World Cup SEO: The forgotten considerations
Published 5th May 2014
Can you actually compete?
This seems like a question that shouldn’t need to be asked, but the fact is that at least in the SEO space, there will be a lot of people who are simply biting off more than they can chew and won’t see any reasonable return on investment; the English and Spanish speaking markets will be especially saturated, and for obvious reasons. We have to remember that not only are these markets saturated, but many terms will be dominated by major news sites which you probably can’t compete with as an affiliate. This means that ‘targeting’ and ‘budget’ are two very important considerations.
Generally speaking, most affiliates will not be able to compete on many England-related terms in the UK, and for the majority, it probably isn’t even worth trying too hard. That’s not to suggest that you should ignore England-related content, your users might like it after all, but just don’t bank on it making you much money.
Focus is important
Whilst this may not apply to some of the larger sportsbook affiliates, many casino, bingo and poker affiliates can easily be put off from sports-related sites due to the amount of content they require to keep running. This is generally true, however, done correctly, micro sites focusing on certain teams can still make money from the World Cup; they just have to be focused.
Either way, unless you’re a particularly large operation, having the right copywriters to cover every team and every match properly is simply going to be out of the question. Focusing on what you can achieve is vital. Make sure you can afford to lose any time and money you put into promoting something like the World Cup, because there are no silver bullets on high profile events like this.
TV is hugely important when it comes to choosing keywords. Studies in 2014 showed that 41 percent of consumers with Smartphones or tablets used them at least once per day to go online whilst watching TV. Of course, this becomes very important with betting, and while these figures are general, with in-play betting the sportsbetting usership is likely to be much higher. (This also highlights the importance of having a mobile friendly site, but that should be a point that affiliates are already aware of by now.)
This all means that TV is drastically going to affect World Cup-related search terms. Of course, we can’t expect you to know the schedules of who will be advertising, but the least that can be done is to take into account when games are being played. For example, games shown live on the BBC are likely to have a lower amount of brand-specific in-play betting queries as they won’t have the spikes caused by half time advertising from specific brands.
Aside from the potential for adverts to affect search patterns, there is also the time difference, which will mean that some games will experience a much lower amount of in-game betting activity/interest. For example, if a game such as Ivory Coast versus Japan is being shown at 2am, you are unlikely to see much in the way of interest from the UK market.
Google Fresh is perhaps the most important ranking factor for affiliates looking to compete. After all, no matter how good the site is or how many links you get, it’s unlikely that you’re going to have as much authority as the BBC. You can, however, take advantage of the Fresh algorithm with some careful timing, ensuring you include match dates in your previews, kick-off times, creating social buzz and launching at the right time. Unfortunately, the latter aspect is not an exact science and depends on how quickly Google picks up your fresh content. It’s something you’ll have to test. It’s also more important than ever to properly moderate comments, as these can really help you out with the Fresh algorithm.
Whilst opinions are divided on the value of social signals to SEO (in cases like the World Cup, personally, I’d say their value is high), the fact is that they will help people find your content, and sportingrelated content does get shared easily. They also seem to be a key player in the aforementioned Fresh algorithm. This is where Google Plus actually becomes useful for once, as it allows you to force-feed new content into people’s email accounts (assuming they use Google Plus). This means that you don’t actually need an email database to push your content because you can easily get large amounts of people on Google Plus by bulk-adding shared circles; so, all in all, more traffic, more readers, more +1s (in theory).
Another good thing to look at in the social space is the Facebook promoted post. If you don’t already have a Facebook account, it’s easy enough to go out and set one up and buy (only buy if you’re using a throwaway brand) the required followers you need to promote. Generally speaking these work really well in sportsbook.