by Guest Author – Ryan Murton
Social media in the iGaming sector is often considered one of the more difficult areas to manage effectively. With the obvious reasons being that people don’t really want to broadcast the fact that they’ve just lost money, or they spend a lot of money on slot machines.
However, this doesn’t hold true across every sector, sportsbook being the notable exception. Bookmakers have an easier time of engaging a social audience due to sport being a much simpler area to incite a passionate response.
The Kings of Social Media
There are of course a couple of brands who really do social media much better than others in iGaming. As some of you may know, I used to work for one. With no bias, it is clear that Paddy Power really does capitalise on this area.
Of course their brand is perfectly positioned as the jokers of the industry, but we can’t always be so lucky as to work on accounts with that sort of presence.
Social is of course a great branding tool, it’s great for CRM, and it can actually drive sign ups, although I wouldn’t ever suggest it should be your primary traffic source. Although out of the five main iGaming sectors (Casino, Poker, Sportsbook, Bingo and Forex) betting does have the easiest time in that it has the most to talk about, Forex again falls into this category in that it has a legitimate tie in to the financial sector. These social campaigns have to be reactive to events, but there is plenty to work with.
But it isn’t all that Simple
Where things get more difficult is in the Bingo and Casino sectors where there simply is not quite as much to talk about unless you are a large brand with a land based presence. In these cases it becomes essential to look for tie-ins as opposed to focusing solely on Bingo or Casino. Larger brands with land based presence have the luxury of relying on customer engagement to keep their accounts looking active, but how do they get people to share their content for the SEO benefit?
So How Can I Get Shares?
Obviously the easy way to do this is incentivising shares with the opportunity to win prizes; this breaks most social media sites Ts& Cs, but doesn’t seem to stop people. Moving on from that, brands have to create something that will actually interest people. Controversy is often the most effective route, but if you don’t see your brand in that light then you really need to create something useful to users, this is difficult in the Bingo and Casino sectors if you stick rigidly to your niche.
Remember “big content” can attract links as well as social noise if you create something outside your niche but with a legitimate tie in you open up a whole new link acquisition channel which in itself adds more value. A hypothetical example could be a map of gambling tourism hotspots with details on the best places to stay, where payouts are highest on average and so on, this could then tie you into the travel sector and engages new audiences and your current one more than another blog post about someone who won a jackpot.
The implications for SEO
The fact is that Google pretty much forces everyone to have a G+ account and to be logged into a Google product (whether that is Gmail, Chrome, Android or one of their other products doesn’t matter). We should also note that users that actually are active on G+ seem to have much higher engagement rates with posted content than what we see on other networks.
Twitter is one of the easier channels for gaming companies to broadcast across, unlike Facebook users don’t tend to see it as quite so personal.
People are generally much more willing to share things on their twitter than their Facebook. The slightly negative issue with Twitter is that based on the Search Metrics dataset taken last year it seems to impact rankings slightly less than Facebook.
Facebook is always going to be a huge factor in social metrics with it being the majority of the western world’s primary social network.
The problem for smaller brands is of course the claims of restrictions that Facebook seems to be putting in place regarding spends required for an iGaming company to even have a page. Not having a page obviously makes curating fans impossible and as such broadcasting on the platform somewhat more difficult. In terms of SEO, Facebook could arguably be the most valuable platform when you take into account that G+ is something of a graveyard in terms of actual active users.
The Future; Social SEO?
The Fact is the future of SEO is Social, it clearly looks suspicious if people are willing to link to you, but not talk about you on social media. Social shouldn’t just be looked at from the perspective of growing your current rankings, but protecting them long term. We saw penguin hit anchor text ratios hard, what if the next update hits social to non-social link ratios? It wouldn’t be hard for Google to work out what is natural in each sector.
Google could make things even more complicated, it could also look to include citation ratios, citations have been used in local search for a long time so we know Google is aware of them. This isn’t so much a problem for large brands which attract them naturally.
However, when running a grey hat link building campaign on a small brand things get tricky. Ratios can easily shift to most mentions of your brand on the web containing links back to your site. Does that look natural? No.