SEO at gambling niches – Siarhey Sitis from OnlineBettingSA.co.za
In this interview, we talk to an experienced SEO specialist who has been in the field for five years. They discuss their transition from marketing to SEO and the challenges they faced in the gambling niche. Additionally, he provides insight into the tools they use in their work. Read on to learn more about their field experience and thoughts on the ever-changing world of SEO.
How did you get into SEO, Siarhey?
I was interested in the intersection of programming and marketing, as my previous experience was in marketing. I also worked on creating and setting up advertising campaigns in Google Ads and Yandex Ads. But SEO is a more complex job. From UX to code optimization, from choosing site structure to optimizing specific pages, it’s a much more interesting experience than PPC.
What is your experience in this field?
It’s been five years, and I started with e-commerce projects. The transition to gambling was not easy, but it was worth it. Significant budgets, black and white methods at completely different levels. The best skills training for an SEO specialist.
Well… it’s one of the most competitive niches. Something new is always needed here – from promotion methods to the appearance of information for users. It’s impossible to just become number one and rest on one victory. Growth is always required for both the project and the specialist responsible for it.
What are the main challenges in the sports betting niche?
Competition and unethical behavior from managers of bookmaker affiliate programs. If competition is a constant challenge, then changes in affiliate program conditions are always a sudden blow.
I would even say that more often than not, not meeting the bookmakers’ conditions is the most frustrating and forces us to diversify risks. False statistics, uncredited players, unrealistic requests from bookmaker managers – a standard problem.
What unrealistic requests are you referring to?
Let me list a few examples:
● Attempts to influence the rating. Some managers believe that their “request” can change our rating, a system that we have developed for a long time. Naturally, we reject such requests. It’s unclear what managers think of themselves.
● Traffic exclusively from one or several selected countries. Often, new players come from neighboring countries with which we do not work (yet). There have been cases where managers demanded a strict screening of players by IP. Why shouldn’t we take into account temporarily relocated players or players with a VPN – it wasn’t explained.
● Hide/make other bookmakers’ logos more visible. This was a funny request. When asked how they imagine it, the answer was given – you suggest, and we will agree. Do I need to say that we ignored this too?
● Directing players to specific bonuses/events without considering users’ preferences. Imagine being told that you need to “hide” an article with traffic of 5000 people per week because the bookmaker is interested in another offer (which is not as popular). Naturally, we do not do this.
You mention very little about the team you work with…
Yes, my mistake – “star disease”, after being invited to an interview (laughs). Of course, without a team, any of my ideas are just “wishes in the void.” I work with professionals in their field and newcomers, each of whom has a senior colleague assigned to them.
I should also note that the authors on our site are not fully represented, but we will update the composition of our team in the near future. Special thanks go to Indran Naidoo. He organized and took over management of the content department.
So far, you have described more negative experiences than positive ones. Can you share some positive experiences?
I admit – I have such a character (laughs). Despite some negative experiences, this is still a very exciting business. The best part of the job is not just the salary and vacation, but also other motivations. Specifically, achieving goals.
Imagine an experiment where you started by analyzing statistics and competitors from other niches. And then, you got some data and based on that, you came up with a hypothesis. This hypothesis turned into an experiment that you conducted for a week/two/three – and it ends in success. What do you think the emotions should be at that moment?
I don’t know about others, but for me, they are comparable to finding a gold nugget. The more such achievements, the more successful not only the project but also you as a specialist. Sharing the result and the path to this success is no less enjoyable.
Can you share an example of such an experiment?
No, because it is private information that has become the company’s intellectual property. I cannot disclose it without prior approval. All I can say is:
● Conduct tests on projects. What worked yesterday will sink to the bottom of search results today.
● Read blogs and follow social media on SEO topics. Trends, and sometimes insights, can give you a serious advantage in promotion. Most of the time, this is the time when competitors haven’t even woken up yet.
● Analyze competitors and their methods. Do you see something non-standard among your competitors? Think about why it’s done! Write it down and test it. New ideas come quickly if you are in the same environment as your competitors and your audience.
● A fresh look at the project. Do you think you’ve written about everything, covered all the topics, and don’t know what else to do? Check out other niches, preferably with high competition (like gambling, but in another country). You will always find new ideas. I guarantee it.
What is your opinion of the famous “ChatGPT”? Do you use it in your work?
Only positive, if it doesn’t become the main tool for creating content. Nothing can replace the experience and emotions conveyed by the author. For now, ChatGPT is not capable of that. And authors who know about it are immensely happy about it (laughs).
Lastly, what tools do you use in your work? Services, custom applications, or something else?
It’s difficult to list everything, but what comes to mind right away is:
● GSC and Google Analytics
● Keyword Insights
● Screaming Frog SEO Spider and Log File Analyser
Thank you for this short interview. I’m sure we’ll talk to you more about SEO and affiliate management.
I’ll be glad to. Thank you for the invitation!
About Siarhey Sitis
Position: SEO (Middle) and SERM-specialist