SEO review: Ultimate Poker
iGaming Business North America article featuring Alain Portmann, and his analysis on ultimatepoker.com SEO efforts
The launch of Ultimate Poker, the first legal online site in the United States is a huge step forward for the U.S gambling industry and a major coup for Ultimate’s parent company Feritta Interactive. In the larger context of Digital Marketing, Feritta’s management of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) could serve it well, given the overlapping demographics of UFC and online poker – 21 to 25 year old males. Furthermore, their brand ambassador partnership with professional poker player and former magician Amir Esfandiari, should provide them a strong affiliation to leverage. Finally, their recent agreement with Income Access a large affiliate marketing network should give them a good platform to gain awareness, audiences and customers.
From a search engine optimization perspective, Ultimate Poker’s site www.ultimatepoker.com will be referenced by future organizations entering the space – the stakes are high given the online gambling market in the United States that is expected to reach $10 billion a year nationwide by 2017. This piece provides a perspective on what is working and isn’t working relative to key principles framed against our experience in the competitive and large UK online gambling sector.
Search engine optimization is no longer a technical practice that can be isolated from the overall Digital Marketing mix – it is at the center of a sound Content Marketing strategy. While the traditional rule of “relevant and widely distributed content is king” still applies to a sound SEO program,
- Social media is now an effective amplifier;
- Search engines are leveraging hundreds of signals to decide ranking including external signals such as links to content, tagging and sharing of content;
- Content assets require a diverse library including blog posts, articles, white papers, videos, podcasts, and infographics;
- Measurement is becoming more complex, requiring multi-channel attribution and influence analysis; and
- Long term foundation optimization efforts have to be combined with short term initiatives, given the frequent and complex changes in the Google and Bing algorithm.
My assessment methodology is driven by four core pillars which in my experience determine the ability to benefit and adapt to leverage organic search traffic.
- Visibility and accessibility - Can search engines crawl through the site and index content, avoiding page errors, blocked pages, redirects leveraging meta-data and semantic context.
- Content integrity and structure - Ensure content integrity by avoiding duplicate content, implementing canonical tags and identify pages with low word count that can be interpreted as irrelevant and of low quality.
- Social distribution and linking - The distribution of content through social media platforms helping build inbound, internal and external links and relevant content.
- Site performance and architecture – The load speed and uploading of your site across multiple devices as well as the flow of site’s content and navigation – aiming for a flat site architecture with a good interlinking between pages of the same level. A recent study showed that Amazon.com has achieved a 1% increase in revenue for every 100 milliseconds that were taken off from the load time of their pages.