In this month’s SEO Tracker, Stickyeyes analyses trends in the online casino search market as two new names hit the top
The most visible brands in the casino sector have changed significantly since our last review in February, with the previous three most visible brands all seeing decreases in organic traffic and being overtaken by two brands who have emerged from the field to build a respectable lead over the rest of the others in the sector.
Despite not ranking among the top 10 brands for organic traffic in our last analysis, 32Red has seen a remarkable 621% increase in estimated monthly clicks to lead the sector.
Meanwhile, NetBet has also seen a significant increase in traffic, leapfrogging previous leaders 888casino, Paddy Power and Grosvenor Casinos to rank as the second most visible.
For the second consecutive analysis, search volume across the market has increased, with a 6% increase in searches resulting in 674,810 monthly searches across the 353 keywords analysed.
32Red surprises casino sector
It’s fair to say that new leaders 32Red have somewhat come out of nowhere. Now on 54,500 monthly clicks (up from 7,562 in February) and ranking for 299 keywords in the set, the brand has seen a sharp increase in visibility throughout 2023.
But unlike brands in some sectors which experience a sudden increase in organic visibility typically as a result of a high ranking for one or two high volume keywords, leaving them vulnerable to losing huge amounts of traffic with ranking fluctuations, 32Red already had a sound base given they ranked for over 300 keywords in February.
The difference between then and now is all in where the brand ranks.
Whereas in February, 32Red only ranked in position one for one keyword, and in the top three positions for another 12, it now has 31 position one rankings to add to a further 38 in the top three. A phenomenal development.
This alone would help any brand make significant strides with its organic visibility, but it’s the quality of the keywords in those high-ranking positions which have seen 32Red go from ranking outside of the top 10 to leading the whole market.
Ranking in positions one and two respectively for two of the largest keywords in the sector, ‘slots’ and ‘casinos’, has afforded them great visibility with high-intent users seeking to use its services, and the combined 10,733 monthly clicks that these two terms alone bring in surpass their total organic traffic from February.
NetBet leapfrogs previous leaders
Following closely behind, NetBet has also seen a huge increase in traffic, from 33,987 in February to 49,852 now (a 47% increase) to rank in second. This 47% increase in organic traffic has seen it overtake the three brands that were ahead of it in February, and while not as dramatic an increase as that seen by 32Red, it still far outpaces the overall increase in search interest seen across the market.
NetBet ranks for a smaller number of keywords than other big names in the sector, with only OLBG ranking for fewer out of the top 10 brands. This means that increasing the number of ranking terms since February (the brand now ranks for 267 keywords rather than 226) has had a significant impact on its visibility, placing it in front of a wider range of potential customers.
NetBet has also managed to maintain its average weighted ranking, balancing the newer (and lower ranking) keywords with improvements for the keywords that it already ranked for. Similarly to 32Red it has seen a considerable increase in keywords where it ranks in impactful positions. For position one rankings alone, the brand has gone from 10 keywords to 36 since February, including the high-volume ‘casino’.
Increasing its keyword profile further while maintaining its average ranking would see NetBet challenge 32Red for top spot in the sector, and the brand could also benefit from changes in search interest in ‘casino’, which while remaining one of the most important terms in the sector, has seen a significant decrease in search volume.
Top brands see visibility decrease
This huge drop in search volume for ‘casino’, going from 135,000 to 22,000, has affected traffic for a number of top brands.
Even brands which saw an improvement in ranking for the term, such as 888casino moving from position three to position two, took a hit on traffic given the extent to which search volume for the term has changed.
Such a large decrease in searches while the market as a whole is seeing more interest evidences an evolution in search intent within the sector. We’re seeing a greater volume of searches for more specific informational terms such as ‘how to play blackjack’, as well as searches moving away from a few crucial keywords to a wider range of mid-volume keywords.
This could be a result of users having a more specific idea of what they are after when they are searching, so they look for specific games, services or supporting information rather than starting with the broadest keyword to start their search journey.
Behind the two new leaders in the sector are the three brands that saw the highest volume of organic in our February analysis, and were hit the hardest by the change in searches for ‘casino’. There’s now a noticeable gap between the top two brands and the previous top three, while those three brands are only just ahead of a further three chasing brands.
All of these three brands have experienced losses in visibility since February, with 888casino going from 45,259 to 38,173 monthly clicks (a 16% decrease), Paddy Power going from 41,469 to 26,234 clicks (a 37% decrease), and Grosvenor Casinos going from 36,499 to 26,949 monthly clicks (a 26% decrease).
While all of the brands have seen decreases in traffic, 888casino can perhaps feel hard done by as it lost 10,147 monthly clicks from the decreased search volume for ‘casino’ despite improving its ranking position. While it still would have lost top spot if search volume remained the same, it would have been the second most visible brand and seen a greater increase in traffic than the market average.
Overall, the key takeaways from what we’ve seen in this sector are:
Some things are out of your control. You can improve your ranking for the most important keyword in your sector, but if fewer people search for it then your traffic can still take a hit.
That being said, following trends in search intent can help you spot when intent among your customers changes, and can help you earn an advantage over competitors. Following a broad approach allows easier scaling of focus as and when search intent demands.
Increasing the number of keywords you rank for will help visibility, but improving where you rank is the key to seeing big improvements.
To find out more about how Stickyeyes could help your brand to establish and maintain organic growth in the casino market and beyond, please reach out to William Conboy, director of igaming by Stickyeyes at [email protected].