According to reports, the online gambling industry will be worth around $105 billion by 2025. That includes online casino, sports betting companies and poker - Most major operators offer all of these products.
The industry is already absolutely massive, with many major gambling & casino companies listed on Global stock exchanges.
💵 Many major casino brands spend millions per year on link building. It's an incredibly competitive space.
There's also an incredibly large affiliate industry, with big review websites getting paid insane fees for generating referral customers to casino's.
How Do Casino & Gambling Companies Do Link Building?
Most of the major brands use a combination of relevancy and sheer volume.
Of course, having a large budget is essential if you want to rank in this space. Absolutely all of the major players are paying for links 💰 We've worked to build links on behalf of major casino companies, and there's always a premium charged by just about any blogger when they discover what they're linking to. That's why it's important to establish a budget which supports a good volume of high quality links with a long-term view.
🎥 Here's a video analysis we did a while back of Monster Casino.
They're a smaller casino brand that burst on the scene and began ranking for some competitive casino keywords...
5 Key Link Building Trends in Gambling
- Cash Is King - All casino companies pay for links, and they have big budgets to do so. They avoid direct footprints by using 3rd party email addresses 🤑
- PR Campaigns - Some gambling firms will execute PR strategies to pick up links from newspapers and press, but they understand this won't necessarily help them with difficult terms, where targeted links and anchors are required 🎯
- Aggressive Anchors - Larger companies will use surprisingly aggressive anchor text strategies, especially if they have a well establish brand 🥊
- Homepage Links - Some big companies will pay for homepage link rentals, but this is an especially aggressive strategy used by affiliates Globally across different markets 🌏
- Variety of Niches - Casino & gambling companies go after a surprisingly large range of niches - there's simply not enough quality informational sites out there around casino & gambling 🕵️♂️
What Types of Websites to Build Links From?
There's actually a very broad range of sites and categories that you can consider building links from, provided there's some kind of natural link back to the casino or gambling site.
Here's some categories we often see casino's go after, along with some category ideas.
If you use software like Ahrefs or SEMrush and scan through the backlink profiles of major online casino's, you'll see content (and backlinks) around many of the categories below.
💵 Casino & Gambling - The obvious one!
- Casino blogs & strategy sites - think about all the different games like roulette & blackjack, and find blogs by searching for strategy terms
- Poker websites - there's tons of poker news & strategy blogs out there
- Sports betting bloggers & influencers
- Video game blogs - so many of these available, ranging from retro game blogs to browser games & Xbox games
- Card games - there's a phenomenal volume of these sites, such as Cardgamesplanet.com.
- Other physical games like chess, backgammon etc.
✈️ Lifestyle & Leisure
- Entertainment - Can easily be tied into the attraction of casino's
- Travel - Many people associate travel with casino's, they're often tourist attractions
- Culture - Think of the culture of casinos
- Comics - Lots of slot games are based on comics
- Hobbies - Self explanatory!
- Movies - Think Casino Royale, and all of the other classic casino films over the years
- Celebrities - Many celebs love to gamble and visit casinos. There's an unlimited number of great stories to tell here.
- US sports like baseball, American football, basketball
- European sports like football, rugby etc.
- Sports that are traditionally more tied to betting e.g. snooker, billiards etc. Lots of content can be tied back into the gambling element
📰 Business, News & Finance
- Stocks & Finance - As we mentioned, casino companies are major players in the stock exchange
- Careers - The industry employs hundreds of thousands Worldwide, offering a genuine career path.
- Business - It's a constantly evolving industry with conferences, innovation and hurdles. So much content potential around this!
- Crypto - Cryptocurrency is strongly associated to the casino industries, with many Bitcoin casino's now on the market. The nature of investing in cryptocurrency can often be seen as a gamble, so it attracts many of the same people.
- Mobile & App blogs
- Computer technology e.g. anything that ties into the software & systems online casino's use
- Design blogs - Think about the actual design and structure of casino games
- General technology
- Virtual Reality
💡 Websites will often have crossover categories which cover many of the ideas listed above. See the example below."
Casino Links Checklist - Quality Guidelines
When you're outright paying for links as gambling companies do, it's imperative to stay safe - You need to ensure you're buying links on sites that aren't overcrowded and don't have obvious link footprints. You also should ensure that those sites are high quality - that means they generate organic traffic and where most of the content is generated for their readers, rather than for SEO's.
✏️ Here's the quality checklist we use for casino & gambling sites
- Domain Rating - 20+ minimum
- Traffic - Check that the website has over 1,000 organic traffic according to Ahrefs
- Traffic Movements - Check organic traffic movements. From Ahrefs 'overview' go to 'Organic Search'. From here, we should be cautious of any sudden traffic drops as it may indicate a Google penalty. This isn't always the case but it should factor into our decision making process. Please note that traffic swings can be quite normal, and if the site still gets strong traffic it shouldn't be removed.
- Do we already have a link? - The fastest way to check this is using Ahrefs - Check the 'Linked Domains' tab and type in your website.
- Linked Domains vs Referring domains - Using Ahrefs, we should look at the websites referring linked versus referring domains. You can do this at scale using the batch analysis function. This is judgmental, but if the number of linked domains is over 4 times greater than referring domains (for example linked domains is 1,201 and referring domains is 300) this may cause concern. For example, it could suggest that the website is selling lots of sponsored posts and may be penalised by Google for this in the future. Additionally, the more a website links out, the less valuable its links are essentially.
- Number of casino links - We should check how many 'casino' domain names the website is linking to. This can also be done from the 'Linked Domains' function in Ahrefs by searching casino. If it's 35 or over we must reject the website, because it's obvious they're selling links to a ton of other casino sites.
- Post Markings - If the website marks posts as 'Sponsored' or 'Advert', we cannot use them. Again, the fastest way to check this is go to 'Linked Domains' and find a casino article. From here, we can check if it's marked with anything.
- Sense Checks - Review the website by browsing a few pages manually. Consider if the website has any blatantly spammy looking articles that don't fit in with the theme of the website. You can get a good sense by looking at their homepage as to what articles or topics they are writing about. If they have spammy looking sidebars or banners, that's another thing to consider. Lastly, you want to ensure the website has a nice looking design that engages readers.
- Advertising Page - We should be mindful if the site has an obvious advertising page. This isn't a problem in itself (as most sites have these) but if they mention advertising to help with SEO or openly offer backlinks for a price this should be a red flag for us.
Long-Term Strategy To Beat The Competition
We've worked with some of the most successful online casino companies in the World.
From a link building perspective, we know what it takes to achieve consistent ranking results that last over time.
It's important to make decisions with a long-term viewpoint, and not to take risky decisions that may potentially damage you.
- Analyze the top ranking competition - See exactly how they're building links and what the context of those links are.
- Cherry pick competitor link opportunities where it makes sense.
- Carefully select websites based on strong quality metrics.
- Invest in writing staff who understand how to make a link fit seamlessly and naturally into an article, without feeling forced.
- Figure out a sensible anchor text strategy with a blend of branded / natural / partial match anchors, based on top ranking competitors.
- Negotiate prices with webmasters - You'll need to have a strong negotiation plan in place to save money in the long run!
- Jump on trends, like getting homepage or category links from the same site everyone else is doing. Lots of casino affiliates do this, and they often get penalized. The same goes for 301 re-directs. Those may be fine for certain affiliates, but way too risky for big companies employing hundreds of staff.
- Overdo it with aggressive anchor texts, especially if you're a smaller brand or 'up and coming' brand.
- Use a company email for outreach. This one seems obvious, but its a clear footprint that could land you in hot water.
- Underestimate the budget required to compete in this space. Even once you get a strong ranking position, you have to continually invest to stay there.
There you have it, some of our most important guidelines for link building in the gambling and casino space. If you'd like any further insights or have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.