Let’s be straight-up about this: link-building game for the casino and sportsbook niche is one of the toughest nuts to crack.
It’s no easy ride and one of the reasons that most affiliate sites and online casinos are – to put it nicely – failing miserably at the art of building high-quality casino backlinks.
Sportsbook operators are no different. Backlinking for iGaming, by the very nature of the industry, is a complicated beast, yet a creature that can nonetheless be tamed. With the combination of the newest Google page experience signals, the importance of backlinking has just been supercharged.
Before we dive into the world of best backlinking strategies, let’s take a look at this summary video first:
What is a Backlink?
“I’m a friend of Dave,” the classic line that has gotten many a university student into a house party. A backlink is similar, but with a Google theme. Backlinking is the equivalent of a website vouching for you.
By hosting content, usually a blog spot, with a link to your site, it’s telling Google: “Hey, this dude [website] is my bro [legitimate], let him join the party to chug luke-warm beer from a keg [rank higher on Google].”
In simpler words, a backlink is a link from one website directed to another website. The larger number of sites with links pointing towards your website will strengthen your site’s integrity and lead to higher indexing.
And the best part? No university-era hangovers.
Why is Link-Building Important for iGaming Operators?
Running a Google search on “best online casinos uk” presents not a single page one result for an actual online casino operator. Every result is dominated by affiliate sites.
What does this mean? Well, that casinos are relying far too heavily upon affiliate referrals rather than direct signups. Online casinos and sportsbooks: it’s time to raise your link-building game.
As the iGaming industry is a purely 100% internet-based one, a sturdy link-building strategy is essential and definitely worth the effort, especially for these types of iGaming businesses:
- Online Casinos and Sportsbooks
- Affiliate sites
- iGaming forums such as AskGamblers
- SEO and content services for the iGaming industry
- Digital marketing and translation services
So, whichever category your business falls into, the question of “Why is link-building important for the iGaming industry?” can be answered with graceful ease: no one’s really doing it that well right now.
Most affiliate sites are still overly concerned with shoehorning in as many keywords into content as possible, while online casinos are focussed on doing the same but with landing pages and game descriptions.
Backlinking is a ranking factor that is all too often overlooked by the industry or done poorly. Due to the fact that many iGaming sites are still flailing in an SEO vortex, there’s never been a better time to focus on link-building strategies for your iGaming business.
High-Quality vs. Low-Quality Backlinks
To skip back to our party analogy, the difference between a high-quality backlink and a low-quality backlink is the distinction between our good friend Dave vouching for us and, say, the nerdy, unpopular kid that sits picking his nose in math class.
While it does seem a little unfair to equate a low-quality backlink with a geeky student partial to unsanitary nasal habits, it’s an image that will hopefully stick.
How to Build High-Quality Casino Backlinks
The best practices for casino backlinks start with learning how to create an iGaming backlinking strategy that is suitable for your enterprise.
We’ll explore the most appropriate approach to link-building so your business can flourish in the world of high-quality backlinking.
There are a bunch of SEO tools on the market that attempt to assign an authority metric to any given website. Website authority is determined by different signals that assure a website is an authoritative source.
It’s important to remember that not all links are created equally. Google algorithms are constantly evolving to accommodate links in varying ways. Google bots understand the value of an iGaming website and will classify the link pointing to your website accordingly.
Wikipedia is considered a low-authority site due to the opinion-based nature of the website and having a “nofollow” link, even though it’s a trusted source of information for billions.
Takeaway: sites with massive amounts of traffic don’t always equate to a source for high-quality backlinks.
The Relevance of the Page
The first aspect every iGaming marketing node should think of is its audience. Have a ponder about what kind of pages will be relevant to your audience:
- What kind of topics do they enjoy reading up on?
- Which article would have them hitting their browser bookmark button faster than a poker player raking in the pot after a cheeky outdraw?
Once you’ve identified this element, you’ve done most of the leg work of exactly where content should be linking to your site from.
Game guides, strategy pages, odds tipping websites would all be fair game for placing your content on, depending on which corner of the demographic your website is actively seeking.
Just as important as page relevance, topical relevance relates to your pages and the content that displays on your very own iGaming website.
The simple rule is to always stay super focused on iGaming and explore every possible nook and cranny. Ask yourself: what content can I publish that no one else is?
Try to find an angle and work this to your advantage. The niche of iGaming is a great one to explore different fields such as personal gambling experiences, statistical data, legislation, emerging markets, and new game variants, to name but a few.
The aforementioned list is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg and there are countless content avenues to explore, get lost in, and find yourself in once again.
On-site operator blogging is pretty much dominated by 888.com, while most other operators are kicking back and letting affiliate sites do most of the leg work for them.
Type of Linking Page
Variety is the spice of life, as it is the best approach to spicing up your backlinking game.
Link diversity plays a crucial role in strengthening ranking. Whether your links come from an affiliate site, a chat site, a forum, an iGaming news site, or a blog will all be in play. Getting links from the same kind of sites continuously will harm SERP positioning.
This could very well be one of the main reasons that casino operators fail to rank well: all of the links pointing to their site come from one and only one source – affiliate sites.
Also known as link equity, the authority your backlink carries will influence the power of your backlinks.
Link authority can be viewed as a mash-up of the previously mentioned elements that carry backlinking weight. Page relevance, the type of linking page, topical relevance, and diversity will unify and power your backlinks.
These signals are so numerous that they could number into the thousands, each carrying a certain weight of their own and each with their own influence on results.
It’s kind of like baking the perfect backlinking cake – a sprinkling of diversity here, an extra pinch of page type there, and the decision to leave your backlinking cake in the oven for the correct length of time will all influence your backlinking results.
Best Practices for Casino Backlinks
Now that we know how to create high-quality casino backlinks, what’s the best way to implement these genius backlinking strategies?
It’s all about how you apply these strategies as backlinks are one of the keys to ranking higher on Google as an iGaming operator or casino affiliate.
1. Create Content That’s Shareable
Social media is a great place to start when it comes to backlinking. You can share your own content yourself, and your followers on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook will hopefully reshare your content to an even wider audience – if it’s good.
Humour is a brilliant approach, as are pop culture references and funny memes.
2. Get Busy with Guest Posts
Write guest posts that can be hosted on a wide range of industry-relevant websites. You can include links to your website in the body copy and also in the bio.
If you don’t have the time, energy, or skills to write top-notch content, hire a ghostwriter to knock your guest post out of the park. Just ensure your writer has deep knowledge of iGaming and can provide an insightful take on a chosen casino or sportsbook topic.
It’s all about looking at a subject from a unique angle.
3. Network Online
Well, it’s easier and more convenient than attending conventions.
Nurturing connections within the iGaming content world is a great way of encouraging professional relationships and boosting the potential for affiliate sites or casino operators to notice your talent.
A strong contact made while networking could bag you a guest post on a well-known blog, mutually share content via social media, and direct backlinking with someone you form a strong professional relationship with.
4. Link from Casino Podcasts or Videos
Podcasts are great. While miles away from the typical best on-page iGaming SEO techniques, they’re perfect for listening to (or watching) when you don’t fancy picking up a book or reading an online article about the trade.
They also come with show notes – another superb way of linking from the podcast and videos (both from different platforms respectively) to your website. This also strengthens your overall backlinking strategy with some good old-fashioned diversity.
Best practices for casino backlinks have very little to do with the traditional model of online casino affiliate marketing.
The traditional model of lead generation via casino affiliate sites could very well be outmoded soon if operators don’t pull up their socks with regards to SEO practices, rather than letting affiliate sites fight it out in the online casino amphitheater.
While affiliate sites are dominating search results via keyword strategies, the approach applied to backlinking could be done much better.
And as for our fellow casino operators, there is no better time to get a head start with creating an intensive backlinking strategy, just in case the bottom does fall out of affiliate sites, or they need to make enormous legislative changes to accommodate local authorities.
As the classic saying goes: don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Nevermore is this truer than when creating a strategy incorporating best practices for casino backlinks.
How did you like May Thawdar Oo’s blog post “How to Create High-Quality Backlinks for the iGaming Industry”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂