Getting a casino website to the top of Google
Let’s get straight to the point. Online gambling is a lucrative business.
Market size is projected to reach 114.4 Billion dollars globally by the year 2028. And the industry has been booming, especially since COVID shut down the world, and made people find new ways of entertainment from their homes.
From the SEO perspective, things are a bit complicated.
Many countries still have restrictions for online gambling, and casino (along with the adult industry) has a bad reputation with search engines. This means that SEO strategy for casinos has to be precise, on-point, and up-to-date with the latest SEO trends.
But there are ways of generating organic traffic for casino websites, and this is our vision on how it could be done.
First of all, the competition in the casino industry is ridiculous. This is what you see when searching for the term “online casino”:
The number of Google results for a basic online casino term
So, about 541 million results for one of the main casino keywords!
Moreover, all the new gambling sites entering the market are immediately competing with established brands, which happen to be some of the richest companies in the world.
SEO agencies also have a tough job because:
With all that being said, why would a casino website even start with SEO?
Well, number one – it’s cheaper than paid advertising. We’re not saying SEO is free, on the contrary. And you shouldn’t completely ignore PPC.
Our general advice is to not get into SEO or PPC if you don’t have money. But if you do, just be aware that paid advertising for a casino website will cost a lot more than for any other industry.
If you decide to go with SEO, here’s one example of its potential.
This is a list of websites occupying top positions in Google for casino keyword “play blackjack online free”:
SERP for a casino-related keyword
There are about 1300 monthly searches for that keyword. And if we know that 27.6% of users click on the first result, that gives us potentially 358 users landing on that page.
And this is an example of only one keyword. So think about all the other casino keywords you could rank for, and potential clients you could attract! All from SEO.
This means no backlinks, no special technical improvements, just content. If entire SEO efforts center only on publishing high-quality, casino-related content, can that website get to the top of Google?
To test this theory, we had to create a new casino project. This was also a good chance to learn more about SEO in the casino industry. Since the project started only a few months ago, we have no results to show (so far), but we’ll update you as soon as we do.
Nonetheless, here are some principles that can be used for new and existing casino websites.
You have to start with a domain. Both new and expired domains are good for casino websites.
If you decide on the expired domain, check its backlink profile and the previous content with Wayback Machine. Also, consider using the disavow file to get rid of all the spammy backlinks generated over the years.
If you’re starting with a fresh domain, think about using the EMD (Exact Match Domain) name, as we did. As seen in my LinkedIn post about EMD domains, this is a much cheaper start to casino SEO than immediately building backlinks.
For example, if your casino domain is www.najboljecasino.com, Google might see it as a brand name, and rank it higher for the main keyword (najbolje casino).
Big casino websites usually won’t bother with low search volume keywords. This is your chance to outrank them, and that is exactly what we’re planning to do.
Just look at these low-volume, low-difficulty keywords:
An example of a possible low search volume casino keywords
What we did is created pages for each casino game, enriched with game descriptions, screenshots, videos, and metadata. We also connected each page (game) with a related game, to improve our internal linking.
An example of a page for a slot game
Also important is that the content was written by a person closely related to the casino industry. Our new associate left his previous casino job (not sure if it’s money-related ) and decided to join our SEO team.
Your writers should be familiar with games, slots, and casino terms, in order to write high-quality pieces of content. Remember, you are fighting with big-league casino websites.
Our casino project is built with WordPress. To save time, we decided to replicate our competitors’ structure, so we took $79 and bought a WordPress theme called Mercury.
The theme is often used by casino and sports betting websites, as it has simple navigation, and eye-catching graphics, and you can get to the games in a click or two.
WP Mercury theme – often used for gambling websites
Any WordPress theme can be adjusted for casino websites, but we decided on Mercury mainly for the great UX.
Content gets you to a certain point in casino SEO, but after that, you have to go for the backlinks. This is the hardest part, especially in Croatia where a lot of websites don’t want to publish casino-related articles.
To show you how hard link building in this niche is, we’ve heard stories about people going to the dark web to get backlinks.
Apparently, there is a black market service where you can pay someone (in cryptocurrency) to hack a website, and add a backlink to your website. We didn’t (and won’t) try this, but it shows what SEOs are willing to do when it comes to casino link building.
Our approach is simpler (and more legal
Increase in referring domains for one of our Croatian casino clients
For PR articles, we contact editors from our database, introduce ourselves as an agency (which we are), and negotiate the price. They usually give us discounts, because we had business with them before, and because we have several websites in need of backlinks.
For guest posts, we write articles about casino games, slots, and sports bets. After that, we contact our regular bloggers to post it on their websites in return for links. These posts are about 500+ words long and cover topics like:
We’ve also expanded our link-building outside the region, so recently a few Romanian casinos have joined our client list.
A combination of new content and backlinks resulted in increased organic traffic for our HR casino client
Other link-building techniques that could work include posting on forums and inserting links in the profile pages. Here’s an example of an account on a sports-related forum, containing a backlink to a casino website.
Another genius casino link-building strategy is by this guy:
This casino site has almost 800 referring domains, some of them from high DA government websites. How exactly did that happen?
Well, the anchor text of a lot of backlinks is “dr.sc”, a short term for academic or professional titles (usually for doctors or scientists).
The website owner probably realized that other sites add a link to that dr.sc text, and decided to purchase the domain, getting himself hundreds of free backlinks to his now casino website.
The website did not have any content before, so he must have bought a domain specifically with backlinks in mind. Pretty clever, right?
We have a few clients from the casino industry. One of them actually owns dozens of casino websites. In his case, our SEO goal is to take over the entire SERP.
That means having all of his websites ranking in the top 10 for specific keywords.
Why would we want to do that?
Well, almost 95% of all users stay on the first page of Google, so imagine the revenue if we managed to occupy all 10 positions.
We plan on doing so by publishing fresh content, along with 15-20 backlinks each month.
The budget is set at 10.000€, giving us some room to achieve that goal.
On the other hand, you have casino websites getting their organic traffic by simply stealing content from others. Like this website – 100% stolen content, but still generating organic traffic.
The question is how long this strategy can work before Google figures out where all that content is originally coming from.
Another casino link-building method we’re trying right now is using an expired domain to generate backlinks for our casino clients.
This is what we did so far:
There is still work to do, but once Google reindexes all pages, and traffic comes back, we’re gonna have another solid DA, niche-related website that can be used for building backlinks
A list of referring domains for our now rebuilt expired domain
Imagine if you could find a hundred websites like this one!
You could rebuild them all for a small amount of money, and then use them for casino link building, or simply wait for the traffic to come back, put AdSense on, and enjoy your passive income.
iGaming or Online gambling refers to online betting on the future outcomes of a game or event. Sports betting, online poker, online casinos, and slots are just some examples of iGambling.
Casino SEO is a process of optimization aimed to increase organic traffic for sites in the iGaming industry such as online casinos, sports betting sites, online lottery sites, and similar.
The shortest answer to this complex question would be to combine quality content and an extremely fast website with great user experience, and a lot of relevant backlinks.
No, it won’t. Every major casino website is using a combination of SEO and PPC to increase the number of users landing on their pages.
If we’re talking about Google Ads, then no, it is not illegal. You can still promote your casino website, but make sure to check their Gambling and Games policy before.