Senior SEO Consultant

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Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is often relegated to simply being about ranking content in high positions on Google for long periods of time as part of a sustained and ongoing campaign.

Whilst this is mostly true, the same SEO techniques used for longevity can be adapted to create “short burst” campaigns with content to target specific users at times in relation to real world events, such as sports.

With restrictions being placed across multiple markets on how bonuses and other incentives can be used to entice not only FTDs (first time deposits) but also repeat custom, short burst SEO campaigns can have real value in the gambling sector.

No-one writes content to be nice

Using sports as an example, if you search for a specific fixture on Google, you’ll notice that the search results change over time. This is down to two factors; a) the time sensitivity and time decay of certain pieces of content (you don’t want the pre-match preview post game), and b) the changing intent of users themselves.

Typically, 24 hours or so before a fixture, news outlets publish guides previewing the game – including information such as where the fixture is taking place, when, and what TV channels and radio stations the game will be broadcast on.

This content has a very short shelf-life as once the game has finished, or in most cases has started, it becomes redundant as the search intent of users moves towards wanting to know the in-game status and live results. It’s also important to note that they don’t write this short-life content out of the goodness of their hearts, and they know when they write it that the life expectancy is that of a Mayfly.

They write this short content to attract users to their publications for a number of reasons, including brand exposure with the hope of the user returning to satisfy their evolving intent around the topic – but it’s also to drive impressions on the ads they display, as for many publications this is a key source of revenue.

This same approach of time sensitive, short-life content is not owned by the publications and can be leveraged by betting companies in the same way.

Optimising for time sensitive content

Generally, with content you optimise for the long game, you aim to create an authoritative piece that ranks highly for a long period of time and acts as an evergreen source of traffic.

In principle, creating time sensitive content is the same. It needs to be authoritative and offer value to the user and answer not only the question they’re asking, but also related questions – as the publications do.

Rather than doing it for the same reasons, the aim here is to do it for brand exposure and to introduce the customer to special odds and offers through CTAs. This way you are introducing more people to the brand, and your product, through non bonus related content.

There are however other key considerations that you need to take into account when creating time sensitive content.

Understand the event timeline

In order to be effective around a specific sporting event, you need to understand the timeline and how users typically engage. For all companies and sports this will be different, but this will be data you have access to – as you’ll know when users typically start to place bets on events and when the cut-off point hits. This data will help inform your publication timeline.

Typically, around a sporting event, the key phases of the timeline are pre-, during, and post- event. This content doesn’t have to be limited to static articles, and as you’re a betting/gambling website, it stands to reason you have some topical relevancy for sports due to the content you naturally produce.

From a technical perspective, it’s also important to understand that Google doesn’t crawl your website every day, so when you’re publishing time sensitive content you need to include additional steps in your publication process to maximise its chances of being crawled, processed and indexed in time to be effective.

This can be done through submitting the URL in Google Search Console, and also sped up by tweeting the content through your brand Twitter account.

In 2015 Twitter and Google reached an agreement known as a firehouse deal, and there are correlations between tweeting out fresh content and URLs – and Google picking them up faster. If you have a high authority brand account doing the tweeting, it stands to reason (and data correlates) that this process will occur faster.

Anticipation is key, and comes with learning

To overlap the first point about understanding the event timeline, you not only need to get the content published and available for the changes in user intent and search behaviour but be ready ahead of time.

Some events you can prepare in advance for better than others, but by doing this you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

A good example of this would be a major cup final or the Superbowl. The outcome is either team A or team B wins, and for the most part 60 per cent of the content may not change – by having assets ready for both scenarios you can be lightning fast to publish content almost in-sync with the change in timeline and user expectations.

Much the same way as anticipating the event and potential outcomes, with time and data you’ll get better at knowing when to change emphasis across multiple sports.

Taking American sports for example, you know that once the World Series starts and the MBL starts to wind down you want to start introducing more articles around the coming NFL season, and likewise during the NFL play-offs, begin to focus more content around baseball.

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