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Sami Kurvinen, the co-founder of online casino affiliate sites CasinoWizard.com and SvenskaSpelare.Casino is currently experiencing the implications of Google’s ongoing search updates.

He shares his insights with NEXT.io and what possibly can be done to bounce back. Sami also explains how these recent changes affect affiliates’ ongoing relationships with iGaming operators.

Imagine waking up one day and seeing your store burned down to the ground or realising that it has suddenly disappeared from the earth’s surface overnight and is no longer to be found where it once used to stand.

Anyone’s business affected by the recent global Covid-19 pandemic can also relate to this feeling.

This is also the new reality for business owners like myself and my business partners, who have been hit by the ongoing Google core updates as our websites are no longer to be found on Google’s search engine.

This is a disastrous blow to any business that relies on Google’s search engine, which has a 90% market share in the European search market.

We, as business owners, can cry about it, be angry, feel desperate, and feel that Google and the world are unfair. However, in the end, we are left with two choices:

· Option A: Give up.

· Option B: Do something about it.

Why is this happening right now at Google?

Google has two main objectives:

· Earn money through its paid ad search service.

· Provide the world with the best search engine.

In Google’s quest to improve its search engine, Google continuously releases major updates to its algorithms, with the final goal of giving users better search results.

During these ongoing updates, starting in October 2023 and again in March 2024, Google has turned up the heat even more than usual.

With the introduction of AI, the internet has been flooded with content of various qualities, and Google needs to act before it’s too late. The target of these recent updates has been to clean up and remove low-quality content from its search service together with websites that offer players unhelpful content and focus more on sales than helping visitors.

There is even more to it, but you get an idea. The aim is to improve search, but what if your sites are affected and you disagree with being a spammy or low-quality site?

What can we do about this?

You want to succeed and create a successful business that helps players and offers them value, but you end up feeling like a failure. What’s even more frustrating is that it’s outside your control.

OR is it?

You may think and truly believe that you are bringing something new and valuable to the industry and players through great content, but if Google doesn’t agree, then you are screwed.

Years of hard work and time invested are gone, but is it your own fault? Did Google kill our business, or did we bring this to ourselves?

The thing is that in reality, our businesses aren’t technically dead but (hopefully) temporarily put in an unwanted section, like professional football players who are sent to the stands to watch the game from the sidelines instead of participating in the game.

· Is this fair? – No

· Can you complain to Google? – No

· Can you do something about it? – Maybe

It is time for an action plan

If you really believe that your site is relevant and brings unique and helpful content to players, then you need to act and do something about this.

· Analyse your site.

· Compare what leading competitors do on their websites and how you can do it better.

· How can you improve things?

· What needs to be improved?

· Listen to SEO podcasts and learn from SEO experts by reading their opinions.

· Read everything that Google shares and try to understand their viewpoint.

· If possible, discuss with SEO companies that can give you some insights and help you.

· Most importantly, understand why your site has been placed in the unwanted bracket and figure out what you can improve to change this.

Will our websites be relevant one day and bring value to players and casino operators? We believe and hope so, but how do you know?

In the end, you need to decide if what you do brings unique value to visitors, and if this requirement can’t be met, it’s time to do something else.

How these changes affect the cooperation between affiliates and iGaming operators

Some operators aim to cut costs and stop legacy revenue share deals that no longer bring new value but only cost money.

This is done by adding new clauses to the affiliate agreements where the marketing partners are forced to meet certain requirements by bringing x number of First Depositing Customers (FTDs) per month or quarter.

However, if your entire business is put in quarantine, it will be nearly impossible to meet those requirements for some time.

There should be a discussion about some changes needed in this new environment where many websites are affected by these recent Google algorithm updates and instead look at affiliates on a case-by-case basis.

Small (or currently non-existent) affiliates can still grow and become partners of significant size one day. Decisions made in difficult times like this will affect who these affiliates will cooperate with in the future.

People often ask me if they should focus on the iGaming affiliate niche. My advice is that if you don’t have anything new or real value to bring to the table, then look at something else to do as this is brutal and extremely difficult in 2024.

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