A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of ARG Media Ltd, a comparison site and digital publishing network. Adam has been running affiliate websites for the best part of five years. He started off with several smaller comparison sites, before branching out into the finance and education niches post-Penguin. He briefly ran his own search marketing and infographic design agencies, before retiring them to focus on his current portfolio of Investoo.com and Graduates.co.uk.
We sat down to discuss SEO strategy and how to build an iGaming affiliate brand.
SM: Welcome to this first Interview on branchoutmovement.com Insights. I’m Sam Miranda, I’m Marketing Director at branchoutmovement.com and today I’m with my affiliate buddy Adam. Adam’s had a very interesting career - he started off running several small gambling affiliate websites before diversifying into the education and finance binary option niches.
Adam welcome, could you start by taking us through your career to date?
AG: Yeah sure, it’s nice to be here. So I started off writing for affiliates for sports news sites in my last year at university back in 2010. I was writing for some sites, made some good holiday money over the summer then my employee convinced me to start my own site which was in the online poker niche.
From there I took a gap year after university finished, I worked hard on some more websites for my business. At the end of the gap year I kept going another year after that, by 2012 I’d managed to sell the site for quite a large amount of money that I’ve now reinvested into my business.
Skip two or three years and I’m here now running some sites in the financial trading niche and also the student graduate education niche as well.
SM: Great, you said you sold a site for a lot of money, why don’t you tell me a little about that first financial breakthrough which gave you the capital to reinvest and build your business?
AG: Up until then I’d been making good money but I’d be reinvesting it all on a monthly basis so there was no forward planning, there was no 12 month business plan per se. Then I think summer 2012 I managed to sell the site for six figures which gave me some momentum and allowed me to plan for the next 12 to 18 months and actually build a proper business and go on from there so since then I’ve tried developing brands.
SM: Now let’s talk about what you’re doing right now. I know you’re obviously running a financial investment site and also a graduate site but you’re also getting back into the iGaming industry, why is that?
AG: Frankly I started out in iGaming, I’ve run bingo (VIPBingo.co.uk) and poker sites before and know about sports betting sites before but at one point I just wanted to get out of that niche because I felt like these updates like Penguin and Panda in SEO in general they were sort of… SEO was moving against affiliates so I felt I had to get out of that game so to speak, I just found it too hard to add value really when you’re just pumping out reviews and generic news content.
So that’s when I moved onto the graduate education niche. I launched my own financial training school, we’ve got more than 100 videos now with our own tools and indicators and products. That’s sort of why I moved out of iGaming, I’ve moved back in now a little bit purely because I realise, I hate to say there is a lot of money in it. You’re talking about two hundred, three hundred dollar CPA’s, that doesn’t exist in other industries other than finance.
So even if you want to build a nice site, you want to build a good brand with social media followings and whatnot it is really hard to do unless you have a big team you’re working with.
SM: Yeah. So you touched on the phrase “adding value” and brand building and that’s something I want to pick up on and focus on. How do you go about adding value to users in the iGaming industry do you think?
AG: Okay, well first of all I think this idea of adding value is quite a recent concept in iGaming because the way SEO has moved over the last couple of years adding value is now probably the most important aspect of SEO and its increasingly important. In SEO things like social metrics, user metrics. Good authority natural links that’s all going to added value for users.
The way I think you can add value now as an affiliate is, well first of all great content, good user experience, good design. It needs to be a memorable, responsive website and I think from then on its just adding good products. It depends what niche you’re in, I think some niches it’s easier to add value than others.
SM: Like what?
AG: So for example in bingo most players are just looking for new bingo bonuses, new bingo sites have the best free bingo offers and no deposit bonuses that’s just the way bingo is, it’s what users are looking for. Other than that it’s hard to add value really, comparison tables really but I mean there’s not a lot of bingo news you can write about. There’s not a lot features you can write heavily about.
Whereas if you compare that sports betting where you have websites like Bet Tipster that we talked about earlier?
AG: BettingExpert, yes. So I mean they provide betting slips, they provide social betting, they have a community, free bets, reviews and imprints about sporting websites, Odds Comparison for example features so that’s a much easier way of adding value.
SM: I would say with bingo there are things particularly if you focus on the target audience of mums you can be running things like giveaways, promotions, sweepstakes. I think those are ways you can build value and also by just by doing the things that people already do, adding fresh and regular content you can just do that better.
But as you say there is certainly more opportunity in sports and I think, and also poker, I think the reason why is because there’s a strategy behind it. There’s a reason to have experts and tipsters in these sections of iGaming where there really isn’t for things like bingo, wouldn’t you agree?
AG: Yeah, I say it’s hard to add value as an affiliate and that’s why a lot of affiliates have either developed and evolved their business out of affiliate marketing or they’ve stopped doing it and gone into getting a job. I think in the old days, two or three years ago you didn’t need to be intelligent to run a good affiliate site and make a lot of money, you just had to be able to buy links and view the operations. Now you actually need to build a team and add value to your site. It is a different skill set.
I think what you’ve done at RightCasino is quite impressive in that you’ve managed to find value in a unique way that’s not really been done before. You’ve got, I mean why don’t you explain what you’ve got at RightCasino?
SM: We’ve started off as a slick casino comparison filter where we take in loads of criteria like a casinos safety record, promotions, bonuses, games and we review, analyse it and our filtering system basically matches the user to the right casino according to the users preferences.
I suppose we’re not doing something revolutionary in aspect. We’re still representing a play with a casino and referring them but I think we’re doing it better and we’re presenting it better and as evolve we want to incorporate things like a reward scheme, user log in, profile system, and we’ll try to get a community going. We want to deliver things like cashback to deliver user value.
I suppose we look at things like the size of AskGamblers and Latest Casino Bonuses and these have started to have added value by offering… acting as mediators between the player and the casino. Solving disputes and they’ve managed to get a forum community going so I think there are ways you can add value.
What do you think of these kind of sites like Latest Casino Bonuses and Ask Gamblers? Do you have respect for them, do you think what they are doing is good?
AG: Honestly my opinion of what they are doing has changed over the years. I used to think I didn’t want to be an iGaming affiliate because you’re basically adding no value. Whereas now I’m seeing people my age, 25 years old, making twenty, thirty grand a month running these kind of affiliate sites and I’m starting to think, if you’re doing that then hats off to you it doesn’t matter whether you’re doing like an SEO or whether you’re adding that much value. If you’re running a successful business making money and you can live with the risks of it then I think hats off to you, I think it’s great.
I mean is Latest Casino Bonuses a great website? I don’t really think so but…
SM: Do you think it looks good?
AG: Do I think I think it looks good? I think it’s… I think casinos in general they want bright colours they want to keep players enthused and keep on the site and have these promotions working them in the face and so from that point of view I guess it’s good, yeah.
SM: Traditionally if you look at the psychology of a casino and yeah they like red colours, they like promotions, we do things on impulse but do you not think there’s a space for innovating and going against the status quo and trying something clean, slick, seamless? Do you not think that’s a valid approach?
AG: I just think historically and most experienced affiliates will agree with me, the ugliest sites have tended to perform the best and generate the most conversions. We’re talking about affiliate marketing here so generally speaking an ugly site doesn’t mean a bad site, an ugly site can mean it converts better. You don’t necessarily want to keep users on your site as long as possible if you’re an affiliate. You want them to bounce and quicken your links and so I think it’s a little bit different understanding user experience as an affiliate.
SM: I’m not so sure, you’re kind of referencing game… looking at the iGaming industry. If you look outside that niche there are sites who are really innovating in terms of design and their approach. You look in the training niche for example Tradimo and things like BabyPips, you look at the travel, insurance there are sites here who are a million miles away from Latest Casino Bonuses.
AG: In what respect then?
SM: What respect? In the sense I think they try and create a funnelled user experience rather than present people with…
AG: You mean they’re trying to keep users on site?
SM: Yeah, they’re trying to keep people on site. There’s a clear kind of I suppose user journey there, do you not think?
AG: Yeah sure I agree with you there but I mean at the end of the day it depends what niche you’re working in. If you run a bingo site do you want to keep bingo players on your site? I mean for what purpose?
If you look at sites like money.co.uk, these big comparison sites they’re not really designed to keep you on site because their service is comparing information quickly and with good accessibility and then finding your best offer and leaving. It’s the same with My Voucher Codes or these other kind of comparison sites at large.
So I think the idea you have to keep users on site and funnel them it’s not necessarily true. It depends whether you have a community, it depends whether you have games on your site, it depends on a lot of things.
SM: I mean I really do think it is important to keep users on site. Let me give you an example, one of my online colleagues, affiliates is running a very successful site in the slots niche, it actually ranks I think number two or three for slots and online slots. He basically says the way they’ve done it is through great user metrics, through very small bounce rates, a high percentage of returning visitors and he’s basically saying that people are reading and staying on his website. People are actually reading the slot reviews, people are going through his site testing out the pre-play version of the slots.
So that would suggest to me that it is important to actually keep people on the site rather than doing this old kind of… this old approach to the affiliate system.
AG: What I’m saying is user experience and keeping users on site is very important for SEO, that’s clearly the direction SEO’s going, user experience, having a brand. My definition of a brand is something that users come back to, so they’re searching for your brand, they’re coming back to it. They’re getting brand signals, they’re sharing it and Tweeting it but I’m saying as an affiliate though conversions don’t necessarily correlate with keeping users on site longer.
SM: If they’re coming that’s a good sign. There’s a possibility for instance with RightCasino that a player doesn’t just find their one right casino, they might come back. They might be interested in our tools, our multiple promotions with other casinos, we can chuck in a reward scheme some incentive to sign up to multiple casinos.
So do you not think there’s value there to be had?
AG: There’s definitely value, what I’m saying is if users are looking for a casino site then the faster they find it on your website the faster they’ll leave, right?
AG: If RightCasino hasn’t satisfied them and they’re looking for a second or third casino then yeah they’ll come back to your site but in order to convert them they’ll leave as soon as possible because they want to find the information quickly.
SM: Yeah but maybe they’ll be, “hang on a minute, this is… these guys genuinely care about finding my right casino and they’re giving me the tools, the information to make an informed decision”.
AG: Yeah but why would they stay on your site? Once they find… the whole concept of your site is to find your right casino so once they’ve done that surely they then go to the right casino.
SM: I would disagree, I think that’s concept…
AG: I guess what we’re talking about here is post-conversion value. They’ve already signed up through you but they want to come back for your other added value.
SM: Yeah as I say the RightCasino that’s concept in name only. We want to build a community, we want look at [**0:13:38] promotions, we want develop tools, apps to help people gamble. The whole blueprint for the site is to, as you say, to add post-conversion value. We want people to find multiple casinos, we want people to be telling their friends that this is the website if you want to find a good, honest casino.
AG: Yeah, I mean I think RightCasino is great. I think your news content is very original, you’re not just posted generic casino or bingo affiliate news and this is my pet peeve in the industry. Its affiliates who think they’re adding tons of value to their site by outsourcing some news editor to re-write news from other major websites and it’s just generic 200 to 300 word content.
Whereas on your site you’re actually writing entertainment news and features, infographics you’ve written a lot about Dan Bilzerian and you get a lot of natural Tweets. Didn’t Dan Bilzerian Tweet you or something?
SM: That was a nice…
SM: I mean yeah the strategy was essentially to news jack and build up a big repository of news sites. Just get some traffic activity going to the site and ultimately to get some links from things like celebrity publications.
AG: I guess that leads us to another point that’s worth talking about. Does social media traffic convert?
SM: I mean if you asked me that question probably a year ago I would probably say no but having actually looked at some analytics recently if you actually hit a solid volume of promotional posting. Postings like free bets, free spins… people are loving free spins at the moment and you post it with a quirky kind of picture and it gets re-shared. I think you do see some conversions.
We’re not massive gamblers so we’re not going to be on the lookout for the latest ten, twenty free spins at [**0:15:33] Casino or whatever but this is something, these are things like I think people are on the lookout for. So does social convert? Well not as well as other channels but I think it’s still important.
AG: Because I mean personally I agree that it’s very hard to convert from social media however I would like to point out to all the naysayers, I’d actually like to point out a few websites that we’re checking out for social media and conversions.
I’ve been to Oddschanger, they’re an odds comparison… I mean I’m not associated with these websites anyway by the way, I’ve just seen them I think their strategies great. So Oddschanger it does odds comparison and they regularly post exclusive odds and interested odds on their Twitter feed. You know like 10 to 1 for Man United to beat Leicester at home or something which are quite good odds and would get you to sign up.
There’s other websites, there’s a website new Student Money Saver and Save The Student, these are both student deals websites and they regularly post deals on their Facebook page and that’s how they generated the majority of their traffic because they post deals on Facebook and they get shared, they post freebies and they get shared, people comment on them. I know for a fact that generates most of their traffic.
I think there’s some other websites, I’ll probably bring them up later but I can’t remember them but my point is some affiliates have made a whole business. [**0:16:51] that is another website that provides betting tips on Facebook and it has a following of 200,000 plus people. We met them at the LAC last time and so I think there is a clear example where if you can create the following and add value on social media you can generate conversions.
SM: I want to move on to talk about SEO in the iGaming industry Adam. Just tell me for starters because obviously you’ve been in the industry for about five years now what it used to be like in the old days?
AG: I think the halo days, the golden days for affiliates like me and you were probably 2011, 2010, 2011 and back then you could just buy a website, buy a [**0:17:29] domain and it would be ranking third to second page within a few weeks. Content didn’t have to be good because you know you just buy a bunch of links on your digital [**0:17:39] forums or whatnot and your site will be ranking, so those were the golden days.
Panda and Penguin updates changed the industry a lot, Penguin in particular so I think that’s when we moved from just buying links to actually having to generate links through value.
Best practices now, I mean where to we start? Great content, well-structured and formatted, get your H1 vitals right and [**0:18:04] density etcetera. Good coding so mobile responsive, page speed and website speed is fast, I’ve noticed that has a massive impact on the rankings now.
I think you have to get this right from the start. I think if you start adding these features a year in then it takes a while for these updates to recognize the improvements to your website so I think new sites that launch now that tick all the boxes have a large advantage as well. I also think website age, domain age, bank link history and age that helps a lot as well.
SM: Want to focus a bit on on-site factors. So you obviously touched on the user metrics, things like bounce rates, returning visitors etcetera we’ve already talked about that when we were discussing brands.
What I’ve noticed, it’s something that a lot of affiliates seem to be doing. For people like the Big Free Chip List who ranking quite well, I think there a latest …They seem to hitting refresh regularly on their meta, their schema mark up on their page basically.
Is that one of the tips you’d advocate?
AG: I wouldn’t advocate refreshing just for the sake of refreshing but I think the point is Google likes content that is frequently updated, actually adding to it or updating things.
What Sam’s talking about here is a post-meta tag that shows you the date an article was published and also the date it was revised or last updated. I mean there’s a lot of plug-ins that you can get for WordPress that do this and so when you’re searching in the search results as well for Google it will actually show you the date it was updated. If you update content regularly Google seems to promote it more in the search engine results.
I think the lesson learnt here is not just to update for the sake of updating it but actually to… actually look at your biggest most important pages and update them frequently by improving them.
SM: There’s the old kind of assumption that Google likes the long form content, you know a page ideally in excess of 1500 words. How do you interpret that notion in the iGaming industry because a lot of affiliate sites who do have good rankings but their pages seem needlessly long, key word stuffed. The information is repetitive, it isn’t great so is it about finding a balance or what are your perspectives on that?
AG: I think first of all there’s no one way of winning in SEO now. I think in iGaming in particular I’m seeing two or three different strategies. I’m seeing sure Black Hat spam where the [**0:20:44] didn’t have to be that good but they’re just spamming away and hacking education, government websites getting those kinds of backlinks.
Then there’s affiliates like you I guess who are producing good content, really strong backlinks but it takes time to build the ground and actually get there. Probably take what, six months to a year plus to actually having rankings for use because of credibility and authority?
And then I guess there’s affiliates who just do good content, little bit of Grey Hat some link swaps here and there. I think again the results from that are going to take a while now.
SM: Okay, let’s move onto off-site SEO which is I suppose the big topic of contention. What strategy do you advocate for acquiring links?
AG: So I would say in iGaming I just think it’s really competitive so I’d agree with the likes of Nick Garner and David Naylor who say basically to succeed in iGaming for online casino type terms you need to be buying links. It’s just the way it is, it’s really competitive.
Yeah they’ll be a lot of people posting on [**0:21:52] and other sites that it’s all about PR and organic links and being a brand but I think when it comes down to it, yeah you can do these PR campaigns, you can do infographics but you need links to your money pages as you know Sam.
SM: We really just started out but I think there are ways of bypassing that, I think you can do infographics, create linkable assets and then links to those build up, obviously the page authority. Then if you successfully crosslink from those pages to your money pages I think that’s a good way of doing things.
My I suppose strategy would be the bulk of your link building should be I suppose White Hat content based. So you’re doing infographics, videos, interviews, creating tools that other webmasters might use and share. Then I think maybe say the other 20 per cent is where we can go a bit more Grey Hat to build links to the money pages and that’s where we might be looking at things like clever three way link exchanges with webmasters. We might be doing some paid editorials, we might be running sponsoring promotions, sorry sponsoring events, competitions in return for links.
I think as long as you’re not seriously spamming personal blog networks and hacking websites I think you should be okay because that’s the stuff that I’ve noticed that Penguin [**0:23:21] is targeting. It’s not targeting people who are buying links small scale. I think Nick Garner as you said, he coins the term “plausible deniability” which I think is a very nice way of looking at things. As long as you can say in the event of a manual inspection from Google, as long as you can plausibly deny that you placed these links manually and violated Googles guidelines then you should be okay.
AG: I’m not a huge fan of Nick Garner in general but I think he tends to promote Black Hat strategies and changes his mind every year. Changing what the best practices are, his best recommendations but then I think hindsight well that SEO changes every year so we’ve all got to adapt and change our opinions.
The thing I will say is that I think there’s a lot of weird things happening in SEO now. I’ve got a friend who recently launched a new bingo skin and it’s now ranking first page for probably the most competitive skins in online bingo. He’s not got that many links, as I say it’s not that old it’s only about six months old his bingo skin and yet it’s ranking for these terms. He thinks it’s down to offsite brand citations and brand mentions because he’s got hundreds of affiliates promoting his site and it’s the keywords your brand is linked with if you understand that?
So it’s like if you mention your brand with certain terms over and over again then you’ll start… people will associate those two terms together, with your brand and you’ll start ranking for that.
SM: I was looking at basically the rise of BGO casino and obviously I think were only about two or three years old which is quite young in the operator space and they’ve already got really strong first page rankings for things like online bingo, online casino and slots.
I was looking at their… analysing their backlink profile and they’ve done exactly what you’ve said. They’ve incorporated a lot of these brand plus keywords anchor text, things like BGO online bingo or BGO casino, BGO online casino. I think that is something that seems to be working at the moment but is it in the long run?
AG: I’m not just talking about links here I’m talking about unlinked brands citations. So when your brand is mentioned with certain keywords in the same paragraph you don’t need a link but Google will pick up on that and I think Rand Fishkin talked about brand co-citation like a year ago.
I actually wrote about it in 2011 on my blog, old blog AffiliateFYI.com so I feel quite good about that that I saw something before it actually came into the industry.
SM: Visionary, you were a visionary.
AG: Yeah. Seriously wrote about it.
SM: That’s something I find interesting and it’s something we’ve talked about in the past. What do you think is better for SEO? Do you think niche websites for instance focusing on things like free slots or mobile casinos, iPhone betting, are these better for SEO? Are you going to get quicker results by that approach or are you going to get better results from, for instance doing what RightCasino or BettingExpert do and focusing on a lot of things and being the big gambling authority? Which approach do you think works better?
AG: Honestly I don’t see a lot of all-in-one gambling sites that cover everything that are doing well. I’ve spoken to you about this and you mentioned gambling.com but I don’t remember ever any examples where a site covering every niche was ranking well.
SM: But you said that Google is looking at brand signals and favouring brands so the things that lend… the kind of site that lends itself to a brand is surely a more general gambling portal, no?
AG: Not really. It depends how specific you want to go, if we talk about gambling as encompassing poker, casino sports they always talk about sports bet niche. We can talk about the mobile sports bet niche.
SM: What I’m trying to say is you can’t build a brand out of something like iPhone betting or it’s very, very hard. You can’t really build a brand out of free slots but that’s not going get… it’s going to find it very to get…
SM: Well I think you’re going to find it very hard to get things like the kind of stuff that Paddy Power gets on a daily basis from running a website with free slots but I think you are going to get I suppose there is potential if you want things like a RightCasino or Betting Expert or something there is more brand potential with these sites. Do you not think?
AG: No I disagree I think as long there is enough content to write about and add value to and analyse and publish features and do research on then you can become a brand in anything. You have domain experts who write very niche blogs about new domains that are coming out that there becomes a brand now because people reference them in newspapers when they write features.
I think so as long as you can write about something in an authoritative original way I think you can become a brand.
SM: I’m still sceptical, I think you’re going to hit a brick wall by focussing on things like as niches, iPhone betting or something like that.
You mentioned content and I’m starting to pick up on something that Two Little Fleas seem to be doing a lot of recently. They’re publishing infographics and games, things like The Happiness Generator, The History of Bingo and they do seem to be getting some links from that.
What is your opinion on that strategy?
AG: First of all I’d say any site being successful in affiliate marketing has got to reinvest money somehow so whether that comes down to news and PR or infographics or some kind of community aspect. Whether or not it adds value I guess you’ve just got to reinvest somehow.
Two Little Fleas for people that don’t know are a bingo comparison site, one of the most successful right now, a great site, good user experience, good content. They invest a lot in their blog, they have a lot of blogs for mums like “Ten kits to dress up your kids for Halloween” etcetera and “Five tips for making apple pie”, I don’t know. So that’s their way of reinvesting in their site, they think that adding value for their core audience which is mostly mums.
From my point of view I kind of understand it, I think it’s hard to add value to certain affiliate sites like I referenced how hard it is to add value to a bingo site before. So I can understand it and if they’re generating good authority backlinks from their PR campaigns and infographics then again I guess that helps with the overall SEO campaign.
What do you think?
SM: I think it’s quite clever if you’ve got the moment to do it, why not? What they’ve done is really think outside the box, say okay this kind of content isn’t bingo specific but as you said it is relevant to their target audience and it’s been successful for them. They’ve got links from companies like the Huffington Post so it is working for them I think.
AG: I think the only thing I don’t like about the tactic is that if you’re new affiliate and you’re looking at these sites and you’re thinking I need to look at these big sites and copy what they’re doing to be successful. And if you look at that and you’re seeing, well they’re posting a lot of content that isn’t really relevant to bingo it’s not going to generate that much traffic.
I think that’s where it frustrates me a little a bit because if you’re a new player coming into the industry then it’s hard to imitate what they’re doing or understand it really. It’s kind of like money makes money, by having the money you can invest in these things and you don’t know whether it really helps your brand overall but it probably does.
SM: You wouldn’t want to be saying to a new affiliate, oh spend all this money infographics and [**0:31:17] at the expense of developing just a core product, your core reviews and your core content. So yeah that’s a good point.
Something I’d like to finish on really and I suppose it’s really a bit of a controversial subject but do you think there is a strong business case for spamming in the industry and setting up these churn and burn sites? Because looking at Penguin [**0:31:44] it hasn’t knocked out many spam sites, there are still a lot on the SERP’s. There’s a one page affiliate site, complete spam site, it’s hacked .edu domains and it ranks on the first page for online casino in French so casino en ligne and it’s been there for about six, nine months, untouched.
So it does still work so is there a case for still spamming?
AG: I mean I hate to say it but yeah I think there is. It’s horrible being an affiliate because we all used to spam and buy links and then there was the Penguin update and then we all tried to move White Hat and do PR campaigns. I’ve done successful PR campaigns myself but then you see people spamming now and it’s still working even after the Penguin update.
If you search binary options for example and there’s quite a lot of bingo sites that do it as well, especially in casinos and [**0:32:35]. Spamming just seems to work, there’s some smart guys who are just spamming and just making money now, they are ranking first page for competitive tips.
So I think you’ve got to look at things objectively and say, yeah they’re making money for their business model good on them. I don’t like to see people spam, I worked in binary options where it just became ridiculous. One of my partnerships on binaryoptions.com came to end for one of those reasons that all competitors were just using these strategies that we couldn’t keep up with.
I guess if it’s working which it seems to be for some people then yeah.
SM: I think one of the… what makes it difficult, what makes White Hat link building difficult in this industry particularly is that the people who would naturally share your content because the content is relevant are other affiliate sites and because these are rivals they point blank refuse to do it.
You’ve got people like Online Casino Reports, AskGamblers and they, you can create the best content in the world, you can create the best tool, software in the world. I could probably interview their CEO and I still wouldn’t get a link from their website. I think that’s a real shame because I think it’s harming the industry, if you’re not getting rewarded for good content that’s valuable to users then it takes away the incentive to do it. It just means, it actually encourages you to go down the spam route if you can’t build links that way, do you not think?
AG: I mean yeah that’s an age old argument for the industry, what’s the point in publishing good content and getting natural links when all your competitors in the industry aren’t going to link to you.
I honestly think it’s changed now, I think if you actually publish original content or research or infographics then you will get natural links.
We both proved it, I did a mobile gambling infographic on the history of mobile casinos and that got 20 links from lots of PR6 and 7 sites including Casinomeister and others so I think it is possible it’s just hard. I think you’ve just to focus on actual news worthy features and original research as opposed to just regurgitating content.
SM: Sure it is possible and we did a project with Dr Mark Griffiths and it did very well but I still find that the results are from sites that are actually outside the gambling niche and where the content has cross industry appeal. I find if it does get on gambling sites it’s usually gambling news sites like Calvin Ayre, iGaming Business but those links, relevant affiliate websites are really I think hard to get and I think it’s a shame the attitude. The attitude that these affiliates have it is a big shame do you not think?
AG: Yeah it’s a shame but I also think in general if you… I mean about a year after Penguin happened people saw the next version of link building after guest posts as in PR, online PR campaigns. A lot of people had success with them, I had some success with them but I think now more and more newspapers are failing to actually give you a link when they cite the press release in that if that write about it.
So I think it’s not just isolated in the gambling industry it’s now happening across news sites where they’re just failing to link to the original source because their editors are getting more savvy, they understand the SEO implications. You wrote a 2000 word article for a website once where they refused to give you a link.
SM: I find the people who are less receptive… the people who deny you a link are these new viral kind of online publications where the editors are digital marketing savvy where as the best chance you have of getting a link in these kind of more old school publications where the editors are actually journalists and people who don’t really understand the value of a link as much. So that’s a good point but as you said we hope that brand citations become as important as links in the future.
So that just about wraps up the discussion, you’ve been a fantastic interviewee. Just finish off by telling us your plans for the next six to twelve months.
AG: Well main projects, I’m launching an online training school on binary options so we’ve already got 100 plus videos on the site already. We’re providing a premium model for beginners and also a premium model for people that want to learn your advanced strategies that want to access our training tools. We’ve got some indicators and signals coming out now. See training niche is an easy way to add value than I get in iGaming.
I’ve also launched a graduate job site where people sign up and add their CV and the jobs come to them so it avoids the hassle of trying to apply and look for jobs and apply for jobs etcetera like we’ve all been there, right?
SM: Yeah for sure, absolutely. Okay Adam thanks a lot for your time this has been Sam Miranda Marketing Director for branchoutmovement.com interviewing Adam. Thanks a lot for your time, see you later everyone.