Advertising any sort of gambling site online is a tough sell. Google makes casinos and online gambling sites jump through numerous hoops to get listed depending on the eligibility. This makes some online gaming operators turn to Search Engine Optimization as the primary method of driving targeted interest based traffic, users and players.This is easier said than done, but it can be done.
Back in 2014, we were approached by a long-running online bingo and slots company that had dropped down the rankings over the years. They wanted to get back on Google, fix their SEO to receive at least the market share they had back in the days. Frankly, the SEO profile of this site was a mess. It took considerable time, resources, and of course, coffee to fix the underlying problems, but since things are back to normal it’s possible to optimize it further and perform better in search engines competing and winning against competitors.
We want to share some of the things we did so you can assess whether or not your online gambling site might need some SEO tweaks.
Get a link profile
The single biggest thing we had to do first was to clean up the link profile of our client. Every site that links to yours creates something called a backlink. Search engines use backlinks to determine the popularity of a site, but they also use the quality of those other sites to determine the value of the backlink. If the sites linking to your website are low-quality sites or are seen as spam websites by search engines, the backlink is doing more harm than good.
*Note that according to Google you shouldn’t worry about “bad links pointing” to your site unless they are built unnaturally, trying to gamble the algo it uses for sorting sites. That is true in most cases, especially if you have considerable backlink profile of good natural links. A few bad links here and there won’t hurt you. But, but if you have only and only low quality links, think again.
To start working on this problem, you need to get a list of the backlinks for your site. Tools like Majestic and AHREFS can pull this information and deliver reports on the quality of the referring sites. We also ran similar reports on our client’s competitors to see where their links were coming from. Ranking is more than just how good your site looks to the search engines. You also need to look better than the competitors you’re facing on the same keywords.
Use Google’s disavow tool if necessary
Getting a link list like this can be like kicking an anthill. You can turn up quite a lot of surprises. If you discover that you have a lot of negative backlinks, you need to get those websites to remove those links by contacting them. If this isn’t possible, you can tell Google to ignore the backlink by using Google’s disavow tool.
The disavow tool is powerful, but it has some disadvantages. First, it can take several weeks for Google to crawl through your site again and note the backlinks you’ve disavowed. Second, disavowing can hurt your results initially. It’s a lot like demolishing an old building before building a new one. There’s going to be a mess for a while. But starting over like this can be better than adding more backlinks to a poorly-performing site. Using a backlink tool first to gauge quality can help you target the worst offenders.
Check your onpage SEO
The next step after disavowing bad links is to check on page SEO. Put simply, this has two parts. The first part is ensuring your site’s code is easy for search engines to read and delivers the information you want. Many of the free tools at Moz.com can help you analyze your site for this step. For most websites, these fixes are pretty easy for a skilled webmaster or an SEO specialist.
The second part is trickier. Your site design needs to be easy to navigate and make your visitors stick around. Several of Google’s SEO factors involve how customers behave on your website. If they visit a site and jump away quickly, Google will assume that your site isn’t interesting. If your competitor’s websites are more interesting (as measured by longer visit times) in comparison, they will have an advantage. Visitors must be able to find the information they want and stick around to read it. A good SEO company will be able to tell you where improvements can be made in site design to improve a visitor’s experience.
Rebuilding your backlink profile after all this is the most difficult part. Hiring a reputable SEO company at this point will make the process faster. Reputable companies use strategies like guest posting and content creation to encourage the formation of backlinks. This is a slow process, not just for building the links but also to get the search engines to notice the changes. Only a tiny percentage of new sites make it to the first page of Google within a year after their creation. Most are three years or older.
It can be sped up by referring back to those lists of competitor backlinks and figuring out how they got their best backlinks. Did a news site run an article on them? Did a popular blog mention them by name? It could be any number of things and there can be quite a number of surprises, The end goal when rebuilding backlinks is to create a better profile than your competitors.
Our client required ongoing work for nearly two years before we saw a significant spike in results. Part of this was because of how many links we had to disavow, but once a tipping point was reached the site soared. One of the things we noticed was just how many of our client’s competitors also had ugly link profiles. This is why we spent a lot of time disavowing links. Then we saw which of their backlinks were good ones and aimed to get similar or better results.
SEO is a slow process, but it can be done. Good SEO doesn’t just make your site look good to search engines, but it also makes it look good to customers. If visitors see your site’s name popping up on reputable locations they trust, it will make them more likely to convert into paying and playing customers.
About the author:
Chris Hickman is the Founder and CEO at Adficient with 15 years of experience in search marketing and conversion optimization. Since 2006, he founded GetBackonGoogle.com, helping businesses and websites suspended in Adwords to Get Back on Google