“Rather than looking at it as SEO or influencer marketing, if you blend them together you can achieve much better ROI and player value than if you segment the two.” 

That was the stance adopted by Lee Beirne, Head of SEO at Ladbrokes Coral, as he joined a panel at this summer’s CasinoBeats Summit which asked – Is SEO becoming redundant?

The focus of the session, sponsored by bet365 Casino, was to debate the role of ‘old school SEO’ amid the rapid rise of social media and stream-based influencers.

Wesley Kock, Key Account Manager at Internet Vikings, admitted that traditional SEO and acquisition methods can be more predictable than using influencers, depending on how these influencers portray the brand, or how they behave.”

Eitan Gorodetsky, Acquisition Director at Betsson Group, picked up on this point with reference to the use of influencers on live streaming platform, Twitch.

He said: “At the end of the day, any marketing tool or channel just aligns with what you want to achieve. Social media or influencer marketing can be done for acquisition purposes. You can use live streamers, you can use micro influencers, but in my book the way to do it is to use ambassadors as your influencers. Those that resonate with your core markets. 

“And if you do it in social media, it is important to use ambassadors that understand that media channel. For example, an ambassador in a Twitch stream might not work, but a real ‘Twitcher’ that knows how to connect with the audience – that is the proper way to do this.”

All of our panelists advocated a balanced approach to getting the most out of SEO and riding the modern day wave of influencer marketing. However, underlining his continued support for SEO, Beirne added: “You need a technically good website and budget behind that. If you’re not willing to invest in that, you’re not investing in your future.”

A key agreement among the panelists was that a proper SEO campaign takes time. On this point, Gorodetsky reacted to a concern raised by Beirne that the industry has become all about “instant gratification”.

“For SEO, you really need to change your mindset – it’s not about short term revenue,” he said. “If you build SEO programs, you are building a product. You are actually going away from trying to get quick revenues. 

“Building a product is like building a house. If you are an affiliate looking to diversify your program, start by talking to someone who knows what they’re doing who can give you strategic input over at least two to three years.”

Our session moderator Sean Bianco, Co-Founder at Gain Changer, surmised that with influencer marketing you can make some money now, but if you stop investing you will stop seeing results, whereas if you invest in the long term you see long-term value.

Beirne agreed: “With paid media, you have a limited budget. You can almost guarantee how many FTDs or traffic you’re going to get. With SEO, we have an article on our website from three years ago still generating traffic and FTDs.”

The panelists also debated the role of regulators in determining the future for both SEO and influencer marketing. Kock cited the example of the Netherlands, where new regulation will dictate that influencers can never have ‘X’ percentage of their viewership be minors.

Gorodetsky left us with these interesting thoughts: “Regulators are making life more difficult for SEO. For example, in some markets, we can’t link build like we used to. The other side is if you ask any acquisition person what they care about they will ask you – what’s the CPA? 

“When you come into the SEO world you will see small CPAs maybe, but it’s not the way to look at it. Where’s the product development, the hosting, the content, the link building? 

“It becomes a big one and can take years to see results, but this is why companies find it so hard to invest – or sometimes they start and then they stop. Instead, you should look at SEO as I’m doing product marketing. SEO is the bi-effect of doing it properly.” 

Is SEO becoming redundant?