24.8.2018 - Johannes Puro - Affiliate marketing
Since 2013 the founders of Good Game Ltd, Toni Halonen and Jussi Kauppinen, have run affiliate marketing services for online casinos. After selling all their Finnish gambling websites, they are now concentrating fully on the competed casino market of United Kingdom.
The men have promised to explain to The Technology Media readers how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works in the online casino market.
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“The marketing of online casinos gives an indication of the global trends of Google advertising.”
– The Finnish and British markets are very different. In the UK there is so much more competition, more traffic channels and public relations activities than in Finland. And most of all more affiliate companies among the TOP 10 sites, starts Toni Halonen, the CEO of Good Game Ltd.
– Of course the legislation varies from country to country. The organic traffic coming from Google is a big part of our strategy, but for instance in United Kingdom companies can utilize other traffic sources as well, the CMO Jussi Kauppinen explains.
The Good Game men know what they are talking about as they have just recently launched their own UK website, Bojoko.com.
– The project has been well received and especially new online casinos have been very interested in Bojoko”, Halonen mentions.
What is the business model for websites marketing online casinos?
– Our business is based on advertising and commissions coming from advertising partnerships or affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing works so that we have a website on a certain subject to which we get traffic from Google. Then we join affiliate programs that almost every gaming site offers. We track the players and their money transactions with tracking links, but we don’t have access to their personal data, describes Halonen.
The marketing of online casinos gives an indication of the global trends of Google advertising. That’s why marketing agents in various industries are interested in the opinions of affiliate experts that follow the field analytically.
What are the current trends of partnership marketing?
– In this market, many operators used to be small businesses of one to three people, just like we were in the beginning. However, the smaller players are now stepping aside. Large companies have bought them off the market and in the process also the websites have evolved. Entering the market is not as easy as it used to be few years back, Halonen describes.
“Today SEO is more than just optimizing content.”
– For example, plain SEO is not enough. Today SEO is more than just optimizing content as the whole website has to be brilliant: Besides the content, also the technology, the speed, the ease of use and the design play significant role in the end result. All that requires comprehensive development that can’t be carried out with a small team, he continues.
How has Google’s algorithm developed over the last few years?
– I think Google generally understands the online casino market better than before. It has cut off most of the spamming sites from the search results and now websites have to be of good quality in order to succeed. You actually have to create a brand, not just a website. And with our websites, we always strive to create a high-quality brand, Kauppinen emphasizes.
What is the most important thing to do to ensure good search results?
– I wouldn’t name just one thing. Success lies in optimizing even the smallest details. Today the business is all about implementing user-oriented services. High quality Search Engine Optimization is achieved by combining publicly available information about the Google algorithm with practical experience, Halonen states.
“Optimizing search engine visibility is linked to the development of Google’s algorithm”
– Optimizing search engine visibility is linked to the development of Google’s algorithm and the evolution of how people make use of digital services. Once upon a time a good url was of great importance, but today the emphasis is not the same anymore. For example, we need good titles, pictures and body texts, but in addition, the operation of the service must meet its user intent and make it quickly and efficiently, he continues.
Good Game is also doing product development to create technically better sites.
– We have always made our websites with WordPress, but the UK market we are entering with our own CMS because it is technically better suited for affiliate marketing. Ready-made technologies always have their own problems, Halonen ponders.
According to Smart Insights, the share of digital services consumed on mobile devices has risen to 60 to 90 % depending on the country. How important is the role of mobile usability in Search Engine Optimization?
– Mobile is important for affiliate marketing and it’s importance will continue to grow in the future. Google takes into account, for example, micro moments, and we also have to follow things like the impact of voice search on consumer behavior, Kauppinen says.
– In the future, we aim to keep our users as a web site for casino offers. Currently we still have to “sell” the site to the end user over and over again. However, with user registration, personalized content and recommendations we seek to provide continuous added value to our customers and offer them optimized user experience.
What aspects one needs to take into account especially in the UK casino affiliate business?
– All the actors in the field must be aware of their responsibility these days. We are not talking about just responsible but safe gambling now. Term responsible gambling is directed more to players than casinos and affiliates. It is as much the duty of the online casinos and affiliates to ensure all around safe gambling.
Some casinos have received strict feedback from UK gambling authorities for their lack of responsibility. Sometimes this has been tied to their affiliate marketing and a few casinos have even stopped affiliate programs altogether because of this, Halonen tells.
“Getting into a trusted position requires years of work”
– Therefore casinos have created tools for people to better monitor their own gambling. However, both the casinos and the affiliates have to take an active role in responsible gaming. We have responded to this by making Bojoko a platform where casinos can manage their brand and affiliate marketing communication: Introduce themselves, publish promotions and communicate with their customers.
– Of course safe gambling or a great website is not enough. You have to create an excellent product – and build an affiliate business around the product.
The same rules apply in the online casino market as in any business: Getting into a trusted position requires years of work.
– The customer must be faced several times online, because it takes its time before people start to trust a certain operator, Halonen ends.
Check out Bojoko.com >