This month, Blueclaw’s PR & Content Marketing Manager Hayley Stansfield and Senior SEO lead Sam Raife were delighted to host the latest webinar on why there’s no need to pay for links in the iGaming sector.
For those who couldn’t attend, or those who would like a refresh, here are the main things for you to take away and consider within your next link-building strategy.
The webinar started with Sam providing a detailed, comparative view of the true value of paid links in the iGaming sector, with a focus on the real difference in cost and the potential risks of paid links when compared against an organic PR approach.
To put this into context, Sam ran through what a typical ‘broker list’ of paid links can look like, a traditional ‘black-hat tactic’ that is often still used to purchase links. However, rather than using such lists to consider paid opportunities from the websites included within them, Sam recommends using them to blacklist competitor analysis against it, as well as using them to monitor metrics to see which sites cause issues with clients websites.
For example, website ‘heyuguys.com’ is a domain often included in such broker lists commonly featuring iGaming content marketing assets on its site. Despite its relatively high Trust Flow value of 42 and Citation Flow of 52, the broker sets a price of almost $4,000 for a link on its site. Yet, when Sam dug deeper into the site’s structure and how it displayed such links on its website, he found that each article had a very similar pattern in the amount of text, number of external links and repetitive anchor text; something that will impact the quality and trust of a brand’s backlink profile if they were to secure links from such sites over a long period.
Sam also stressed how everyone who has access to the same site uses the site differently to manipulate the search engines, meaning that although some sites are stricter than others, you can’t guarantee the quality across the whole site.
Sam’s breakdown of an ‘organic’ link also showed some fascinating insight as to how some organic links that don’t appear to meet excellent SEO standards are still a damn sight better than paid links.
For example, Sam showed a snapshot of a recent Blueclaw campaign that earned coverage across almost every national and regional news outlet in the UK. Yet, the problem was that over 100 unique sites decided to run with almost the exact same copy in each of their articles, something that can often cause warning signs to SEOs and clients over ‘duplicate content’.
However, sometimes in organic SEO, content does get copied. Sam explained how journalists are lazy and will syndicate a story across various publications if they can, as it’s going to look better on them. With that said, journalists don’t sit and write a new article for every publication. Only SEOs doing guest posting do that.
But that’s okay, because that’s what an organic SEO strategy and backlink profile is supposed to look like – varied. Specifically, a paid link marketing campaign will only ever offer you specific metrics that you’ve set out yourself.
You may be looking to secure links from a website with a minimum DA of 20, SEMRush traffic of over 50 and something super targeted to your brand, and may only be targeting publications that have linked to your competitors, when in fact, the beauty of an organic PR approach means securing a wide range of metrics that are going to provide you with a much more healthy and genuine backlink profile.
And remember, there’s always a reason why the most trustworthy publications, such as national news outlets, don’t provide paid link opportunities – because they’re better than that!
Hayley then ran through her top tips on how to create stand-out campaigns to organically earn top-tier links that you don’t have to pay for, using tactics that can easily be replicated across any brand in a hard-to-market sector.
The presentation started off by discussing the many challenges that content marketers face when producing PR campaigns for iGaming brands, such as: reluctance of some journalists to feature a gambling brand (and therefore believing it’s easier just to buy links), generating ideas relevant to the brand and the challenge to target specific landing pages and keywords within campaign activity.
However, Hayley advises there’s no reason why your campaign activity should differ from any other brand, you just need to have a robust planning strategy in place. This includes always justifying your content marketing activity to explain why the content has been produced on behalf of the brand, which means making sure that:
This justification also includes using crucial SEO insights when planning and producing a campaign.
At Blueclaw, every content project (no matter how big or small) goes through a substantial discovery phase. This means the SEO strategist will provide the PR team with several insights to ensure that the campaign will benefit the wider SEO strategy as best it can.
Some of these insights include identifying the most linked-to pages and pages most likely to rank for prioritization in link-earning and off-site SEO to identify what’s likely to have the biggest impact, conducting a competitor link gap analysis to see where your competitors are securing links to help inform your ‘wish list’ media list for when outreaching campaign material.
However, it’s also important to work with the brand to ensure these findings are also in line with any other existing messages and marketing materials a brand is already putting out there. So it’s all about finding the right balance.
When it comes to the production of a campaign, there are three main pillars for proven success, which we call the’ E-A-T’ methodology:
Each of these pillars can be met with the use of reliable and interesting data. There are various sources of data that can be used to create a successful campaign, but the key is to use the data to create a story that’s not been done before. For example, it’s always useful to see what data a client has available, as this is always going to be new and unique.
Historical data is another great way of producing a new and exciting story, as historic reports and data points can be extrapolated and used to create predictive data and futuristic headlines.
The most crucial part of Hayley’s talk was the importance of including many metrics when reporting on a campaign. As a project should always be in-line with the wider SEO strategy, holistic reporting is key to seeing what overall impact that digital PR activity is having on your website. With this in mind, wider reporting metrics should include:
To implement a content marketing approach that doesn’t require you to buy links, it’s crucial to always justify your content marketing efforts, use data wherever possible and work closely with SEO to set goals and objectives.
For more details on our tried and tested content marketing approach, click here to watch the full webinar. Alternatively, you can book in a free, non-obligatory 1-to-1 session with our senior team, who will be happy to discuss your link building strategy and how we can help break the cycle of paid links – firstname.lastname@example.org.