As competition for players continues to grow, developing effective SEO and PPC strategies is becoming ever more important for sportsbooks and affiliates.
Marketing agency Blueclaw, which counts tier one operators and leading affiliates among its client base, will shed some light on how to approach the challenge of improving online visibility and player acquisition at next week’s Betting on Sports Europe – Digital virtual conference and exhibition.
Blueclaw’s experts will deliver a pair of workshops on 22 October, the second day of the event:
- 11:00 BST – How to utilise digital PR and link building to enhance your SEO performance
- 11:45 BST – Automation vs Humans: Which is best to leverage performance from your PPC strategy?
Ahead of the workshops, the presenters – Natalia Sketchley (Online PR Campaign Manager), Jordan Hilliard (Senior SEO Lead), Emilia Lingwood (Paid Media Lead), and Vignesh Jayanth (Senior Data Insights Manager) – gave SBC News some tips on how betting companies can improve their search rankings and ROI from PPC ad campaigns.
SBC: What are the main SEO obstacles that sports betting clients approach Blueclaw about? And are the challenges faced by operators different to those that affiliates have to tackle?
Blueclaw: The SEO obstacles that clients approach us with are often very different to the actual reality they are facing. Often, we’re just approached to solve one problem for them – and that’s usually about building high-quality links to their site through content marketing and PR. However, we wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we didn’t analyse the onsite issues to ensure we are fully realising the impact of link building.
More often than not, we find that both operators and affiliates need to focus on improving the E-A-T (Expertise, Authority & Trust) qualities of their site. However, when you consider the machine learning algorithm aspect of the ranking algorithm, this plays more impact on gaming sites. This is because visitors spend a lot more time on gaming sites than affiliates and Google can distinguish at a higher accuracy the user experience for visitors on gaming sites and will use this data to improve its ability to send visitors to the “best” websites. In summary, operators need to focus on user experience more so than affiliates.
SBC: The first part of Blueclaw’s workshop at Betting on Sports Europe – Digital will look at digital PR; could you explain a little about its role in SEO?
Blueclaw: Digital PR is critical in not only getting the organic backlinks necessary to improve the authority and ranking of the site, but also towards increasing traffic to the site and engagement with your brand overall.
Digital PR also takes a creative approach to not only drive relevant links to the site, but also diversify your backlink profile to keep it healthy. From an SEO standpoint, you don’t just want links from the most relevant sites to your business as it looks questionable. And from a PR standpoint, you want to be tactful with how you reach customers in the other areas of the internet they engage with.
SBC: What steps do gaming companies need to be thinking about now to stay up to date with Google’s ever-evolving algorithms?
Blueclaw: The majority of Google updates, as of late, have been Core Algorithm Updates which do not target a specific industry or factor within the ranking algorithm. They are focused on improving its ability to understand the content and intent of a site, such as the site’s profile.
The gaming industry in particular is synonymous with Google trust issues, due often to poor backlink portfolios and content. The steps that companies in the industry need to take to ensure they stay up to date with Google are to deliver informative, accurate content around games, promotions and reviews, and keep the content regularly updated, whilst working towards improving the trust element of their websites through building authoritative links. In essence, betting and gaming companies need to focus on E-A-T.
SBC: Part two of the workshop will focus on PPC advertising. There’s a perception that PPC is an expensive form of customer acquisition for companies in the gaming industry; is that really the case?
Blueclaw: It’s true that competition is fierce in the sports betting PPC space which means that traffic is expensive, but the competition is equally fierce on the organic SERPs. Building a strong and established brand without the help of PPC (TV advertising, organic rankings, affiliates etc) can often take years and will likely need equally big budgets.
Although CPCs are high, paid search can yield results instantly, meaning that it is a particularly useful tool for brands that are in their early stages. That being said, it is important to know your average customer value and keep this at the forefront of your decisions regarding budget allocation and optimisation.
SBC: How can betting brands achieve greater ROI from their PPC campaigns? Is being creative the key or is technology the answer?
Blueclaw: The key to achieving better ROI is all about testing and experimentation. The offers that you are able to promote (sign-up deposit bonus, match-specific offers etc) are always going to affect your conversion rate, which will have a huge impact on ROI. How well you are able to optimise a campaign will also impact ROI. Successful campaigns need to take into account how well each keyword performs and how each user demographic (age, gender, location, device etc) behaves and adjust bids accordingly.
Experimenting with smart bidding strategies, which will automatically optimise all of these factors for you, massively cuts down on account management time but it’s worth testing against manual bidding to be sure it’s the best option.
It is also worth analysing the quality of customers coming from each channel individually. For example, Microsoft Ads may have a 10% higher cost-per-acquisition (CPA) than Google Ads, but lifetime customer value of players coming through Microsoft Ads may be 30% higher, making it a more profitable channel.
To join Blueclaw’s two-part workshop on Digital PR, SEO and PPC advertising for the betting industry, register for Betting on Sports Europe – Digital for free.