Link building in the gambling industry: tirades and techniques

Last updated: 04th August 2015 at 12:57pm
Link building in the gambling industry: tirades and techniques

I find link building in the gambling niche challenging, frustrating and time-consuming.

This is because the relevant websites that *should* share your content are fellow gambling affiliates, and they often point blank refuse to link to a ‘rival’.

This is a misguided, destructive attitude. It not only harms affiliates investing in proper news and content, but also removes the incentive to do it as you’re not getting rewarded. This benefits spammers, and actually makes spam a more financially viable option. This, of course, damages the industry as a whole.

I want a culture where the people who put the effort in get rewarded!

Okay, rant over.

Despite the challenges, link building is still very rewarding when it comes off.

I’m an advocate of a largely white-hat, content-based approach to link building. If you’re looking to build a sustainable, legitimate brand and have the coffers to play the long-game, then this is the right strategy. I’ve previously shared my tactics at the LAC and over on MOZ.

You can, of course, make a strong business and financial case for churn and burn ‘spam’ sites.

You can also make a case for combining white-hat strategies with riskier, ‘grey-hat’ strategies such as paid advertorials and discreet link exchanges to squeeze juice to your money pages.

But these are discussions for another day.

Here are the link building techniques I’m experimenting with right now.

‘Viral’ linkable assets

A linkable asset refers to a piece of on-site content that people genuinely want to link to, either because it’s funny, controversial or helpful etc. Examples include interviews, infographics, tools (we recently created a nifty bonus calculator for fellow webmasters), e-books and parallaxes (if you’re feeling super ambitious).  Even the Buzzfeed style “what kind of x are you?” quizzes which just rely on quirky content and basic filtering systems.

The pros of linkable assets? They’re evergreen, receive social shares, the links are 100% natural in Google’s eyes and you can achieve good visibility for your band. Assuming they attract links and thus page authority, you can then crosslink relevant terms to your money pages.

The cons? These things can take time and money to build, especially if you’re outsourcing to an agency. You’re relying on solid research, creative copywriters, designers and potentially developers. They can also bomb (believe me, I know!)

That said, they don’t have to be complicated. This ‘ how to save your smartphone battery ’ page is extremely simple, yet very helpful and practical.

Bingo affiliate Two Little Fleas are prolific in their creation of linkable assets and I have to say – I’m a fan. Their ‘rise and fall of bingo’ scrolling infographic' is gorgeous, and though their ’ 14 unbelievable marriage proposals’ isn’t directly relevant to bingo, it’s relevant to the industry’s target audience: mums. It’s a great piece of link-bait, and has secured links from the Huff Post and Cosmopolitan.

Remember, your content doesn’t have to be gambling related, it just has to resonate with your target audience.

There are also plenty of ways to market and amplify your content. Pete Campbell from Kaizen SEO agency explains that for as little as £150, you can create effective campaigns on paid discovery platforms such as Taboola and Outbrain.

Interviewing authority figures

My most successful link building campaign for to date sprung from an interview we did with gambling psychologist Dr Mark Griffiths.

We racked up three hours of footage, touching on gambling psychology, addiction, legislation, games etc. We conducted outreach to news sites, universities, psychology blogs - in fact anyone who had ever published Dr Mark’s material!

The results were impressive: we got links from MOZ, Boston University, Nottingham Trent University and Gamasutra to name but a few.

If you’re not interviewing industry authorities (and then publishing the videos and full transcripts) then do it now. Academics, psychologists, software developers, affiliate business owners, politicians…these are just some of the kind of people you can approach. You can then follow their web footprints to identify leads for outreach. I recommend Ahrefs as the best backlink analysis tool.

Broken link building

Broken link building is often flagged by SEOs as having a great success rate. After all, your outreach is doing webmasters a favour.

The way it works is pretty simple: perform searches such as “gambling resources” in Google and scrape pages that contain broken links. Politely email the webmaster notifying them of the broken link, and offer your content (if relevant) as an alternative.

I haven’t experienced much success with this in the gambling niche, but then again I haven’t done it on a large scale. Old university and legal resource pages (that mention gambling psychology and legislation respectively) are ideal targets, but webmasters are notoriously unresponsive.

PR commenting

This is strong tactic, and not too time-intensive. But you have to be patient, and accept that a lot of journalists are going to pie you off (they get harassed daily by PRs).

Again, the strategy is straight-forward: keep up date with the latest gambling news and buzz through Google alerts and services such as BuzzSumo.

When you clock an interesting gambling article, fire the author a tweet and/or an email commenting on it. You can praise or contest the facts in the article – a good journalist should value both. Offer to act as a source for future articles. Don’t ask for a link / credit for your website, this can come later in the process once you’ve established trust.

The difficulty is finding someone who is genuinely knowledgeable about the gambling industry, in particular more complex topics such as legislation. Hopefully you, or one of your editors / writers can do the job!

PR commenting has got me two nice wins: a link from a journalist at investigating the POC tax and the impact this will have on PPC marketing, and a link from a journalist at researching bitcoin gambling.

That pretty much sums up the link building techniques I’m focusing on right now. A bit of an abrupt end, but I’ll be touching on more techniques in the future, and also throwing in some more detailed case studies.