Online marketing, SEO & making money with your gambling blog
I’ve been active in the gambling niche, at the time of writing, for 12 years, both as an employee of an online marketing agency (working with gambling clients, but also other clients, not just gambling), as a freelancer (Fiverr, Odesk, while in-between jobs) now as a full time gambling blogger (my full bio, details can be found at the homepage if you are interested, at the “About Simon” section, hidden behind the drop down menu, my entire career path is there).
Long story short, I know my shit.
I don”t want to pad this blog post with bullshit basics you probably heard a 100x times, you know: “focus on content and quality”, “onpage + links” etc.. just to lengthen the article to make it over 1000 words. If it doesn’t show up for the target keywords “gambling seo”, “gambling online marketing”, “how to make money with gambling SEO, online marketing”, “how to make money with gambling blogs” that’s fine, I’m not monetizing this niche (the gambling SEO niche, this is mot an online marketing agency).
I will focus on actual true nuggets of wisdom, valuable experience I gleaned from working in this niche for 8+ years.
So without further ado, here is what I learned:
1., How difficult it is actually to make your gambling blog show up for competitive keywords in search engines?
In short: almost impossible.
It’s really easy to ‘rank’* first page for keywords that do not have not enough good, high quality pages ranking for it. Not enough to fill 1-2 search results pages. E.g.: for “Iceland gambling”, “Iceland online gambling”, “Iceland casinos”, “Iceland online casinos”, I’m usually the first search result, but even if I’m not the first, I’m definitely on the first page. But my United Kingdom gambling guide, which I worked on 4-5x longer, is 7000+ words, took me 10 days to put it all together, is not even indexed! That probably illustrates the difference quite nicely.
*ranking definition: SEO term, it means to appear on the first page, in prominent positions, for the target keywords in search engines
Let that sink in, 10 workdays of working 9-10 hours a day, 7000+ words of well researched content, on point on-page optimization, webpage published and constantly updated, twice a year for about 5 years now, is not even worthy to be indexed**. (I’m updating the UK guide regularly for 5+ years). Yet, a page I put together in one and a half days (the Iceland one, about 1200 words), not my best work, not updated regularly (updated only once per 2-3 years), is killing it… That’s difference between a competitive keyword, and non-competitive keyword, night and day, heaven and hell. But the amount of money I made on both is the same, €0… :).
*indexing definition: another SEO term, indexing means that search engines put your content officially in their database, and from then on, it can show up in the search results, if a page is not indexed it will never show up, even if you search for the exact title of the article.
The easy to rank for search terms really won’t make you any money, not even pocket change.
In the case of ‘neglected’, not competitive keywords, and long-tail keywords*** it’s true what Google tries to show down our throats: “Focus on quality content, build a great, informative webpage, that is fast, has great up to date content, and focuses on good user experience, instead of building links and optimizing for SEO.” You probably heard this line right? If you are not an absolute noob when it comes to online marketing, you have this showed down your throat.
***long-tail keywords definition: if a target keyword is let’s say “gambling online marketing”, a long tail keyword would be “gambling online marketing tutorial” or “gambling online marketing how to”etc…, it’s the longer, more specific version, which almost always has significantly lower search volume
It’s only true in the case of the non-competitive search terms, the ones that make you no money! The keywords not worth ranking for!
If there is enough high quality webpages to fill around two, one and a half pages of search results with really good, well put together, properly researched content, then it’s almost impossible to rank for that keyword anymore. As a newcomer.
In that case only links (and quality links, by quality links, I mean a shitton of really good links,! 100+ for the really competitive keyword) can help you, and even then, it’s not guaranteed to work. Google loves the status quo, and it discourages newcomers from breaking in (the old guys get all the natural link acquisition, they get links even without trying, another reason why it’s dumb what Google says, as a newcomer in the gambling niche, you never get links naturally, no matter how good your content is).
Conclusion, takeaway: Its best to just forget the really meaty, “seductive”, big keywords. Blasting your site with links is not gonna be enough anymore, and by doing it, you are risking a Google penalty. Not worth it in the long run.
You just have to learn to let them go, if you are an “also ran”, latecomer, tardy to the party, like me (the really big players are active in this niche for 20+ years, I’m a baby with my 9+ years…) all the good keywords are already taken, get used to it. Not even God will make a new gambling blog rank long-term e.g.: for “online casinos” or “casinos bonuses” no matter how good your content is, or how much links you build. Not happening.
What can you do: Nothing. If your website is not established, (has good reputation in the eyes of the search engines, is at least 5+ years old, ranks already first page for niche keywords, has a good link portfolio, perfect onpage optimization, good technical SEO) it might help if you blast it with really expensive high quality links, the €200+ per link, premium guest post kind.
(Slow and steady link building should be part of your weekly routine already, not talking about that when I say link blasting, but don’t expect long-term success with concentrated, intensive linkbuilding, your gains will be temporary).
That’s the only thing you can try. But if it ain’t working, don’t force it. You will only regret it.
Think of link blasting like salt, use sparingly for that perfect flavour, but use it too much, and you will have to toss the whole thing out.
2., How much money you can actually expect to make as a full time gambling affiliate blogger?
People make much less money with gambling blogs than you would think! People often think a gambling blog makes €10 000+ per month, but apart from the top 1% of the lucky few (who deserve it, they are at it for 20-25+ years in some cases, and many have venture funding too, e.g.: casino.org, they make quite a lot, €100+K per month), but the 99% of people make less than €10 000 per month, on average, I do too (I make around €3000 per month, before taxes, on average). In fact, I bet more than 50% of the less than 5 years old gambling blogs only make €1000 per month, probably less, based on the keywords I can see them popping up. Therefore, most affiliate blogs are one man blogs, except the really big ones, active for 10+ years, or the ones who have venture funding (Vegasmasters.com – pretty abandoned nowadays though, probably ran out of money) or are owned by bigger online media companies, or are the side venture of a bigger company e.g.: a big marketing agency, a company active in that niche (yes, many gambling blogs are actually owned by the same companies who own one or many online casinos, they just hide behind shell companies), a media company etc… (e.g.: Askgamblers.com – they are not independent, somebody put a lot of money into that site one point).
Conclusion, takeaway: Don’t expect to make a lot of money. Don’t fall for bullshitters and liars who claim otherwise. Be realistic.
What can you do: Nothing. Be humble, and be grateful for what little you make. If you’ve just started out, don’t expect to make more than a few €100 per month for a very long time. It’s not easy, and nowadays, with how crowded and competitive this niche is, it’s unlikely that you will ever make much more.
3., Is it still possible to break into the niche with a new gambling, casino blog?
It’s not worth it anymore. If you are thinking about starting a gambling affiliate blog in 2021+, just don’t do it! If you don’t already have:
- 1., a personal gambling blog that makes money,
- 2., relevant knowledge, skills and years of experience in SEO, online marketing, content management,
- 3., a LOT of money (€100 000+ but preferably more, to break into the gambling niche I would advise €500 000+).
If at least one of these is not applicable to you, then don’t start at all! Just not worth it, you will just fail. Take it form me, someone who is doing it for 9 years.
You will only waste your time, you won’t make enough money to do this full time, ever. And doing this on the weekends is not possible, you won’t even make pocket change if you do it as a weekend blog. The niche is too competitive, and you need to push out content on the regular. Good, well-researched, “beefy” content, which is time-consuming and exhausting.
You wont have the time and energy on the weekends to do it, your blog likely won’t even be indexed by search engines. All the bigger keywords that would allow you to make enough money to do this full time are taken, and are very competitive. It’s impossible to compete with the established websites with a weekend blog.
You would only have a chance in an extremely small subsegments (e.g.: live online bingo, online scratchcards for mobile, Kenya online casinos) and even if you dominate your small niche, the revenue won’t be enough to do this full time! (Unless you live in a very poor, and very cheap third world country, which explain why there are so many Asian and African gambling bloggers nowadays…).
It’s just how it is, the online world is not the wild west anymore, hasn’t been for 10+ years now. Actually it’s very corporate, very competitive, very territorial (e.g.: gambling blogs don’t really link to each other, have you noticed that? – because it’s not friendly competition anymore, it’s a fight for survival).
Not to mention, every online gambling website has it’s own blog nowadays, many of them really professional, making the situation even more dire. A good example of this is Netent, which started to put their own games online, and they started monetizing it. This destroyed the free to play casino games blogs overnight. (I suspect many of the casinos they send traffic to are actually owned by them through shell companies btw….).
Conclusion, takeaway: Don’t start a gambling blog:
- if you are new to SEO,
- if you don’t have a lot of money to invest,
- if you only have time to do it on the weekends.
If you live in the developed world, get a college degree and get a job, you will be better off financially.
And managing a gambling blog is not a glamourous job, about the same as a shitty 9-to-5 office job, barely any difference, except you make less money (of course, only true if you live in the developed world, where you can get a decent salary as an employee).
What can you do: Get investors and/or get experience by working for an online media company, or an online marketing agency doing SEO, content creation, content management, on-page optimization, link building, keyword research, creative writing, design, front end development. These are the most important, almost daily tasks for a gambling blogger. Pretty much the only way to break into the niche successfully nowadays: money + relevant online marketing experience.
But I don’t recommend it, it’s very crowded, it’s an oversaturated niche.
4., You will reach your limit!
And I’m not talking about reaching your limit as in, doing the same shit at your workplace, every day, for 10 hours. That will test you too, push you to your limit. Happens at every workplace, sadly. And being a gambling blogger is no different.
At one point, you will reach the maximum possible number of webpages that you can realistically manage. For me, it’s 600 (only about 450 of them are indexed despite my best efforts).
A webpage not updated for 2-3 years is neglected, and more often than not, just dead weight, just taking up space on the hard drive of your server. It doesn’t get you visitors, search engines often no longer index it, it doesn’t get you links. And most importantly, won’t make you any money! No point in keeping it around.
EVERYTHING! EVERY SINGLE FUCKING WEBPAGE! Needs to be updated, fixed, improved regularly, ad infinitum. Better get used it it.
Even if I could manage to properly fix, update, rewrite one page per day, and I would be working all day, every day (which you can’t – speaking form experience, I tried….) it would still not be enough to update ever single webpage, every year on this website (that’s why I have to do 2 pages per day, and somehow find the time for some link building too, I usually end up working 10+ hours, 6 times a week, and I still don’t have time for everything, and I don’t make enough to hire a full time employee). That’s how you know that you have reached your limit, when you have so many pages that you can no longer update them all at least once per year.
Eventually, you will reach this limit too, and that changes everything. Because, if by the time you reach your limit, you are not making enough money to get by, it’s time to say bye-bye to your dreams of becoming a full time gambling affiliate blogger. If you don’t make enough to live off it when you hit your limit, you failed, and it’s time to pack your bags and go back to being an employee.
So make every page count, because there is only a finite amount of pages a person can realistically manage.
/Of course, if you have venture funding, rich people, some big company in the background footing the bill, then getting a return on their investment is your primary goal. That’s a different story, with its own set of problems, advantages. And not an easy thing to pull off, in this oversaturated niche. You would be better of buying an existing gambling website, and pouring money into that, instead of starting from scratch – IMO. Just like they did with Wizardofodds, when the original owner retired, but by the looks of it, it didn’t really work out as much as they wanted. Probably wasn’t a good investment./
So what can you do to make your gambling blog successful? How can I make a lot of money with my online gambling blog?
The same way you make money with every affiliate blog. There are no special tricks just because this is a gambling blog, it’s just harder, it’s affiliate marketing on the highest difficulty level. It’s quality content + on-page optimization + link building and working your ass off, that’s the only thing that works long-term, just like in every other competitive, “unsavoury” niche (short-term, black hat, shady stuff works too, but never long-term, not worth it, forget that, Google is finally at the point where they are pretty good at excluding the bad apples).
UPDATE 2021: Even though I still agree with the statement above, lately, in the last few years, there are some exceptions. Some people base their entire YouTube career (e.g. Slotlady, Lady Luck) on playing slots and other casino games (many Twitch streamers also), and many of their videos have millions of views… I have no idea why anyone would watch something like that, willingly, especially the live streamers, who basically play slots for morons & minors while fake being overly exited, shout at everything, and act overly emotional, like a 12 y old (and probably a huge chunk of their viewers are 12 y olds…). But YouTube and livestreaming for under 30 idiots might be a new viable alternative to the same old content+onpage+links. And if you are new to the gambling niche, you would be better of trying to break into that niche, while you still can. It will be crowded very soon, probably by the time you are reading this it’s already too late.
But for the rest of us, bloggers: Really good content + on page optimization + link building = Success
Thank you for reading,
Simon, a.k.a SimonTheSorcerer, full time gambling blogger since 2012
Last updated: 2021-03-24
Job offers: This will inevitably lead to a few job offers I know, because (probably due to my ‘about me’ section on the homepage) I get at least 3-4 job offers a year. Whenever I write about my experiences, online marketing, SEO stuff, this doubles for a year.
Keep in mind, I’m not looking for a job, and unless you are willing to offer €3000+ per month (I make about that with my blog monthly, I don’t settle for less) I’m not interested. I would have to be desperate to go back to the usual poorly paid, long hours, stressful, deadlines, kind of job that is characteristic of this industry. I would only consider a €3000+ per month job. I would only accept less if it’s a 4-6 hours per day, comfortable, low stress job, with telecommuting, where I only have to be in the office 2-3 days per week, at most.
I know, this dream job doesn’t exist. 🙂 Please stop wasting your time contacting me with bad €1000-2000 per month, stressful, 9-10+ hours per day, typical ‘9-to-5’ office jobs. Not interested. Thank you.
I’m not full of myself, this is just the reality of my situation. It would have to be an exceptional job to give this up. I hope you understand. And I hope you will be able to quit the ‘rat race’ too, one day (it’s worth it, but it’s not easy to get there, 90% of people don’t have what it takes).
/From now on, I will link this page to people who contact me with job offers, this way I have use for this unmonetized page, and I don’t have to explain myself over-and-over again. :)/
If you liked this blog post, it answered your questions. Please link to this page if you mention it on your website.
I don’t monetize this page at all, and a few links to help the overall search engine visibility of my gambling blog would be nice. Won’t make much of a difference, but you know, every little bit helps. Appreciated. Think of it as a ‘thumbs up’, or saying “Thank you”.
If you have questions about anything related, drop a line in the comments section, I will get back to you if your question intrigues me, but I’m really busy, so no promises.