For a lot of people who visit the Web, online gambling represents one of the more popular forms of entertainment. As the Internet continues to grow and evolve, so does the iGaming industry. A lot has changed since the first half of the 1990s when the government of Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act, granting licenses to companies that applied to open online casinos.
On account that there are now loads of people who are interested in playing games of chance from the comfort of their homes, many serious entrepreneurs have started seeing value in this type of business. Thanks to that, the betting sites kept on getting more widespread and creative, but also far more competitive.
Today, getting people to visit your online gambling site has become a really difficult task. There are just too many players in the game and all of them are basically going head-to-head with each other for the very same users.
If they want to rise above everyone and present themselves as premium options, iGaming professionals need to figure out how to beat their rivals across all levels. They need to offer their targeted users everything the competition does – plus more.
If you’re in the iGaming affiliate business, this can be quite of a challenge. You cannot really reinvent the wheel, nor ask your partner to apply improvements to their business. What you can do is analyze your competitors and find out how to beat them in their own game.
The Value of Doing Competitor Analysis
In order to figure out how to provide unique value for your users and make them rank you above your rivals, you must first acquaint yourself with what everyone else in your industry is doing. Conducting a detailed competitor analysis will provide you with everything you need on that front. By identifying who your actual rivals are and evaluating all aspects of their business, you’ll easily familiarize yourself with their biggest strengths and weaknesses.
In this process, you’ll easily identify what makes your own offerings unique – and therefore, what kind of changes you’ll need to apply to come up with more enticing offers and prove to your targeted users that you have the very best deals for them.
Running a competitor analysis is a pretty simple and straightforward process. It’s all about asking the right questions:
Who are you direct and indirect competitors?
What kind of products and services do they offer?
What’s their market share?
What are their past and current strategies?
What’s their unique selling proposition?
What’s the best/worst part of their business?
How and where do they advertise their business?
How and where do they generate most of their sales and leads?
These are just some of the questions that you need to answer if you want to have a clear picture in your head on how you can beat your rivals in their own game.
Now, let’s discuss the actual steps of conducting a successful competitor analysis.
1. Identifying Competitors Through Keyword Analysis
As we already mentioned above, iGaming is an extremely crowded industry. There are literally hundreds of betting sites who invest a great amount of money in marketing in order to bring customers to their domain and pages. As an affiliate, you’re probably already familiar with a couple of brands that are your direct competitors. But what about those that you still don’t know about?
In order to identify your true direct competitors, you must familiarize yourself with exactly how players find their website. That’s where keyword research and analysis can come in handy.
Your task here is to identify which keywords people use that eventually lead them to your competitors. Maybe you already know what are the most lucrative keywords in the iGaming affiliate business, but we suggest that once again you analyze them individually in Ahrefs Keyword Explorer or Google Keyword Planner. For the purpose of this research, pay attention to keyword phrases that have high search volume and high CPC, as these are the most competitive ones. Make a list of these search phrases and categorize them in one sheet.
Once you get that sorted, the next step is to actually type those phrases in Google’s search and look at the results. Open up the results of the first three pages and manually analyze what these websites are about. In 99% of the cases, you will see these are iGaming affiliate brands, i.e. your competitors.
As an affiliate, your job is to rise above them in Google’s SERP and win the battle over users in order to earn commissions. Now that you know who you are competing against, you can start working on developing a strategy to drive the traffic away from their pages and towards your own.
2. Look Under the Hood
Now that you know who you’re up against for the same users, it’s time to take a look behind the curtain and see much overall authority each competitor has. Here, you can use the Ahrefs’ domain comparison tool to familiarize yourself with the total domain authority of your rivals and see how many referring domains do they have pointing back at their website.
This allows you to take a peek at their backlink portfolio and identify good content promotion opportunities for yourself.
Domain authority score and the number of referring domains are information that can help you benchmark your website. So, these metrics will tell you the degree of difficulty it will take to rise above your competitors in the search. If their overall DA score is high and they have a lot of referring domains pointing back to their content and pages – that usually means that you’ll have to work your butt off to beat them in the search.
However, if their overall DA score is not outstanding and they don’t have loads of links from quality domains, you actually have a legitimate chance to easily take their positions in Google’s search for desired keywords.
3. Keep Your Eye on Competitors’ Link Growth
Taking a good look at your competitors’ backlink portfolio is important, but so is keeping track of their link growth. Just like you, your competitors won’t stand still. As you’re reading this, they’re probably building new links for their pages and doing heavy work promoting their articles. Before you start fixating on a number of your links you’re supposed to beat to get ahead of your competitors, you must first figure out how many new referring domains each of your rivals is acquiring per month.
For example, if one of your competitors is generating 10 new links each month, that means that you’ll need to build almost twice as many to rise above them in Google’s SERP.
Of course, this is just a simple estimate, but you get the drift.
The idea here is to dig more into details and learn as much about your rivals as you can. Apart from the basic, familiarizing yourself with their link growth is also important. You need to closely follow their link acquisition curve to see if their growth is consistent. That is a solid indicator that they may have hired an agency for link building services. Shortly put, the more information you acquire on your competitors, their behavior, and digital strategy – the easier it will be to come up with an effective approach to beat them in their own game.
4. Pay Attention to Traffic
Now that you know the main details regarding your competitors, it’s time to take a deep dive into their traffic. Tools that could be of most use here are SEMrush and Ahrefs. It’s pretty easy: just type in the domain of your competitor and access data regarding the amount of their organic traffic, social traffic, referrals, or direct traffic. You can clearly see what channels they are utilizing the most and then manually explore their presence on social media or within online communities via simple Google search.
For analyzing your own website traffic, you can use Google Analytics.
The best part about monitoring and analyzing your rivals’ traffic is that it can open your eyes to loads of missed opportunities.
Apart from that, when analyzing traffic, affiliates should also focus on location. Understanding which countries provide the bulk of your competitor’s traffic can introduce you to lucrative markets where you still haven’t done anything. Most betting websites offer same types of services to people from every corner of the world, so it doesn’t really matter if you’re targeting people in the U.S. or India, as long as they are converting. However, generating traffic from India is a lot cheaper than generating traffic from the U.S.
5. Explore What Your Competitors Are Doing with Content
Once you make a list of your most relevant competitors, you should go through their blogs manually to see what they are trying to achieve with their content. It’s always good to keep this data organized in one spreadsheet so you always have them at hand and easily edit them throughout time.
Here are some of the things you can analyze:
The type of topics your competitors pursue
The format they use (articles, interviews, infographics, video, etc.)
The length and overall quality of their content
The phases of customer journey targeted by the published content
The popularity and performance of separate pieces of content (you can use a tool such as Ahrefs to identify top performing pages)
Their publishing dynamics
Comments and interactions they managed to generate
This can be incredibly helpful to you if you’re struggling with coming up with relevant blog topics. Also, it’s advisable to see how advance your competitors are at optimizing content. Perhaps some articles they’ve produced seem great, but aren’t properly optimized with relevant keywords, which is definitely a missed opportunity.
The point is, you should analyze their mistakes in order to avoid making them yourself. If you manage to identify a certain content gap and you have to resources to satisfy your target groups’ interest in that topic, you can potentially hit the bullseye.
Skyscraper technique is one of the most effective methods for gaining huge visibility and significantly increasing the amount of web traffic, although it can be extremely hard to execute it properly. Who knows? Start by analyzing existing content out there and see if you can do it. It’s definitely worth a try.
Over to You
As you can see, having an eye on your competitors is not only a way to push your iGaming affiliate business forward, but it’s also crucial for keeping it afloat. If you commit to doing your competitor analysis right, you can expect better results for yourself in the future. Agility and a will to learn are the key to success. If you don’t feel like going an extra mile for the sake of generating more commissions, you can fall miles behind your competition. Being an iGaming affiliate demands effort, but is also incredibly rewarding.