Two of the most popular questions SoftSwiss managers are asked by potential customers are “How to make my online casino competitive?” and “When will my casino start bringing profit?”. Indeed, promoting a newly launched online casino is not a piece of cake. Many traditional channels will not work for online casino promotion. Printed, TV or radio advertising for online gambling marketing are prohibited in many countries, either totally or at least unless you hold a local gambling license, which is not always easy or economically expedient to do.
Of course, we still have other means of promo delivery like Facebook or PPC (paid advertising) in Google, but this raises another known situation: social media traffic oftentimes brings less focused visitors, and PPC not only has many restrictions and complications but can also turn out really costly. This might come off challenging for a young iGaming website with a limited budget.
In this case you need something more stable to promote online casino games, and SEO (search engine optimization) often turns out a viable solution in the casino marketing strategy. SEO is responsible for organic growth of your position in the ranks of search engines, but is arguably one of the most complex and long-term strategies available. Promoting your website in search engines, you work on increasing the traffic and bringing players to the casino. The important thing is, SEO brings really relevant traffic, as it attracts only the audience you are targeting, i.e. those who are ready to start playing.
Hint: Think of your promotion strategy before even starting to invest into an iGaming project. Note that any brick-and-mortar casino experience or non-gambling marketing skills might not be of much help here. Consult a specialist to explain you the specifics of online gambling promotion.
Online casino SEO starts with geographic targeting. It is vital to correctly define the countries or regions your site will be promoted in. After that SEO experts will analyze the demand in the region and create a semantic nucleus consisting of keywords most commonly used in search queries.
Search engines are in a constant quest for more effective ranking algorithms that provide searchers with as relevant information as possible. Sites go up and down the ranks depending on their content accuracy and even the searcher’s attitude. Say, someone looks for a casino with SoftSwiss slots, follows the link, but leaves shortly after glancing through the first page. Google sets a mark and if the situation repeats often, the position goes down as less relevant to what people have been looking for.
This is just a tiny fraction of the bigger picture. Google currently has over 200 parameters to evaluate the website and grade it accordingly. Moreover, search giants are heavily investing into neural networks and machine learning, which means many more parameters and heuristic principles are coming up. Some widespread SEO methods that might have worked 5 years ago become less effective today, and the pace of such transformation will only grow.
Hint: Make sure you have an attractive design, easy navigation and relevant content if you are planning to harvest your traffic from SEO.
Regardless of the above, the core basics of website optimization remain the same. Optimization starts with improving the website HTML code, adjusting the content according to the defined nucleus and adding new pages. After that comes link building – a range of strategies that grow the quality and quality of links to your website.
The role of affiliates
Link building is a relatively straightforward routine for any regular site, but when it comes to iGaming, things get harder. Because of the adult nature of online gambling sites and at times the variable attitude of the society to this kind of entertainment, the selection of resources willing to cooperate is limited to the ones closely connected with this business domain. Thus any newcomer faces a situation when the number of partner sites is limited, but on the other hand, such sites are highly relevant and able to pour quality traffic to the casino.
Naturally, these affiliated resources do not cooperate for free. Due to the high demand for their services, the costs associated might be quite high. Moreover, an affiliate website itself has to comply with Google algorithms and keep “ads-to-content” ratio at a reasonable level in order to reach higher positions. So make sure you cooperate with reputable affiliates since the web is full of low-level resources collecting their own traffic from link farms. Association with partners of this kind will do more harm than good.
In any case, affiliate marketing is by far the most effective method of attracting large amounts of quality traffic fast. It could and should be discussed separately from the general SEO strategy. We have written about affiliate marketing for online casinos in another article.
Hint: Affiliate partners are also interested in quality content on their sites, so sharing info or blogging on their resources will bring extra benefits, besides those brought by banners or direct links.
It is crucial to understand that the SEO effect is not immediate and greatly depends on the number of competitors in the targeted market, on how actively they do SEO, on the domain names you’ve chosen for your online casino, etc. Usually, about 4-6 months is needed for noticeable results.
Rushing with SEO at any cost is not always safe and can have an opposite effect: the website will be downgraded or banned by search engines. The explanation is simple: search engines’ first priority is to serve the most accurate results, and when they suspect someone of manipulating their algorithms in a bid to move up the ranks, the punishment hits hard. That is why it is extremely important that your SEO strategy is set up correctly, with a long-term focus, and lead by professionals.
One of the indisputable advantages that SEO offers is complete transparency and accountancy. From the initial estimate of target traffic to monthly reports on the positions reached and the traffic generated, you get a clear picture of the work performed and the money spent.
Therefore, taking into account a large number of peculiarities, possibilities and hidden risks that online casino SEO incorporates, it’s good to have a trusted partner who knows the job well and can take care of the full cycle of search engine optimization from targeting to the website HTML-code and content optimization to link building. While SEO as a process does not guarantee any certain profit, it ultimately does help make your site more popular and competitive.