SHORT AND SWEET
Published 10th June 2019
With restrictions on bonus use and advertising ratcheting up across Europe, Dan Taylor looks at the use of ‘short burst’ SEO campaigns as an alternative means of acquiring and retaining players.
Search engine optimisation is often relegated to simply being about ranking content in high positions on Google for long periods of time as part of a sustained and ongoing campaign.
While this is mostly true, the same SEO techniques used for longevity can be adapted to create ‘short burst’ campaigns with content targeting particular users at specific times in relation to real world events, such as sports.
Importantly, with restrictions now being placed across multiple markets on how bonuses and other incentives can be used to entice not only FTDs (first time deposits) but also repeat custom, short burst SEO campaigns can have real value in the gambling sector.
NO ONE WRITES CONTENT TO BE NICE
Using sport as an example, if you search for a particular football fixture on Google, you’ll notice that the search results change over time. This is due to two factors: the time sensitivity and time decay of certain pieces of content (obviously, you don’t want the pre-match preview after the game), and the changing intent of users.
Typically, 24 hours or so before a fixture, news outlets will publish guides previewing the game, including such information as where and when it is taking place, and what TV channels and radio stations the match will be broadcast on. This content has a very short shelf life because once the game has finished – or in most cases has started – it becomes redundant; the search intent of users moves towards wanting to know the ingame status and live results instead.
It’s important to note that news outlets don’t write this short-life content out of the goodness of their hearts – but to attract users to their publications. Why? Well, for a number of reasons. Brand exposure is one (the hope is that the user will return to satisfy his or her evolving intent around the topic); another is to drive impressions on the ads they display to generate revenue. This approach to producing timesensitive content can also be leveraged by betting companies in the same way.
OPTIMISING FOR TIME-SENSITIVE CONTENT
Generally, with content you optimise for the long game. You aim to create an authoritative piece that ranks highly for a long period of time and acts as an evergreen source of traffic.
In principle, creating time-sensitive content is the same. It needs to be authoritative and offer value to the user, answering not only the question they’re asking but also related questions – much like news outlets do.
The aim here is to do it for brand exposure and to introduce the customer to special odds and offers through CTAs. This way you’re introducing more people to the brand, and your product, through non-bonus-related content.
There are also other key considerations that you need to take into account when creating time-sensitive content.
1. Understand the event timeline
To be effective around a specific sporting event, you need to understand the timeline and how users typically choose to engage. This will vary between companies and sports but the data will be available to you: you’ll know when users start to place bets on events and when the cut-off point hits. This data will help inform your publication timeline.
Typically, with sporting fixtures, the key phases of the timeline are pre-, during and post-event. The content needn’t be limited to static articles and as you’re running a betting/gambling website, it stands to reason you have some topical relevancy for sports due to the content you produce.
From a technical perspective, it’s also important to understand that Google doesn’t crawl your website every day, so when you’re publishing time-sensitive content you need to include additional steps in your publishing process to maximise its chances of being crawled, processed and indexed in time to be effective. This can be done through submitting the URL in Google Search Console and accelerated by tweeting the content through your brand’s Twitter account.
In 2015 Twitter and Google reached an agreement known as a firehouse deal, and there are correlations between tweeting out fresh content and URLs and Google picking them up faster. If you have a high authority brand account doing the tweeting, it stands to reason that this process will occur faster.
2. Anticipation is key, and comes with learning
To overlap the first point about understanding the event timeline, you not only need to get the content published and available for the changes in user intent and search behaviour but also be ready ahead of time.
You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration by preparing for events well in advance. A good example of this would be a major cup final or the Superbowl. You know that the outcome will be a win for either team A or team B, and for the most part 60% of the content may not change. By having assets ready for both scenarios, then, you can be lightning fast to publish content almost in sync with the change in timeline and user expectations.
Much the same way as anticipating the event and potential outcomes, with time and data you’ll get better at knowing when to change emphasis across multiple sports. Taking American sports as an example, you know that once the World Series starts and the MLB begins to wind down you’ll want to start introducing more articles around the coming NFL season.
Likewise, during the NFL play-offs, shift your focus to producing more content around baseball.