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 -PART I-
Introduction to SEO and Search Engine Marketing

 
In the next three days we want to bring the InfoPlay reader closer to an important and increasingly outstanding reality in marketing investment by online gambling operators: positioning in Google (SEO). Although the ultimate objective will be to deduce if this form of advertising will be the most benefited after the publication of the Royal Decree on Advertising, in our journey through the issue of SEO and search engine marketing we will deal in depth with issues of maximum scope, starting today Monday with a introductory approach for the uninitiated.
INFOPLAY |
By way of introduction and as a prelude to the two main content blocks of what will be our approach to SEO and everything related to marketing and advertising aimed at search engines (Google), we consider a first article necessary for the reader unfamiliar with these topics.

In this one we will explain -among many other things- what SEO is, the difference between SEO and SEM or the proven convenience and usefulness of investing in SEO to get internet users to know our brand, find our services and, finally become customers. To finally focus on the reality of SEO in the online gaming sector.
  • What is SEO?
In short, “Search Engine Optimization” or SEO is the art of improving the visibility of a web page in the results that appear in search engines such as Google.

  • Why is SEO necessary?
The web pages that are not visible in the first positions of the search results in Google, hardly generate interest - they do not get visits - among the people who make inquiries in Google. Normally, potential consumers of a product or service are explicitly looking for information in the search engine. Without a correct policy and investment in SEO; millions of web pages go unnoticed.

  • What is the SEM?
The "Search Engine Marketing" (SEM) or Marketing in Search Engines is the strategy that consists of placing paid ads by the advertiser in the space that occupy the first positions of the searches in Google.

  • Difference between SEO and SEM
Unlike the SEO strategy; which tends to focus on creating quality content content in order to appear as high as possible in Google, the SEM is therefore based on the payment by the advertiser for appearing in search engines. And for this, there is Google Ads, formerly known as Google Adwords.

Google Ads is very much the huge 100% Google-centric marketplace where businesses pay to have their products and services visible via sponsored links at the top of a search results page, based on keywords and topics relevant to your potential clients.

In any case, analyzing the keywords and topics that interest our audience is essential both at the SEO level and at the SEM level. From now on in this and the next two articles that we will publish on this topic, we will focus almost exclusively on SEO. Although when we deal with the reality of the battle of operators in Spain to achieve visibility in Google, we will also deal with the enormous competition that exists also at the SEM level, with operators that get to position themselves through paid ads in searches that explicitly refer to another operator or to a topic or keyword that "naturally" should be associated with a competitor. For example, when, through a search related to Casino Madrid, an online competitor such as 888.es, PokerStars.es or William Hill.es gets the first positions in Google thanks to its ads through Google Ads.

  • The beginnings of SEO and Online Gaming
As for many other sectors, for the Gaming Industry, SEO is a form of marketing or advertising that is used to gain traffic by making the website of the operator in question visible in the search engine results through organic techniques.

So we should forget about advertising in Google Ads for now (which we have already cataloged as part of the SEM) and pay attention to that expression of "organic techniques", which basically means using natural ways to improve the visibility of the website.

Unfortunately, the gaming industry, which was one of the pioneers in the early days of the Internet, was also a pioneer in the use of bad practices that at that time were widespread in the advertising strategy of many online businesses. It was the time of the so-called "black hat" (black hat). This is how the deceptive techniques that many websites used to obtain the highest positions in Google are known, to the detriment of the usefulness for the user.

A reality that today is much less present since search engines such as Google have been prioritizing changes in the way a web page is valued for years, achieving that - specifically in the gaming sector - operators and web pages in first positions are those that really have a more remarkable content, as well as a good strategy and investment in SEO.

However, in the years prior to the regulated market in Spain (2006-2012), black hat strategies turned affiliate networks and the operators themselves into the great dominators of advertising in the sector and the strategy for acquiring companies. Online gambling rooms received a large part of their clients through an SEO channel totally focused on techniques such as abusively inserting keywords into the content or creating a totally massive link strategy in which any content was good for promoting web pages.

  • The present of SEO in online gaming
However, especially after the 2012 regulation and the obvious improvements by Google when it comes to detecting content that does not provide usefulness to the user (and obviously coinciding with the improvement of its pay-per-click positioning systems), the top positions of Google in countries like Spain usually show a fairly objective reality with relevant operators in their first positions.
  • Why is SEO essential in online gaming?
In addition to the obvious reason that it is on the internet where it is played, not only the advertising channel, since the beginning of the online game the natural positioning in google is the most direct and fastest way to get a potentially interested client. That a player who has googled "how to win at online roulette" is synonymous with a potential customer who will not need much effort to become a roulette player once he has registered with the operator. In this way, an extremely high quality of customer is the prize that the operators that lead the first positions of searches in Googlr get.

So first of all; In such a tough market, investing in Google will allow the operator - literally - to be ahead of the competition. In fact, the analysis of the performance and the strategy of the competitors is one of the priorities of the SEO departments of the operators, something that Google itself encourages through the use of tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

But also, a good SEO strategy allows you to improve the user experience. And it is that Google since the last years prioritizes the positioning of content that is useful and that adds value to the client: if the web pages of online gambling operators are now clearer and more transparent, it is largely due to their need to prioritize the usability demanded by Google. And it is that SEO and user experience go hand in hand.

One of the present and future trends that all experts anticipate is that positioning should not focus only on the search engine itself, but on the user himself; being the ultimate objective of Google that its search engine shows in the first positions really useful and relevant web pages for the user.

In addition, SEO is a fundamental part of building a brand and taking advantage of Content Marketing. Investing in SEO is synonymous with avoiding being seen as spam or wild advertising. That is why while the operator invests in being well positioned, it is obliged to have its own sources of quality content, which reflect the end customer who can be trusted and who is a credible operator.

  • The current SEO challenges for online gambling operators
Among the challenges of current SEO for operators is having an increasingly powerful specific department that puts all its efforts to update the ever-changing techniques and strategies that Google stars in. Quick results at the level of positioning do not usually work, and being well positioned in Google requires years of hard work by highly specialized professionals.
In the same way, avoiding irrelevant content and meaningless mass advertising is a new reality demanded by potential users, who tend to reject the aggressive advertising that characterized the sector for years.

And as we have already mentioned, the optimization of the web, its better structure, a better loading time and a fully implemented mobile version are positive consequences that have been marked by SEO. Among these changes, a special mention deserves the increasing importance of social networks, influencers and fighting for the presence in web directories that give relevance to the brand ...

Although, as we will see in the next two articles in this SPECIAL, SEO challenges will also be marked by realities related to the legal and advertising fields ...


Coming soon....
  • Part II - The use of SEO strategies in the online gaming sector in Spain
  • Part III - Will GOOGLE be the big beneficiary of the cut in advertising for private online gaming operators?