Google doesn’t necessarily like online betting. And while they can’t disqualify any site just for being a betting site, they will make sure to examine the site’s backlink profiles closely, and if they find anything shady, it’s a manual penalty.

This is exactly what happened to BetOnline a couple of weeks ago. The site wasn’t banned from Google entirely, but its rankings for the most crucial keywords have somewhat vanished.

BetOnline’s Sins

Trying to solve this mystery, our friends at CalvinAyre.com reached out to BetOnline with some questions about their Google presence. In response, BetOnline’s marketing director didn’t have much to say except that the company is outsourcing part of its marketing efforts and that the Google problems are basically not the company’s fault.

On further investigation, it turns out that BetOnline was partaking in dangerous link building campaigns geared at getting a lot of site-wide links. This isn’t something Google likes to see with online publishers, to say the least.

Once Google found the footprint, they were able to identify all (or most of the links) and use them against BetOnline.

Now, that being said, BetOnline getting penalized isn’t as tragic as it might seem. Even though the company lost their rankings, there’s a lot of affiliate sites promoting BetOnline. Therefore, if someone searches for BetOnline, they will still find what they are looking for; with the only difference that they will get there through an affiliate.

Who Else Got Hit?

BetOnline isn’t the only operator suffering some search engine problems right now. As reported by an international digital marketing agency Stickyeyes, the recent algorithmic changes have caused many other gambling sites to lose their visibility in some way.

The cause seems to be very similar – using unnatural link building strategies, and buying links in particular.

Among the most well-known brands, 888 Holdings suffered a fall from being one of the most visible casino brands to position no.17 in the space of just one month.

Another site, Gambling.com fell from being fifth to outside of the top 100.

Despite all this turmoil, it is very unlikely for Google to penalize the market as a whole. In this space, it’s always somewhat a game of being lucky and not getting on Google’s bad side as an individual brand. So apparently, BetOnline is the “unlucky one” for 2014.

The lesson here for other affiliates is simple: If you want to do active SEO revolving around paying for various services, you have to be really careful about who is handling the job and what they’re doing exactly. A simple mistake by your SEO outsourcer can mean serious repercussions for your business.

BetOnline and these other brands are all massive companies, and whether we like it or not, they will always get some sort of special treatment. If they want back in, Google will pay attention to what they have to say.

But for the smaller guy, the story is completely different. The fact that “it wasn’t your fault” won’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things.


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