Poker and Gambling SEO Tips and Advice
Some people might not be able to afford my consulting fees, but they might want to get some information from me about search engine optimization for gambling or poker sites anyway. This article is for them. It's a collection of thoughts and tips about how to SEO your website.
1. Plan your SEO BEFORE launching your site
The biggest and most common mistake I see from poker and gambling webmasters is to launch the website and content while planning to do the SEO work later. The attitude that search engine optimization is something you do as a tweak to a site or a page after it's been launched is the worst attitude a site owner can have. SEO is about planning, information architecture, and content decisions.
2. Plan to build a content rich website
I tell this story all the time, but I'm going to tell it again here. I launched maybe 10 crappy gambling sites with about 10 crappy pages on each of them when I first got started in this business. None of them got very much traffic, and I didn't make much money with them. But I launched a poker site and wrote good content for it, and lots of it. When I hit 100 pages of real content, I emailed Steve Badger bragging about my 100 pages of content. He emailed me back, "Great. Now you finally have a real website."
Having lots of pages of good content is the best SEO strategy you can have for 3 reasons:
- Each page gives a search engine new keyword phrases to rank you for and send traffic from.
- Each good quality page of content gives other webmasters and bloggers another reason to link to your site, which will help you rank better.
- Every page on your site has links to your other pages. Links from your own site count too.
You don't stop at 100 pages, by the way. Keep going. More pages = more traffic. More traffic = more money.
3. Don't stress out about the domain name
You're not going to find a great poker domain name now anyway, so try to come up with something reasonably short and maybe memorable. Texas Holdem.com got registered a long time ago.
4. Keep your site design simple
5. Do the basic on-page search engine optimization stuff
The first step is to know which main keyword phrase each page is trying to rank for. The next step is to have a couple of secondary phrases each page is trying to rank for.
Then emphasize those keyword phrases on the page:
- Include them in the title tag and description tag
- Include them in the header tags
- Include them in the actual text on the page
- Include them in the alt text of your images
- Emphasize your keyword phrases using bold and/or italics
Basically, you want to make it clear what your page is about. This is good for the user and the search engines.
6. Get links, but don't stress out about it
Getting links is easy when you have a good site, and hard when your site sucks.
Trade links with other good quality websites. Don't believe the people who say that reciprocal links don't count, because they're missing the whole point. Sites which link to other good sites do well in the search engines, and you don't get penalized when good sites link to you. In fact, you should probably link to good sites even when they're not linking back to you, as a service to your website visitors.
You should also submit to directories, do press releases, and participate in online communities like forums and blogs. Don't spam, but don't be shy about who you are either. You want links from sites that use editorial discretion when deciding who to link to. Sites that link to anyone who links back to them are useless, and they should be.
You don't need tremendous amounts of links. 10 good links will help you far more than 1000 crappy links.
7. Pay attention to your traffic
Google Analytics is great for seeing what people find your website for, but any kind of website traffic analytics tool will do. You'll find keyword phrases that you rank in the top 20 for that you weren't even targeting. Once you find those, you can create content targeting that phrase and rank in the top 10 easily. (If someone visited your site, and you were on the 2nd page for it, then chances are lots of people will visit your site for that phrase if you're in the top 10.) Once you get started on this, you'll never lack ideas for new content pages.
8. Stay away from the dark side
If you're going to go to all of the trouble to build a website and generate content for it, wouldn't you like for it to receive traffic for a long time? If you stay totally white hat and above board, you'll never have to worry about getting banned from or penalized by a search engine. That means you can make money from search engine referrals for years and years.
SEO is like poker. There are lots of subtleties and nuances involved in being world class. But even mediocre players can be profitable poker players if they play in good games with weaker players and do the basics of folding bad hands and raising good hands. You can make a fortune as a poker webmaster just by following the basics of good search engine optimization. And that's just not terribly hard to do.