The mobile casino revolution and SEO
Mobile gaming is increasingly becoming an essential part of casino affiliate marketing.
In early 2010, Juniper Research predicted in their report titled “Mobile Gambling Markets: Casinos, Lotteries & Betting 2010-2015” that mobile gambling will become a $48 Billion industry by 2015.
Are you ready to take advantage of this enormous opportunity?
Although not all online casinos have built complete mobile gaming platforms so far, operators and affiliates are quickly moving in that direction.
For example, during January’s ICE gaming conference just two months ago, some of the world’s key major casino operators, software providers, and poker rooms announced the following releases:
- Bwin’s first-ever iPhone real-money poker app,
- A new Android mobile poker app from Microgaming,
- William Hill’s Android online betting app,
- Everymatrix’s new mobile sportsbook, and
- Fortune Lounge’s Italian-based mobile gaming app.
And that’s just early 2011. Down the road, almost every company in the online gambling world will be developing this technology, either on its own or through third-party software providers.
Of course, some premier online gaming brands have been mobile for a long time now, including CAP Listed Programs JackpotCity Mobile, Casino Tropez Mobile, 32Red mobile and Intertops. Fortune Lounge’s mobile casinos, Royal Vegas Mobile and Platinum Play Mobile, are available on iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices, CAP reported earlier this year.
Mobile gaming and SEO
So, how is marketing mobile casinos different than standard online casinos? The principles are the same, of course: finding a niche, and targeting the right keywords.
But it’s also quite a bit different. Mobile browsers have different versions of websites — and online gaming rooms require different technology that has to be built out separately.
It should be noted, of course, that mobile SEO is in its infancy. Many webmasters don’t even address it. For years, Internet webmasters have been torn on the concept of creating mobile content: whether to set up a new version of a website just for mobile, or to optimize the existing site to make it compatible for both.
Google itself calls this concept “Websites with only Desktop Experience Content” versus “Websites with Dedicated Mobile Content” in its explanation of how mobile SEO is different than standard search marketing. Considering that mobile technology creates a necessity for at least two types of mobile content (standard and smartphone), the decision remains difficult for many webmasters.
Much room for improvement
In fact, SearchEngineLand’s Bryson Meunier believes that Google has failed to explain how it crawls and indexes mobile websites. As a result, he suspects that mobile SEO is largely absent or improperly addressed by most webmasters and affiliate marketers.
“The current smartphone version of Google search returns a lot of results related to Mobile, Alabama when you do a navigational search for a mobile site,” Meunier writes.
“I tried to find an example of a popular site that has a lot of search volume from smartphones … but of the 30 sites I looked at that showed up in the Google keyword tool as having high demand for their brand plus the word “mobile” (excluding software and mobile carrier queries), all sites delivered mobile sites to smartphone user agents.”
Meaunier concludes that many webmasters haven’t built out mobile versions of their sites yet because they’re concerned about duplicate content and link equity that may hurt their primary website. Also, he cites differences between stylesheet use by mobile browsers that may also be contributing to this disconnect.
“Mobile users require a mobile user experience, and without it they might get content that is confusing or irrelevant, and will convert at a lower rate,” he concludes. “If being crawled and returned for certain mobile users is enough for you, continue to do nothing and you will probably be ‘mobile friendly’ in spite of yourself. But don’t call it SEO.”
What’s that mean? As painful as it may be to consider the work this involves, the truth is that mobile SEO is still largely undefined. That means it’s largely up to online marketers to figure out the best way to optimize for mobile search, just as we’ve blazed hundreds of new trails within the parameters of Internet marketing.
Casino affiliates do have this edge: the gaming industry is embracing mobile more quickly than the online retailing world and many other niches. In the past year, many online casinos and software providers have eagerly embraced the concept, as we’ve seen above. Many more mobile sites and networks using new mobile site technology is the result, and that’s only going to increase.
And as mobile is certainly the wave of the future — “2010 was the third consecutive year that global mobile data use not only grew but nearly tripled,” as CAP reported last week.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Mobile online casino marketing represents an opportunity exciting and lucrative enough to make learning a few new tricks worthwhile.