However, it’s also worth knowing when to depart from the Google view of the world and monitor your own data to assess both the performance of existing content and plan an international strategy that will produce ROI.
On this point, Matejic echoes the frustrations of many long-term SEO professionals.
“When you look at top-ranking websites in certain markets, it’s easy to become cynical about everything that Google announces and tries to make part of its algorithm,” he says. “If low-quality websites can retain top rankings for years only on account of spammy links, then why should we take anything Google says about content quality seriously?
This is a valid question that many people undoubtedly ask themselves all the time. At the same time, however, we have undeniably seen a change in the quality of websites that rank highly in most markets. And it’s only a matter of time before this becomes true globally.”
E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trust) is a perennial topic for SEO and content professionals – but what’s seen as authoritative content in different markets can vary widely. It’s also important to consider how players search, the intent behind their searches and the info they need to take some kind of positive action.
Nevertheless, with successive Google updates placing the broad term of ‘quality’ at the heart of algorithmic changes, it’s important for SEO professionals to engage with these topics, market by market, as Slotegrator’s Kirichenko makes clear.
“Our content is written by industry experts,” she says. “Of course, we do have copywriters that help us to prepare articles but most of the texts are written by the company’s experts – lawyers, when it comes to market regulations, or product managers when it comes to operation insights.
Our article authors have their own pages on the website where readers can find information about their experience and professional expertise. When it comes to authoritativeness, as we try to add unique insights to content pieces we produce, our articles are cited by other resources which is an important part of the strategy as well.”
Uniqueness of content, the verifiability of claims and an approach that naturally picks up citations can be part of a winning strategy in any industry – but in gaming, there are extra incentives due to the level of scrutiny brands are under from the public, regional regulators and, of course, Google.
Working at international scale, this can create challenges, but these can be overcome with the right frameworks and discipline. Matejic continues:
“Since we operate in one of those sensitive niches in which we promote products that aren’t just entertainment but also pose a heightened financial risk for users, gaming websites fall in the your-money-or-your-life (YMYL) category.
This means that a content strategy for a gaming website should centre around quality and expertise, authority and trust (E-A-T) signals more so than in other less sensitive categories.
For affiliate websites, this means that reviews, whether of an individual product or aggregated in the form of ‘best of’ pages, need to be genuine, explicitly showing that the reviewer has tested the product and given their opinion from the viewpoint of an expert.
We ask our writers to test each casino, bookmaker, game and payment method they write about. We also ask them to document this with screenshots and we are increasingly focusing on video content as the most direct way of showing this first-hand experience.
It’s extremely important that reviews are truly honest – it’s very easy for users to spot websites that just copy or collate information from other websites and oversell the product. And this is becoming increasingly easier for Google to do as well.”
Writing for users but being mindful of what ‘works’ for Google in different languages and markets is key – but there has to be a commercial opportunity to make the strategy worthwhile.
To 2023 and beyond
To wrap up this article, I asked the panellists which markets they’re most excited about. For Kinser, the opportunities in LatAm are clear.
“South America is an exciting focus for us next year,” she says.
“For us, SEO content is how we capitalise in any market, however, regulated markets provide us with the stability that we need to build a long-term content strategy with minimal risk for future disruptions.”
Similarly, while Matejic sees potential for content to open up opportunities in South America, he still sees potential in ‘mature’ markets, too.
“I am excited about both our so-called ‘traditional’ markets and newer markets. While most of the biggest affiliates have been shifting their focus nearly entirely to the US, at GIG Media we have been growing our market share in Europe and elsewhere, while also making strides in North America.
Even markets like Sweden, which initially started out as quite challenging, have evolved and we now see very good value there.
North and South America are regions with tremendous potential. They are also regions in which we have been growing consistently over the past couple of years and I expect that growth to continue and accelerate in 2023.
When it comes to capitalising on newly regulated markets from an affiliate perspective, content plays a pivotal role.”
The consensus around South America continues with Kirichenko’s summary of where Slotegrator is focusing:
“Of course, Ontario is a big interest for the igaming community at the moment. Also, we are focused on the Latin American and Asian gambling markets at the moment, and we think, in 2023, they will be developing even more.
At Slotegrator, we are always excited for newly regulated markets that introduce online gambling rules so that operators can finally legally enter the new area.
The content strategy always depends on the target markets and markets of interest to this or that extent, and we believe that being one of the first ones who can offer the latest updates and relevant information about new regulations can definitely help.”
You can read Part 1 here.
Milorad Matejic is director of SEO and publishing, GiG Media.
Svetlana Kirichenko is head of marketing, Slotegrator.
Sacha Kinser is head of content, Game Lounge.