With Google updates coming thick and fast (four in September 2022 alone) and with new markets opening up all the time, it’s little wonder that brands are looking to update and refresh their content strategies.
As Sacha Kinser notes, however, it’s not enough to launch into a new direction if the strategy isn’t there to first understand the size of the challenge ahead.
“We put a lot of effort into our research of the users and the market,” she says. “This allows us to understand the users, recognise our competitors and estimate the scale of the project.”
The last point is an important one as a feeling for scale allows content strategists to plan more effectively and actually deliver.
The igaming industry is full of optimists and in the rush to capitalise on newly regulated jurisdictions – or climb back after being hit by an algorithm update – some brands can be guilty of prioritising action over working to a strategy that is practical.
Milorad Matejic emphasises the need to ensure content strategy is based on what is impactful in the present environment, and with a view towards the future:
“Since we operate in such a competitive and lucrative niche, with a history of spammy websites ranking highly in many markets, companies nearly always resorted to some grey or black-hat schemes to gain an edge over competitors. In many markets, this is no longer the case.”
Calling time on quick wins
The desire for quick wins can be as common among igaming professionals as it is among their customers – but as Matejic notes, the SEO game has changed.
“With Google’s helpful content update, focusing on unique and original content has become more important than ever,” he says. “Google has doubled down on trying to devalue content that is written for search engines first and users second.
This means going beyond keyword research when planning or refreshing content. Our content should now also seek to answer questions that aren’t asked and contribute to the wider body of knowledge about a certain topic with new facts. We now speak about fact-count instead of word-count.”
It’s fair to say that while Google has always talked about ‘quality’ and user-centricity as vital considerations, there’s now more evidence to suggest that the search engine is become better at identifying and evaluating poor content – with consequences for rankings.
This task becomes even more complicated when managing content aimed at multiple audiences, in multiple languages – and this has big implications for customer trust, as Svetlana Kirichenko elaborates.
“When you are working with different markets, it is necessary to adapt the content strategy to the local language and interests,” she says.
“For example, if you are working with the South African market where sports betting is especially popular, build your content strategy around telling audiences more about it.
On the other hand, taking into account that other game types may be less popular there, you can choose to educate bettors in this area, but it is vital to understand what is in demand in this or that market so that you know what will definitely interest the audience, and what they may be interested in learning more about.”
Balance and collaboration
For content strategists there’s a balance to be struck between leaning into what already works in a market and being bold with the aim of breaking new ground to popularise the previously unpopular, and instantly become the number one brand in the process.
For this type of outcome – and anything truly game-changing – it’s fair to say that content professionals must be able to collaborate with other specialists, not least SEO colleagues. Kinser from Game Lounge continues:
“For an SEO-focused company, content and SEO should work hand in hand to achieve the best outcomes. SEO professionals should be part of content’s planning and auditing processes.
Cooperation between the two can go wrong when there is a lack of communication and a misalignment on efforts.”
Mateijic notes that while GiG is now widely seen in the industry as an SEO powerhouse, many developments have been made along the way;
“A couple of years ago, in GIG Media, content and SEO were two separate departments. This structure created the perfect conditions for misunderstandings, bickering and finger-pointing between the two most-interdependent teams in the company.
To solve this, we simply merged the two departments, which proved to be a game-changer. From the outset, we made it clear that not every content manager had to become a technical SEO specialist, but they did need to become an on-page specialist, since we are an SEO-driven business.
Since then, there have been some surprising results, with several former content managers gravitating towards technical SEO and even off-page tasks.
We just make sure that everyone has access to tools and training and let them figure out where their passion lies.”
Where that passion aligns to what Google rewards, there is scope for multilingual gaming content to drive traffic and depositing players. As Kirichenko points out, keeping up to date with latest guidance is important, and Google has been more forthcoming with material aimed at content professionals:
“If you are a company that aims at producing content for humans rather than for search engines, following these updates is important so that you understand how your content now can rank higher.”
Kinser concurs. “Game Lounge always aims to align our content strategies with Google’s guidelines and incorporate as many recommendations as possible for quality content,” she says.
You can read Part 2 here.