Casino SEO Is Dead!

For years, gaming properties have been pushed to do casino SEO (search engine optimization) and pay-per-click advertising to drive traffic to their website.  In 2014, that is a catastrophic mistake.

As a casino marketing director or key executive, you probably remember when you were pressured to get your website found by Google and maybe even Yahoo.  You were told to throw marketing money at casino SEO so your site would be found by your customers when they typed in the appropriate “key words.”  You may have hired outside services to promote your site so you were listed in the top 10 search results in Google.

focusing on casino SEO is a mistake

Casino SEO Is No Longer As Important As Casino Reviews

Well, news flash!  Casino SEO is a waste of time, energy and money!

You know that Google is always making changes to its algorithm and you also know what that means – what worked yesterday may not work today.  You may hear names like penguin, hummingbird or panda and people saying that because of these Google changes, your website has dropped in the rankings.

At one time, Google looked for specific words in a website and, if it found them, decided the site must be important.  Thus, Google used these words to identify your site and rank it.  This is very logical, but people gamed the system and Google had to make changes.  The reason I mention Google so often is that it accounts for 70 percent of all search.  So Google can have a huge impact on your casino and it should be an important part of your strategy.

As a result of its most recent changes, Google now uses a variety of “review” sites to help decide which sites to direct people to.  This means that if a casino is five miles away and it has a 2-star ranking on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor or Yahoo, Google search results will show this casino lower than one that is 20 miles away but has a 4+ rating.

That’s right, your reviews on other sites now not only directly affect a customer’s buying decision (80 percent of people have changed a buying decision based on poor reviews online).  These reviews also mean your website that you spend hard-earned money on and time driving to the top of Google search with great key words and links could be falling daily if your casino is generating negative reviews.  Google is valuing reviews above key words and that makes it really difficult to make the top of the search results.

Most casinos are still using comment cards to collect customer feedback at a time when guests under the age of 95 are more comfortable using their smartphone or iPad to post a review online.  They don’t want to hunt for a pen and fill out a comment card that they assume no human will ever see or respond to.  Until casinos embrace technology to help them proactively solicit real-time customer feedback, they will be stuck trying to post “follow up” messages after guests have ranted online.

The time that was spent on casino SEO over the past few years is becoming less valuable by the minute.  Casinos that want to be found by new customers need to embrace new tools and solicit customers to share their feedback.  It won’t be long before the competition catches on, too.  You need to utilize this hidden opportunity to get found online and generate new guests for your casino.

Marty Baird

Lydia Baird

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