Taking advantage of the EPL restart
Published 8th July 2020
There are 92 matches remaining in the 2019/20 English Premier League season. With every fixture being broadcast live, a number of opportunities exist to capture interested traffic and generate deposits before the FA Cup starts in August. There’s only a small timeframe available to achieve results, so it’s vital to get cracking now.
This article looks at the opportunities available within the market and examines where, with a bit of quick thinking and action, additional traffic can be picked up.
AMENDING YOUR CONTENT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION
In a recent post on the Blueclaw blog, I discussed a case study that gave a client of ours a considerable traffic boost, just by including ITV Racing content when they switched over from Channel 4.
At the time of writing, the schedule for the remaining Premier League fixtures is still to be finalised. However, we do know that:
- Sky will get 64 matches, of which 39 will be shown on Sky Sports with the remaining 25 free-to-air
- BT Sport will show 20 matches
- BBC will show 4 matches
- Amazon Prime will stream 4 games live
With the games spread over a number of provides, confusion will rage about where to catch the action. There will be large search volumes available for search terms that include ‘watch’, ‘stream’, ‘Sky’, ‘Amazon’, ‘BBC’ and ‘BT Sport’ with various combinations of the matches.
The search volume software won’t highlight the real search term volumes as they are usually presented as averages across the year. Here, though, is a comparison of some of the Bundesliga trends, to show the most popular terms:
This highlights the opportunity around ‘watch’ phrases with generic terms such as ‘Bundesliga’ on the opening weekends. However, the term becomes irrelevant in place of specific matches after the opening match.
ANNOUNCEMENT DAY SEARCH TRENDS
On the day of that the Premier League’s return was announcement, it took around an hour for the search trends to peak. At the time of writing, a number of key questions from that day still remain unanswered, including:
- Dates of fixtures
- Where to watch the games
- The location of the matches
- Specific timings etc.
This will create opportunities on what content will be relevant to someone searching for a specific match and gives us some idea about what content would be useful to anyone looking for information about the match, even when related to betting terms.
SITE AND PAGE STRUCTURE: THE BASICS
There is no consensus on the ideal amount of content and the type of information that should be displayed for the tips-based market for specific matches, but here’s what we’ve learned from those in the top spots.
If you are interested in the more top-level and generic pages, I’ve covered that on my most recent post on the Blueclaw blog.
MATCH-SPECIFIC PAGES: PREDICTIONS, TIPS AND PREVIEWS
To show some of the workings of how we would plan through the content on a particular page, I’ve used the first match back (Man City vs Arsenal) as an example. I’ve planned this to appear for terms like [match] predictions or tips.
Man City vs Arsenal title tag
(Recommended sample title tag: Man City vs Arsenal – Matchday Predictions & Tips | Brand.com)
The title tag fits within the desktop and mobile requirements, isn’t repetitive and contains core phrases. One way to improve click-through on this would be to insert some relevant live odds. This is likely how an operator will approach it.
In terms of the keyword research for this phrase:
Main phrase keyword volumes (per month average)
- Man City vs Arsenal: 9,900
- Prediction: 110
- Tips: 70
- Correct score/Predicted score: 50
- Bet/betting tips: 50
- Last five results: 30
- Who will win: 30
- Where to watch/stream: 390
- What channel: 10
- Time: 10
Remember that the FAQs and the search volumes are averages across the month; the actual volumes can increase greatly on the days around the match.
There are a number of opportunities and learnings from the first placed positions across the relevant terms in this niche, but a good start on the page structure would include elements listed and explained in this table:
If you want to take full advantage, then creating structured data opportunities within your content will also help to capture relevant traffic from the various rich snippets. Don’t forget to look for opportunities to include the following types of information:
- Bulleted lists
- Numbered lists
- Information tables
- Images and videos
- Other forms of rich media
- News and recommended reading for other teams.
Hint: the Bwin site is currently number one for this phrase, and their graphics are flat images, so large chunks of their content can’t be understood for relevance.
KEYWORDS TO INCLUDE
Clearly, not all will be relevant, but the word cloud in Figure 4 gives a strong idea of what people are looking for when searching for ‘Man City vs Arsenal’.
WHERE ARE THE LINKABLE OPPORTUNITIES?
Using Content Explorer from Ahrefs.com we can see the volume of articles written on particular subjects. In May 2019, there were 85,000 articles published that referenced the ‘Premier League’. In May 2020, there were 150,000. This 56% increase in published content about the Premier League will likely grow again in June with the restart (see below).
The average word count of those articles is 483 words, meaning journalists have a lot of virtual column inches to fill.
Popular link-driving content on these sites includes:
- Covid-19 and Coronavirus league theories
- Financial benefit or loss as a result of Covid-19 and league suspension
- Football furloughs
- General news
It’s hard to gain traction on a campaign from general news, without being at the forefront of the news or providing breaking insight, but utilising data (see Boxout) and completing compelling analysis can enrich a journalist’s story, helping to obtain vital links to key areas across the site.
Top 10 data sources for obtaining links for the EPL restart
- Your Own Analytics: traffic trends for key matches, local derbies and most trafficked forum topics
- Google Trends: highlight trends in bizarre terms, weird breakout terms and strange coincidences.
- Keyword Search Volume: using free tools like Google Display Planner, you can see search volume history or the SEO Monitor link topic tool.
- Football Statistic Sites such as transfermarkt.co.uk
- Google Scholar: interesting published articles on football
- The Premier League Publications: the Handbook has past seasons, stadium attendances and player appearances.
- Social Media / Customer Surveys: engaging with your fanbase to give an opinion
- Gambling operators: ask for information about most bets, biggest wins
- Type into Google “[keyword] market research” or “[keyword] data sets”
- The UK Government website: data such as football-related arrests appears here