9 July 2024

iGaming SEO: How to Rank a Casino Website?

Regarding SEO, iGaming, or the online gambling industry, is one of the most competitive niches. So what do you do when the competitor’s brand has a higher Search Volume than the main keywords, and their SEO budgets are almost endless? How do you even try to rank a new site in this niche? To say that the challenge is massive would be an understatement, as you basically joined the race during the final lap. Having said that, ranking a new site is still possible. If you are ready for it, read this article and get insights on the best Casino SEO tactics and strategies.

Before diving into the best iGaming SEO practices, I will explain the industry’s fundamentals and how they differ from other SEO niches. 


iGaming SEO

 What Is iGaming?

iGaming, or online gaming, is an umbrella term for any form of gambling activity that takes place on the Internet.

This can include:

  • Online Casino Games: Digital versions of traditional casino games such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, and poker. Players can access these games on laptops, tablets, or mobile devices.

  • Sports Betting: iGaming online platforms where individuals can bet on various sports events, including football, basketball, horse racing, and esports.

  • Lotto: Through online lottery services, players can buy tickets and participate in various lottery drawings via the web.

  • Poker: Numerous iGaming websites feature virtual poker rooms where players can compete in diverse poker games and tournaments.

The iGaming industry operates the following business models:

  • Operators: Companies that manage online casinos and sports betting platforms, offering various gambling activities.

  • Affiliates: Websites and services that compare, review, and promote operators’ online casinos and sports betting platforms, earning commissions for referring players.

  • Providers: Companies that develop and supply the games and software operators use on their platforms.

Understanding these components and business models is essential for anyone involved or interested in the iGaming industry.

What Is iGaming SEO?

iGaming SEO, or Casino SEO, refers to the Search Engine Optimization techniques and strategies tailored explicitly for websites and platforms related to online gambling.

The primary objective of iGaming SEO is to improve search engine rankings for both branded and generic “money keywords” (such as “online casinos” or “betting”) to attract more organic traffic from users interested in gambling activities. The ultimate goal is, of course, to increase FTDs (First Time Deposits) and revenue in general.

Key components of Casino SEO include:

  • Content SEO: Also known as On-Page SEO, revolves around enhancing the site’s contextual authority by creating and optimizing SEO content for main pages and individual games. This involves improving the content, user experience (UX), and site structure to meet search engine guidelines and user expectations.

  • Technical SEO: Revolves around enhancing the site’s credibility and usability by addressing technical aspects of SEO, like hreflangs, canonical tags, and page speed.

  • Off-Page SEO: Building high-quality backlinks from reputable websites to increase the site’s authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines.


By implementing these SEO practices, iGaming and casino websites can achieve better visibility in Search Engine results, attract more targeted traffic, and ultimately generate higher revenue.

Difference Between the iGaming and e-Commerce Niche

The main difference between iGaming and e-commerce sites is their focus and revenue models: iGaming sites are dedicated to online gambling activities. In contrast, e-commerce sites concentrate on buying and selling products or services. Additionally, they differ in several key areas:.

  • Customer Retention Strategies: iGaming platforms often use bonuses, loyalty programs, and exclusive offers to retain players. E-commerce sites rely on strategies like personalized recommendations, discounts, and excellent customer service to keep customers coming back.

  • Regulatory Compliance: iGaming websites must navigate complex legal frameworks, adhere to stringent regulations, and obtain necessary licenses to operate. E-commerce sites must comply with consumer protection laws, payment processing regulations, and data privacy standards, though the regulatory landscape is generally less stringent than for iGaming.

  • Security Concerns: Both niches prioritize security, but the nature of the concerns differs. Due to the high financial stakes involved, iGaming sites focus heavily on preventing fraud, ensuring fair play, and protecting user data.

Understanding these distinctions helps SEOs navigate each space effectively, tailoring strategies to meet the unique demands and challenges of iGaming and e-commerce.

Why Is iGaming so competitive?

Running an online casino or sports betting platform is extremely complex due to multifaceted challenges, including high competition, user trust, and technical complexity. This niche is also one of the most competitive in SEO because the link and content budgets of the main competitors are very high and often unreachable for smaller companies. Below are some of the specific Casino SEO challenges:

Regulatory Compliance

iGaming regulations vary significantly across different countries and regions. Ensuring the platform complies with all applicable laws is complex and requires continuous monitoring and adaptation. Regulatory bodies may restrict the type of content that can be published. Ensuring that promotional and informational content adheres to these regulations is crucial.

Advertising Restrictions

Major search engines and social media platforms have stringent advertising policies for gambling-related content. This limits opportunities for paid search campaigns and necessitates creative strategies to drive organic traffic.

Reputation and Trust Concerns

Many reputable websites are hesitant to link to iGaming sites due to concerns about legal issues and potential reputational damage. This makes acquiring high-quality backlinks a challenge in itself.

Building trust is more difficult for iGaming sites due to the stigma associated with gambling and concerns about fair play and security.

Technical Complexity

iGaming platforms are built for players, not for Search Engines. The headless CMS often used by operators is not SEO-friendly. Ensuring the website has all the necessary elements, such as SEO content, headings, or metatags, and provides a good user experience can be technically challenging.

Parasite SEO

Leveraging the authority of established platforms to rank content in search engines is a common practice in the casino and sports betting industry. Many competitors engage in unethical practices and can rank even for your branded keywords. 

Spam Attacks

iGaming sites are frequent targets of spam attacks, including negative SEO tactics from competitors. It is not uncommon to get 1000 spammy anchors linking to your site or get good backlinks removed from your website in one day. Protecting the site’s SEO integrity involves proactive monitoring and robust security measures.

SEO Strategies for Ranking a Website in the iGaming niche

SEO Strategies for iGaming

Ranking a website in the highly competitive Casino and Sports Betting niche requires a comprehensive and multifaceted iGaming SEO strategy. Those can sometimes differ from traditional SEO because of its competition and complexity. Here are some of the key strategies that can help improve your website’s rankings:

1. Building a technical SEO foundation

Building a strong Technical SEO foundation is crucial for the success of your iGaming website. Most casino platforms will be built on headless CMS, which is not exactly SEO-friendly when compared to, for example, WordPress CMS. Most of the bigger gambling sites will have only a few or even sometimes zero basic SEO requirements implemented. Below are common challenges and essential questions to address as you begin your Gambling SEO journey:

Crawlability, Indexation and Cloaking:

  • Crawlability: Ensure your site is accessible and crawlable by Google bot and other search engine crawlers. Check your site’s robots.txt file to ensure it allows search engines to crawl important pages.

  • Indexation: Ensure that Google can index your SEO pages. Verify that meta tags are correctly implemented.

  • Cloaking: Verify that there is no significant difference between what Google sees and what users see. Use tools like Google Search Console and Fetch as Google to check how Googlebot views your pages.

Sitemap and robots.txt

  • Ensure your website has an XML sitemap that lists all important pages and is submitted to Google Search Console. Verify that your robots.txt file is correctly configured to allow search engines to crawl your important pages while blocking access to irrelevant or sensitive areas.

CMS Control:

  • SEO Content: Ensure your Content Management System (CMS) lets you easily add and edit SEO content. 

  • Localization: Check if your CMS supports localization, which allows you to create region-specific content to target different markets.

  • SEO Headings and Meta Tags: Ensure you can add and manage SEO headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.) and important meta tags. Remember, proper heading hierarchy is crucial for both user experience and SEO.

By addressing these foundational aspects of Technical SEO, you can create a robust base for your iGaming website, ensuring it is accessible, indexable, and optimized for users and search engines.

2. Creating automation for Keyword Tracking, Rankings Monitoring, and SEO Audits 

The iGaming niche often faces challenges like negative SEO attacks and technical issues that can drastically affect rankings and traffic. Therefore, it’s crucial to implement robust keyword tracking, rankings monitoring, and automated SEO audits to secure your site’s visibility. Here’s how to approach this:

Keyword Tracking and Rankings Monitoring:

  • Daily Ranking Monitoring: Due to the nature of the iGaming niche, rankings should be monitored daily, not weekly or monthly, like in other industries. This allows you to identify and respond to any significant changes quickly.

  • Tools: SEranking is among the best for daily ranking movements and keyword tracking automation. It provides comprehensive insights into your keyword performance, helping you stay on top of your rankings.

Handling Negative SEO Attacks:

  • Spammy Links and Link Removal: Many low-authority links pointing to your site can hurt your rankings. Frequent reviews and timely disavowal of such links can protect your site from negative SEO impacts. You can also lose your best links via a hacker attack. 

  • Tools: Ahrefs can help you identify lost and spammy links within a few seconds. 

SEO Audits Automation:

  • Regular Audits and Error Detection: Automated SEO audits should be conducted weekly to check for technical issues, such as noindex tags accidentally applied after development changes to your SEO pages.

  • Alerts and Notifications: Don’t forget to set up alerts for significant ranking drops or spikes. This immediate feedback allows you to investigate and address potential issues promptly.

  • Tools: JetOctopus can automate technical SEO audits and alert you to critical issues. ZipTie is also an excellent Tech SEO tool that can quickly detect indexation issues in your Sitemap. 

Integration with Development Processes:

  • Collaboration with Development Teams: Maintain open communication with your development team to prevent accidental SEO issues during deploys. Regular educational SEO training and documentation can help the dev team understand SEO implications.

  • Management of Changes: Implement a robust change management process to track and review website changes. This will help quickly identify and reverse any changes that negatively impact SEO.

3. Creating topical content authority 

Establishing topical content authority is crucial for success in this highly competitive niche. By positioning your site as a trusted source of information, you can attract more organic traffic, improve search engine rankings, and build a loyal audience. Here are some strategies to achieve this:

In-Depth Research:

  • Understand Your Audience: Conduct thorough research to learn your target audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points. This will help you create content that resonates with them.

  • Competitive Analysis: Analyze your competitors’ content to identify gaps and opportunities. Focus on topics that are underrepresented but relevant to your audience.

  • Leveraging internal data: Use your in-house data for content prioritization. Most casino companies have internal tracking tools that show you, for example, the top games per market with the highest revenue. Google Search Console will also give you insights into your audience’s top queries. 

High-Quality Helpful Content Creation:

  • Comprehensive Guides: Create in-depth guides and tutorials on various aspects of iGaming, such as game rules, strategies, and tips. Ensure your content is well-researched, detailed, and provides real value.

  • Regular Updates: Keep your content up-to-date with the latest trends, news, and developments in the iGaming industry. Regular updates signal to search engines that your content is fresh and relevant.

  • Content Diversification: Incorporate various types of content, such as videos, infographics, or tables. Multimedia content can enhance engagement and reach a broader audience.

  • User-Generated Content: Encourage users to contribute reviews, testimonials, and forum posts. This will diversify your content and build a community around your brand.

  • Experience and Expertise: Hire people who love to play casino games or bet themselves. You can see the difference in the content creation process. 

  • Add something unique: Your content should contain some unique information not covered by completion. For example, in games, this could be your casino bonus for this specific game. 

4.  Building a Link Authority 

Developing a strategic link-building plan is essential for acquiring high-quality backlinks from reputable sites and boosting your site’s authority and rankings. Here are some effective strategies for gambling websites:

Use your brand and website power

  • Leverage your internal PR and Marketing: Any CEO interview or other company publications on third-party websites should result in a dofollow link to your main brand. Educate everyone in the marketing and PR department on the importance of links, and you will get them for free.

  • Leverage your sponsorships:  If your brand sponsors a major sports event or team, negotiate to include a dofollow link as part of the sponsorship deal. This can significantly boost your site’s authority and visibility.

  • Link relationships:  If you have good relationships with larger affiliates, ask if they can provide a dofollow link. While many affiliates may hesitate to add such links near their affiliate tracking links, it is sometimes possible. Conversely, it’s often easier to obtain a dofollow link from an operator’s dedicated review site rather than the main platform.

  • Create link-worthy content: Create infographics, research studies, and interactive content that other websites want to link to. This can help you get organic and free links from relevant websites. 

  • Happy customer reviews: Collaborate with your customer support team to identify your happiest users and encourage them to leave reviews on forums and third-party websites. These reviews can generate referral traffic and sometimes even dofollow backlinks.

Work with external SEO agencies and experienced

  • Link-building agencies: Partner with external SEO agencies or SEO Experts specializing in link-building for the iGaming niche. They can leverage their expertise and connections to acquire high-quality backlinks.

  • Digital PR Campaigns: Find the best agency to create a digital PR campaign for you. This can help you get a good number of links, especially if your brand doesn’t have an internal PR department or your link profile is very small compared to your competitors. Ensure the campaign’s topic is not too far from your niche and the anchor is relevant.  

Adapt to Industry standards

  • Study your competitors: Analyze Competitor Link Profiles: Use data from the top 5 to top 10 stable competitors in each market to study their link profiles. Examine link velocity (the rate at which they acquire new links), anchor text distribution, and the topical relevance of the websites linking to them. Compare your link profile with competitors to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. This benchmarking can help you develop a more effective link-building strategy.

  • Budgeting for High-Quality Links: High-quality links often come at a cost. Discuss with management to secure a reasonable budget for link-building activities before setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Ensuring adequate resources is crucial for acquiring premium backlinks that can significantly impact your rankings.

  • Stay Informed About Industry Standards: Stay abreast of the latest trends, tools, and best practices in the iGaming industry. This includes attending industry conferences and webinars and following authoritative blogs and forums. Stay updated on any changes in regulations that could impact your link-building strategies. Adapting to these changes promptly can help maintain compliance and avoid penalties.

    Conclusion: iGaming SEO

    Ranking a casino website in the iGaming niche is a challenging task. The competition is fierce, with major players having almost limitless budgets and higher brand recognition, making it seem daunting for new entrants. However, despite these challenges, ranking a new site with a strategic approach and dedication to best practices is still possible. Ultimately, success in iGaming SEO demands a multifaceted approach, addressing the unique challenges and opportunities within this dynamic industry. With persistence and a well-executed strategy (plus leveraging some of the bits of advice shared in this post), you can achieve higher rankings, attract more organic traffic, and drive greater revenue for your casino website.

    This topic was also covered by Marta Szmidt in detail in the podcast interview “Cutting Edge: Web Content Development”  https://podcasts.bcast.fm/e/mn4xqj3n-seo-with-marta-szmidt

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