How can your casino brand
win with SEO?
We’ll start by saying that the content of this article is relevant to all casino brands including the goliaths of igaming. Our analysis of top brands reveals significant room for improvement in optimisation with many basic and best practice techniques being ignored across the industry.
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The unfair advantage in Casino SEO
The big casinos and betting sites have an advantage in SEO due to the brand recognition they earn as a result of their sizeable and extensive marketing investment. This leads to large volumes of brand searches by users, the search engines recognise this trust factor and they usually go on to benefit from strong and consistent organic rankings.
So how can an independent or smaller-scale casino operators compete with that?
The good news is that you can through SEO. The difference being is that unlike the brands who are getting the benefit of the doubt from search engines due to large volumes of brand searches, you have to earn your place at the table by doing everything right. That everything is of course on-page SEO.
For us on-page SEO is the cornerstone of what we do and how achieve growth and consistent rankings for our clients. Our analysis takes a holistic view of a website analysing content, coding and site structure to provide recommendations that help clients to achieve best practice and the opportunity for success.
There are many different platforms and software providers in igaming and what we find, in general, are solutions that are inflexible and difficult to work with from an SEO perspective. What is interesting, to us at least, is that this very reminiscent of the eCommerce market from 10 years ago. We have no doubt this will quickly change as owners and operators mature and demand much more from their platforms. But at the moment we have to work with what we’ve got.
Technical SEO Audit
Within the first couple of months of an SEO campaign we complete our technical audit which, more often than not, is a tome of 100 pages of guidelines, recommendations and errors. Some issues are easy to fix, others take time and investment but the organic gains that we’ve seen from clients who start to implement changes have been great.
So what common things do we find?
A few things in no particular order...
As most who’ve read anything about SEO will know having duplicate content on your site is going to have a negative impact on rankings or hinder a site’s ability to rank. Yet iGaming is a sector where we find this time and again. Particularly on slot game descriptions where an operator has multiple domains with the same games and just duplicates the content across all sites.
Title tags are an SEO basic yet we find all too common that this key element has not been addressed in any way. Either the brand name is displayed throughout the site or we find the page URL. It’s always been a key signal to help search engines identify what is on a page and this isn’t changing anytime soon.
A lack of good quality content
Remember when you’re not Paddypower or SkyVegas you’ve got to do things differently. You need to build a hub of good quality content that will build strength into your site and your important category pages. This can be themed, informational or event driven but it must be unique, optimised and on your site; not on a sub-domain or separate blog.
Key landing pages
We’ve worked with platforms where key landing pages can’t be indexed by search engines, such as slots or casino pages. You’re going to find it very difficult to rank for slots unless you have a landing page for it. Additionally, these pages need to be well optimised and contain unique content to strengthen the pages and give them the opportunity to rank.
Online casinos sometimes don’t follow a typical site structure due to platform constraints or from a UX point of view. This makes sitemaps more important than ever as you want the search engines to be able to find and index all of your pages. They must always be kept up-to-date as new slots will be added frequently and old slots removed.
These are pages with little or no content, which a search engine can ignore and thus hindering the sites ability to rank. The number of thin pages should be minimised, and any pages that you’d like users to find should contain unique and relevant content.
Does Size Matter?
In iGaming at present we can honestly say that size doesn’t necessarily matter as we’ve achieved results for smaller operators that has led to bigger brands asking some serious questions of their SEO agencies. What it does take though is a clear strategy, investment, time (6-12 months) and a little bit of patience. What we do works.