rants from the dark side of marketing

Online Casinos and SEM

The online gambling industry is one of the fastest growing industries on the Internet. It is estimated that global revenues from online gambling are going to reach USD$15 billion in 2006, up from USD$ 10 billion in 2005 and USD$ 7.0 billion last year. That’s 50% growth and a whole lot of money.

Money from online gambling has to go through a lot of hands and everyone gets a cut. First there are the software vendors such as Microgaming or Playtech. They provide the infrastructure for companies and they get a cut. Then there the companies with the casinos, which make the money for everyone else. Then come the affiliates which get paid for sending traffic.

What I write is from the viewpoint of an affiliate and not someone who owns/works for a casino. You will have to think different if you belong in the latter category because your goals have to be different. Anyway, that’s a whole other story.

There’s two kinds of ways to go about getting casino related search traffic.

a. Go for the low hanging fruit. Generate pages for lots of keywords, rinse, repeat, ad, infinitum.

It’s not working as good as one year ago but it’s possible. This is where I would prefer to cloak my pages because generated pages aren’t going to convert good enough and I’d rather redirect to a page of a non-generated site. You will be better off if that page is one of your sites and not straight to the casino, because this way you can build a community or an email list or whatever. Both should be better than letting your visitors see your crappy generated sites. (hint: you want to be like this)

b. Target specific keywords and work on ranking.

Casino related keywords are pretty competitive, you all know that. You will have to fight if you want to rank for most of them, which means you will need a good site to start with and links. You can fake both if you want and still get results but saying you are a blackhat and don’t care if your pages are complete crap, might not work.

You need to test and research carefully because a whole lot of keywords aren’t going to send you good traffic. You want to rank for “highroller casino bonus” not “no deposit free bonus”. A lot of people fail at this exact thing. They end up fighting for keywords that aren’t worth it. Bad keywords may still make you money, but you want to work less to achieve more, not the other way around.

I am not going to tell you how to do keyword research, it’s something you will need to find out yourself. I’ll tell you something else though. If you want to focus on the casino affiliate game, you should know what online casinos are about and how they work. In other words, you need to play in the casinos yourself. I have played in over eighty online casinos. I know which casinos are rogue, I know which casinos treat the customers well, I know which casinos actually have good deals and don’t fuck with the players. This is very important, because that gives you the edge over every other affiliate who just puts a bunch of banners on a spam page.

You want to work less. That means you need the players that you send off to casinos to actually spend money and keep spending money for as long as possible. If you promote a random casino each time, this is probably not going to happen. If you don’t want to play in the casinos yourself, then you next best bet is to hang out a lot on casino forums. You will get an idea of what is the general consensus for each casino.

Now, in my post about Golden Palace I said “It’s way easy…”. Well, it’s not. You won’t find awesome keywords very often or rank well enough to get traffic. Clearing $5k with a single site isn’t something I can replicate often. In fact I don’t think I’ll do that ever again. When I said it’s easy, I meant it’s easy to make the money after you find a source of good traffic. Finding the traffic is the hard part.

My site in question ranked for two keywords in MSN, place #1 and place #4. Those two ranking send about 4k visitors in November and I complemented that with a couple good links from other sites, adding another 1k visitors. I only promoted Golden Palace on the site and didn’t bother doing anything else. This resulted in about 40 depositing players which made me 50% of their combined deposits minus winnings. So that’s $10.000 of deposits there. See what I mean you need good traffic? You could throw double the traffic from somewhere else and make less.

Enough rambling for now, I hope you found something useful amongst all that.

Posted on Thursday, December 8th, 2005 at 8:24 am under Rants. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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