Most online gaming companies need to rethink their SEO strategy if they are to survive in the competitive gaming industry. Many do a really good job of marketing on social media, but then neglect to focus on their website’s search engine rankings. And whilst this may not be as important for the large, well known companies, it can lead to poor traffic for the smaller ones.
Besides using keyword level SEO, a company must also do things like engaging in high level link building, using data visualization and pushing its content using social media platforms. This implies building and engaging with online communities. However, since these strategies are new and unfamiliar, companies need some education and internal learning on them before they can implement them successfully. Below are ways on how to implement these approaches.
Having a Long Term View
A few years ago, using unethical tactics to improve one’s SEO rankings was common practice among online gaming companies. Despite the risk of penalties from search engines, companies considered this behaviour to be worth the risk if it resulted in high rankings for a few months. After being busted by Google, all it took was a phone call and some cleaning up to have the penalties lifted, and rankings restored.
Today, the situation is different. Google’s policy on penalizing websites is now stricter, particularly for repeat offenders. The resolution process is also longer, and can take up to several months to complete. As a result, companies penalized for unethical behaviour today have it rough. They face penalties and poor rankings after the lifting of the penalties.
The situation is even worse for gaming companies which usually operate many websites. If the same strategy was used across all websites, Google will penalize them all. The result is a ruined reputation, and worse still, a PR nightmare if the mainstream media catches wind of the story. Rebuilding its reputation and trust with clients after this can take months if not years.
Link Building (Content Marketing)
It is impossible to compete in the online gaming industry without links from high quality websites. This is in contrast to the common trend where gaming companies focus on the number and not quality of their links. Most form in-house teams tasked with building a specified number of links a month. Others go as far as hiring agencies to do this for them. Unfortunately, links built this way are rarely checked for quality.
The second mistake companies make lies in the URL targets for their links. The links, which are low quality to begin with, often lead to poor quality landing pages without proper citations or visibility. As a result, these pages get little social traffic. If this pattern of low quality signals continues for a couple of months, it eventually captures Google’s attention.
To avoid this eventuality, brands should limit links to low quality blog networks. Although they look different, these links often belong to the same network or webmaster. Finally, teams charged with link building must always check the IP ranges of all backlinks.
Landing Pages Should Focus on Content Not Keywords
Online gaming sites often fail at this by over emphasizing keywords and not content in their landing pages. For instance, a landing page will have the keyword in its URL, title, H1 and H2 tags, image tag, and in both external and internal links.
With this strategy, competing gaming companies often end up using keywords that are similar or very close. This makes it hard for Google to differentiate the competitors and assign appropriate ranks to each of them. A better approach is to ignore what everyone else is doing and create unique keywords and use them sparingly on a content-rich landing page.
Using Content Strategy
Gaming sites rarely add content to their revenue generating and core traffic driving pages. Instead, they focus on a blog or on a page featuring a large ‘download now’ button. What they should be doing instead is applying content strategy.
In addition, gaming sites should evaluate the value, bounce rate, revenue, and loading speed of the site. Also, they should consider if the page is mobile phone friendly, engaging to users and has undergone multi-variant testing.
Optimizing Gaming Sites for Portable Devices
Gaming companies are good at creating apps for phones and tablets. Sadly, this expertise is hardly evident in their blogs and websites. With the number of mobile devices in use today, all websites must strive to be mobile-friendly.
Online gaming companies like Sun Bingo love using affiliate campaigns where affiliates use banners and links to direct traffic to their gaming site and improve their SEO ranking. While these campaigns are effective to some extent, they often involve using low quality affiliate websites.
To avoid Google’s penalties, gaming sites should pass all links through a separate domain redirection. This blocks the links from passing SEO value to them.
Third Party and White Label Websites
All parties involved in white labelling a gaming company’s content should rewrite the content afresh. If they fail to do so, Google may regard the content as duplicated.
The world of SEO marketing has changed greatly in the last few years. Keyword rich landing pages no longer make the cut. Google too has tightened the leash on website penalization. To survive these changes, gaming sites must shift their focus to content strategy, link building, proper affiliate campaigns, and mobile-friendly content rather than purely focusing on social media.