iGB Affiliate 55 Feb/Mar - Page 53

FEATURE AIDEEN SHORTT, PARTNER, RANDOM CONSULTING For the past few months, there has been widespread panic and fear-mongering about ad-blocking. Globally, over 300 million people have downloaded ad-blocking software, although estimates suggest only half of that number have actually installed it. While this has little effect on the day-to-day activities of an affiliate who is driven by search optimisation rather than cookie retargeting, it does have a more significant effect on the operators themselves, who are gradually seeing one of their acquisition channels being curtailed. This leads to an increased reliance on other key sources of traffic, and because television ads have, quite literally, a finite inventory, it’s possible that affiliates will see somewhat of a resurgence in importance. 2016 will also continue to see consumers growing more comfortable with voice search. Siri was a bit of a damp squib to start with, but it’s hitting its stride now and the phrase “OK Google” which kickstarts Google Now search, is being heard with increasing frequency. With global mobile usage reaching 3.2 trillion sessions in 2015 it’s very clear that mobile is king and trends on that platform are arguably the most important determination of acquisition success. Additionally, new products such as eSports and skill games will emerge from the shadow of daily fantasy sports, each demanding affiliate attention and generously rewarding the earliest movers. ONLINE CASINO REPORTS Upsurge in bitcoin use. Online gambling operators have continually proven that they value innovation, especially for payment methods. Well, bitcoin has already increased its presence among gambling sites since early-2015. Expect for the larger operators to integrate bitcoin in 2016 and for the rest of the industry to gradually follow their example. New opportunities in EU. Spain was the EU’s major player for online gambling regulation in 2015. In June, it has announced that more than 20 foreign operators would receive licenses. Germany could be the next country to regulate, but progress was halted in May 2015 when it emerged that 2014 legislation was holding up plans to award 20 licences to gambling operators. More all-in-one operators. Industry heavyweights have been providing multichannel gambling services for years, but now it appears that smaller operators are following suit. Currently, there is no shortage of operators that can offer sports betting, casino games, l ive dealers, mobile access, and more gaming options from the same site; expect to see the trend growing in 2016. Focus on user-driven SEO. Google is shifting its algorithms to ensure users find content that satisfies them beyond their first click. Therefore, Affiliate sites with a high bounce-rate which haven’t been optimised for mobile devices could struggle to drive traffic in 2016 and beyond. XX, XX JUDITH LEWIS, SEARCH DIRECTOR, DECABBIT xxxx Back to Basics: SEOs have been too busy looking at how to game the latest algo update when they should have been focused on fundamentals as much as updates. Although SEO is constantly changing the fundamentals remain the same, and many SEOs have lost sight of this. Technically Optimised: 2016 will be the year the technical SEOs will get to say “I told you so” as the move back to basics includes code optimisation along with canonicalisation and hreflang fixes, schema.org implementation and more technical SEO ‘fixes’. Link Love’s Labour’s Lost: There is a hard limit on what links can do for you. There is only so much £10k in link buying is going to do for your technically pants site no matter what you do. Once you’ve got technical SEO right, then start throwing money at links in a smart way (focus on the placement and the traffic flow from that, not just the link itself). Also, wheels still go ‘round and round’ so don’t discard old for new willy nilly. SEO Is a UX Issue: Focus more clearly on the user journey in 2016. The most common question I ask in client meetings is why do we need to optimise for this keyword? Why are we landing users here? How can we make it simpler and easier? Google rewards a good user experience so get smart about user journeys. Bold Branding Brings Bonuses: If 2016 doesn’t become the year your affiliate site becomes a brand, it could be the year you vanish. As more and more affiliates become brands in their own right, affiliates who have been relying on other traffic drivers could see CPC go up quite a bit and any organic visibility they had go down. iGB Affiliate Issue 55 FEB/MAR 2016 49