Your Keyword Research Might Suck
...but if it does, I'll show you how to fix it.
Written: February 12, 2022 by Jesse Eddleman (potentialeight)
Your Keyword Research and You
Back in October of 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed its way through Congress and became law. While that was unfortunate, what’s also unfortunate is that a lot of people are still getting their keyword research procedures from the same time period.
That’s why there’s a good chance that your keyword research might suck, but even if it doesn’t, we’ll cover some things here that can give you some fresh ideas on how to approach the types of content that you’re constantly churning out.
Get more of the pizza by working smarter and harder, but mostly smarter.
- Chapter 1: Purpose – Why do we research keywords in the first place?
- Chapter 2: Intent – The unique issues of intent surrounding online gambling and online casino SEO.
- Chapter 3: Competition – Managing expectations, building for the future and finding your lane.
- Chapter 4: A Live Example – Thinking beyond which words you want to cram in this thing.
Chapter 1: Purpose
Why do we research keywords in the first place?
The business model that we have in the online gambling industry isn’t particularly complicated. It looks something like this:
- Have a website.
- Drive traffic to the website.
- Some of those visitors click on your affiliate links.
- Some of those clickers make deposits.
- Some jackass goes on a €500,000 winning streak on blackjack and totally murders your earnings.
- You get paid.
From this basic model, the game becomes how to maximize the numbers. When it comes to keyword research, we’re primarily concerned with the second and third steps with this ultra-scientific business plan.
In particular, we want to maximize the amount of traffic we get from step 2 while also keeping the percentage of them that care enough to click through and play in step 3 as reasonable as possible.
A lot of step 3 comes down to things like website layout, calls to action and so on that I won’t get into here. Instead, the main thing you need to know about step 3 for keyword research is intent, which we’ll get into further down below.
For now, we want to focus on step 2 by thinking about traffic volume.
The Volume Game
When it comes to online gambling SEO, the main purpose of keyword research is figuring out how to build volume. We don’t really care about intent as much as many other industries because our target audience doesn’t need to be talked into playing something most of the time (more on this below). We aren’t really going to be going after keywords like “how to get around GAMSTOP” because there’s too much competition there anyway.
Some people may think there’s an exception with stuff like “jesse’s pizzaland slot free play.” Generally speaking, those are keywords with poor intent, so many think that you should simply ignore them. However, I don’t think that’s correct, but that’s a topic for another time.
Consider the Following...
The more volume a keyword has, the bigger the size of the pizza. The lower the competition for that keyword, the bigger the slice is that you can get from it. Therefore, we have to find a balancing act between the two.
Here’s an example of a keyword with a whole lot of traffic. That means it’s a huge pizza. However, the competition is ridiculously high, so it would be tough to try to break in to get a slice at all.
Here’s a different example. This pizza is much smaller, but the competition is a bit lower. However, it’s still too high to justify going after such a tiny pizza (ie: such a tiny search volume per month).
Now here’s a pizza we can sink our teeth into. It’s just big enough that we can justify going after it, and the competition is small enough that we can have good chances to get a big enough piece for it to matter.
As you can see, if we use this pizza analogy, we can figure out which keywords to target to get the most volume of pizza by balancing indicators of difficulty and the total volume available for the search.
Chapter 2: Intent
Why Intent Isn't That Important in Online Gambling SEO
The issue of intent in the online gambling world is one that is largely black and white. For the most part, you can assume they either want to play or they don’t with little degree of gray area in between. It mostly breaks down to one of three scenarios.
First, we have the people who definitely want to play, they know what they want to play, they have their payment credentials in their hand (or saved on their device) and are ready to rock. Keywords that display this type of intent are things like searching for specific online casino names or how to deposit using a certain method. The competition is usually fierce, but the rewards can be super serious as well.
Second, we have the people who are looking for information to decide where to play (or if they even want to). This can include looking up game reviews, the best places to play, the top games with a certain theme and so on. While the competition isn’t as serious here, the conversion rates aren’t as high either and tend to stay at a moderate level. Regardless, this is where you can get a lot of the easiest wins in the industry in its current state.
Third, we have the people who just want to screw around playing free games. The conversion rates are super low, but these keywords still have their place as a part of an overall online casino SEO strategy.
High Deposit Intent
Most of the time, we aren’t going to be wasting our time with these because the competition is too difficult unless you’re already a major player, in which case you have moved beyond SEO to at least SE2 by now.
This is a constantly expanding sea of opportunity that never slows down or stops getting bigger. Generally speaking, this is the easiest place to start and the easiest place to get new gains.
These are the dorks who just want to play some free play slot for six hours straight. However, we’ll still target these keywords sometimes to round out our content and boost our rankings for associated keywords and pages.
And this is ultimately why the online gambling world is one area of SEO where intent isn’t all that important beyond a super basic, incredibly shallow level. The layout of the land dictates where most of our gains will come from, and that also tells us how to craft our content in other ways.
Chapter 3: Competition
Exploring Some Indicators of Competition
Let’s take stock of where we are so far in this. First, we know that we need to balance competition and volume. Second, we know that informational keywords will tend to offer us an easier time finding a good balance of the two using our pizza analogy.
We know how to find volume estimates. A wide range of keyword tools can give you that (despite frequently being off by 50 to 75 percent, it’s good enough for our purposes). However, their keyword difficulty ratings aren’t always the best thing to rely on overall. A 30 in one scenario could be much more difficult to attack than a 30 in another.
To help with this, here we’ll take a look at some other indicators of competition that can be useful to know.
Looking at the SERPs
Just taking a look at the SERPs can tell you a lot right away. Since the Super Bowl is tomorrow, let’s take a look at something related to that:
If we simply rely on the keyword difficulty rating this is given, we’ll see that it has a 29, which is fairly low for something with such a high intent.
However, once we look at the SERPs themselves, we see a different picture. Nine of the first ten results are from bovada.lv.
Do we think it’s really feasible or necessary to take on Bovada for such a low-volume, seasonal keyword? Probably not.
AllInTitle Search Queries
The Google search query “allintitle” tells you how many results they have indexed that have your query in the title tag of the page. This is a good proxy for seeing how many people are using SEO tactics to target those specific keywords.
For example, if you had a keyword difficult rating of 25 out of 100, which is pretty low, and a search volume of 500, that sounds like something you might want to go after. However, if the allintitle query for that keyword yielded 15,000 results, then maybe you should reconsider the level of the competition.
User-created Content in the Top Positions
If you look at the top 20 positions or so in the SERPs, and you see user-created content from sites like Pinterest, Quora and Reddit, then that’s usually a sign of low competition.
It’s also a sign that you can probably swoop in and create better content that will rank or use it as a linking opportunity, but that’s outside of the scope of this post.
Chapter 4: A Live Example
Work smarter, not harder.
Are you looking for something to stir your creative juices a bit? Here’s something that might do it.
Think about the user, what they’re after and what their intent is. Don’t assume that you already know the answer. Really sit back and think about it. What kind of information are they looking for in the online gambling world?
So let’s perform an analysis based on the information we’ve covered so far.
First off, the volume is reasonable, and it’s an information-seeking keyword.
Second, I see Pinterest in the top 10 results, and I see a lot of weak-ass domains in there too. That means checking the SERPs themselves would indicate we could slide in there.
Third, at the time of this writing, the allintitle query only gives 5 results.
While this is a little outside of the box compared to what usually gets talked about, it’s something to consider nonetheless.