How much has
iGaming SEO changed
in the last 5 years?
Written by: Carl Hendy | 9th September 2020
I wrote an article (well, more of a slight rant) just over five years ago on “Why SEO in Online Gambling Needs to Improve”, so I thought I would revisit the topic here to see what’s changed.
This post started off as some notes I was making whilst reviewing the iGaming SEO verticals, but I thought I might as well publish my findings. This post is nothing groundbreaking about SEO, but more of a reflection on how the SEO industry may have changed within iGaming. There will be no naming and shaming of brands either. This is not a “How to do iGaming SEO” post. It will not discuss legislative restrictions, or the internal red tape many SEOs find when trying to do their job.
Some larger iGaming brands are able to take advantage of their brand demand and history within Google and get away with some of these bad habits – but imagine how well they could perform without this complacency.
Another reason for the review is that in 2021 Google will introduce a new signal that combines Core Web Vitals with existing signals for page experience. This means that:
- Pages with a poor user experience may not rank as highly in the search results as websites with stronger UX scores.
- While being assessed at a page level, Google have indicated at a roundtable event (not confirmed) that if numerous pages perform poorly, this could have an impact across the site.
- Improving Core Web Vitals won’t help if the page isn’t crawlable, indexable, high quality or a match for user intent.
Keyword Heavy Landing Pages
As per five years ago, one of the most common traits of gambling websites is the use of “keyword landing pages”, or what Google Webmaster Guidelines refer to as “doorway pages”. These pages are often made to drive organic traffic from pages created based on Google Ads keyword score alone. The intent of these pages does not often match what Google is returning in the search results. They are often poorly linked to from the main website, and in some cases totally orphaned. On top of this, they are often inexpertly written by outsourced content operations and have the “magic” 300-350 word count.
Keyword landing pages can still perform well if the intent matches the query, the content is of high quality and written by experts, or other metrics as internal linking and off-page metrics are of a high quality. These pages should add value to users and not exist purely for organic customer acquisition.