The Real SEO Super Affiliates
The analysis that follows provides a condensed summary of UK affiliate performance in Q1 2016 assessed purely in terms of SEO. This is the most detailed analysis to date of UK SEO visibility, taking in daily non-personalised Google results for 2,526 keywords across the four main product areas of sports, casino, bingo and poker.
The origins of the super affiliate
Way back when affiliate marketing was young, Corey Rudl was still alive and affiliates learned the art of email copywriting from the likes of Dr Key Evoy, Mark Joyner and other pioneers too numerous to mention, the term “superaffiliate” was used to describe a referrer of affiliates, who listed and reviewed affiliate programs and provided the distribution network of merchant programs to affiliate marketers. These super-affiliates would recruit sub-affiliates, earning their income from second tier commissions. Today’s iGaming “super-affiliates” under this original definition are still alive and kicking, becoming trusted sources of information and establishing themselves, in many cases, as watchdogs, advisors and ombudsmen.
Over time, we can observe the memetic nature of language. A case in point is Richard Dawkins’ original 1976 definition of a meme in The Selfish Gene as “an idea or social practice which competes for believers or practitioners.” By contrast, today’s meaning has evolved into: “an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.” Similarly, today’s “super affiliate” definition has changed. Put quite simply, this is an affiliate who’s nailing it. Often they now drive Italian super-cars, have supermodel wives, and in one notable case, have been spotted wearing diamond-encrusted jewellery flanked by a bodyguard with a foot-wide neck. It is these modern day super-affiliates we aim to identify in our study.
Sports betting super affiliates
With SEO one of the toughest of disciplines to measure and report, data analysis has become a core component of my day-to-day life. The sports betting market is particularly difficult, with single annual sporting events becoming the major focus of the marketing calendar, with major international football tournaments occurring every two years. Seasonality plays a big part in the typical annual cycle and available search queries are distributed over a very long tail: events, courses, teams, leagues, sports, the list goes on. In this sense, sports betting SEO is more closely akin to travel industry SEO than any of the other iGaming product areas. The main chart opposite, also provided for casino, bingo and poker on the followng pages, shows relative performance during Q1 2016. With modeled revenue plotted along the x-axis and average position along the y-axis, the size of the bubble indicates the number of keywords for which the domain was visible and, more importantly, the number of keywords from which we derived the revenue and average position. Larger bubbles are also an indicator of stability. The accompanying quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) analysis displays almost zero negative movement, due to seasonality. Q1 UK revenues are heavily driven by Cheltenham Festival, resulting in cheltenham-festival.co.uk stealing the quarterly crown from Oddschecker. com. Finally, the table provides a handy summary of the Top 20 and their movements during the quarter.
Casino super affiliates
Casino is highly volatile, with minor movements in rankings having a major impact on new player revenues. Casinouk. com made the most gains, but despite wizardofodds.com experiencing the biggest losses, this did not undermine their position as the casino dons of Q1 (see p39).
Bingo super affiliates
In this moderately seasonal vertical, loquax. co.uk made the largest gains, cementing their No 1 position. However, watch out for freebingoonline.org, up two places to second, replacing freebingo.co.uk (see p40).
Poker super affiliates
Despite some significant losses and gains, pokerlistings.com remained firmly in the lead, with no change among the top five in Q1. Poker.com’s rise two places to sixth suggests this may soon change (see p41).
Show me your workings out
For the position to click-through-rate model, we used the widely accepted Chitika model, which estimates first place to receive 32.5% of the available clicks.1 Google’s own Keyword Planner data provides the bid estimations and monthly impression data. Seasonality was applied using each respective month’s available traffic estimations. The analysis condenses daily performance though Q1 2016 to identify the top 20 affiliates in each vertical, also comparing this against Q4 2015. For access to this data in real-time, you can request an invite to the beta program at my.reach.ai/?r=274&inv=1