As a gambling SEO and marketer, I do often get tarred with a black hat brush, and I’m not going to lie, if a client wants black hat, then they’ll get black hat. Is that all I do, no. Is this post mostly going to be a bit of a rant to vent my frustrations with the overuse of questions which I answer myself? More than likely.
Myth 1: Everyone in Gambling is Black Hat
It needs to be said that the whole black hat white hat argument is all a load of garbage and really what it comes down to is the goal of a campaign, it is all just about what fits the campaign best. I don’t really care if I upset Google a little, what I care about is getting my client a long term return on investment and that I’m not screwing things up for the user. Black hat/Grey hat/White hat I don’t care how I get it there if it meets the client’s needs the risk to reward ratios are right and I’m not ploughing a useless turd of a site to the top for the sake of some traffic that will never in a million years convert.
If a company wants to build and burn hubs to protect their brand from an unsightly news story quickly whilst they work to rectify the issue long term then a black hat strategy involving burn and churn meets the needs of the client more effectively. If they want to build their main brand domain then this clearly isn’t the case and the smart move is through ethical long term link building. In this regard gambling SEO is absolutely no different than any other form of SEO. The one thing that does change is that things are more competitive and you may find there are more competitors willing to burn and churn for a quick buck as well as a few more willing to try and slap you with some negative SEO (that is where I tend to draw the line).
So my point is that when it comes to dealing with a brand then playing by the book, well mostly we all know the occasional incentivised link happens even if it isn’t outright buying, hell that’s just marketing, show me the old school marketer who hasn’t bribed a journalist?
Myth 2: If the content was good enough people would share/link to it
Ok so, let’s say that you do what Google wants for the most part by creating great content that engages the user. Do you need to pay to seed it? It most cases, yes, not because it isn’t good enough to be naturally shared, in any other industry it probably would be. The problem lies in the fact that when people see a gambling company they get $ signs in their eyes whether the company has big money to play with or not.
This is often the case across many hyper competitive sectors, things don’t just go viral, it needs to reach an audience and quite often you have to pay for this. If I’m paying to seed something to I want a link back to the original source, of course. Technically this could be buying links, but is this sort of marketing different to any other media buying, not really. Is it unethical again, not really.
Myth 3: Everyone else is buying millions of links so I need a massive budget
Generally speaking a lot of the guys in Gambling have actually burned their own domains, so a few good links can go a long way if your strategy is long term.
Myth 4: Shit attracts Shit
Just because you’re in gambling doesn’t mean you have to fall in line with the majority of the sector which is just useless spam clogging the SERPs and not providing any USP in any way. This is particularly important for affiliates who have the flexibility needed for more creative approaches and don’t always have the budgets to simply power through on links. Just because you’re in gambling does not mean you should lump yourself in for a gambling only audience, there is plenty of tie ins to tech, sports, charity and numerous other niches. This is where the smart guys look for their links, not in the overly saturated and spam riddled areas. You don’t always need a great site, just a great piece that justifies the link, you may still have to pay occasionally, but not as much and it makes things look natural.
Myth 5: Gambling SEOs Just Want Quick Cash and Don’t Care About Customer or Client
This is a particularly hurtful myth albeit a common one. A lot of people see SEOs who specialise in these sorts of markets as money hungry black hat bottom feeders who will take your cash as quick as they’ll burn out your website. True you get these guys, but there are more at the other end of the scale. The thing is the gambling industry is the epitome of a boys club and everybody knows everybody. Burn too many people and your gone this is far more the case in this niche than the low end of businesses and campaign sizes where there is essentially an unlimited pool of suckers with no clue about SEO to play with.