You need to decide quickly at the start of an SEO campaign which pages you want to optimise for the relevant terms. You need to optimise each page with those searches in mind for content, metadata and internal linking from other pages.

Make sure to plan your site structure

You will be aware that the user experience and website construction are critical. If a site is poorly constructed, search engines can lose their way when indexing it.

Some problems are very common in Casino SEO, such as the prevalence of orphan pages because they host thousands of games, and it’s tricky to add them all to the navigation, whether at the top level or within categories.

SEO is not an activity you do as a one-off; you need to approach it consistently. Starting with the site structure if you are starting your development journey is important to plan, preferably with the help of an experienced SEO who can ensure that you get the site structure right.

You should focus on creating a well-designed, accessible user interface to ensure a good user experience.

While creating the website’s design, you should pay attention to the page architecture. Remember that the closer a page is to the index page, the more important it is.

In case there are multiple casino games, you should always choose to build a site structure in a way that will help them to understand where to find which games because with thousands to choose from, it can become confusing for users.

To help with internal linking, it pays dividends to consider other slots in your content writing that are similar or within the same series so that you can add internal links effortlessly in the copy.

Add informative content

When creating content for your casino website, you must ensure that it is unique, informative and of good quality. Strong, competitive content will improve your chances of ranking in the SERPs. It won’t guarantee rankings, but it puts you halfway there compared to the competition.

However, you have to ensure that the content adds value to the users and is sound authoritative. You can hire a seasoned casino writer who understands gambling, but how the content is put together depends on the region. In the UK, it is important to keep content factual to ensure no lines are crossed with compliance.

On this note, we’d always advise you to add responsible gambling messages with every content piece.

Your content should be focused and related directly to the site and what it offers. A casino site should include slots, reviews, and landing pages for different games; this will also help users find the games they like more easily. If you provide casino games, you can offer guides that can help users’ chances of winning, such as betting guides to blackjack or roulette. Apart from that, you should always offer content that covers the types of questions your users may have, such as how long withdrawals take. Or an explanation of terms used within site.

High-quality, useful and original content is always the best. Ideally, it’s good enough that others will want to link to it, but it should focus on answering the types of questions that users have about gambling on the site – hopefully, it will help you to rank for some relevant long-tail terms too!

Some of the best content ideas for gambling websites include guides and tutorials, unique opinions, casino reviews, facts, industry trends, relevant information and a lot more that can be valuable for readers.

Create quality backlinks

As I mentioned, link building is vital to the iGaming SEO. High-quality and natural backlinks from authoritative websites will help you get a strong link profile and improve your chances of ranking on the search engine pages.

You should understand that when it comes to link building, quality is always better than quality. A single powerful backlink from any high-end website can be better than having 100 low-quality backlinks.

A good way to acquire natural links is by optimising content that can attract traffic to your website. But without some link-building activity, to be fair, this is easier said than done. If you can produce some great content, it can be something that generates both links and traffic.

Many gambling websites look to take guest post opportunities as this can help to build link weight. Please remember to be balanced in your approach and that buying links goes against Google’s quality guidelines.

Bottom line

A solid SEO strategy is crucial in building an online business, but even more so in the iGaming industry, as the cost of acquiring a player via affiliates, paid search, or other forms of advertising is so high.

Whatever strategy you opt for should focus on different channels. SEO takes time to build, so if you need traffic, you must also consider other routes to traffic, such as paid ads, social media and affiliates. Because of the nature of the sector, they can all be costly, but it’s about getting them all to deliver a return on investment.