What kind of skill set does it take to be a successful iGaming affiliate manager?
These days, it seems that being a jack-of-all-trades is a key component for maintaining both relationships with affiliates; as well as your own sanity.
Besides top notch customer service skills, good affiliate managers have to have their fingers on the pulse of the latest gaming news; current SEO best practices; as well as emerging trends like mobile and crypto currencies.
To get a feel for what life is like for affiliate managers we recently sat down and talked with Dan Strohl, a Senior Affiliate Manager with Ace Revenue, to get a feel for what’s happening in the industry.
Strohl made his way into an affiliate manager position after working on Ace’s SEO team and had plenty of SEO in his background before that. That background comes in very handy as he helps guide affiliate partners through the always-changing SEO landscape of today’s web.
So what’s his approach to SEO look like?
The recipe for SEO these days: Take a bowl of High quality content mixed with schema, cover or ‘embed’ some YouTube videos and other social media posts, add a dash of fresh links, a pinch of Google Authorship, and garnish with some delicious social signals. You’ll be ranking for your site and strong keywords in no time!
It sounds funny, but it’s actually a pretty good approach to which he adds:
In all seriousness, there’s a lot more to this, and every case is different. I always approach each SEO project by breaking it down to On-Site vs Off-Site SEO strategies first.
Strohl goes on to advise SEO practitioners to stay current on best practices by reading SEO blogs, but not to be afraid of taking a risk every once in a while:
It’s all very cliché, but you have to use your imagination to be successful in SEO. SEO does involve risks, but you just have to make sure that those risks taken are not going to impact your WHOLE business. And don’t ever put all your eggs in one basket
When asked specifically about SEO trends that impact gaming affiliates, Strohl says pushes are definitely the big thing, especially Google Plus. He says he’s see plenty of affiliates whose rankings are composed almost entirely of Google Plus postings.
The ever-shifting SEO world is, indeed, a challenge for Strohl’s affiliate partners and that’s something he doesn’t see changing anytime soon.
It’s going to get tougher before it gets easier with lots of changes with how you measure where your site is, compared to where it could be or should be. Since Google got rid of keyword data, it’s been even more difficult to see how you’re ranking.
So what can casino affiliates, especially the newbies, do to make an end run around the SEO minefield? Strohl says that maintaining a close relationship with their affiliate managers is absolutely crucial and is something they should be thinking about from the very beginning:
Make sure you have a good connection with your affiliate manager right off the bat. Someone who you can count on for a quick response, is available in various ways to be contacted, and has that extra personal touch. If they make you feel like you’re special, you’ll feel more motivated to work hard for them, and they will work hard to make sure you’re happy.
That’s a rule that applies equally for established affiliates, too. Strohl says they need to be upfront with their affiliate managers about what their expectations are and what they need from a business perspective. In doing so, the affiliate manager can pass along crucial information and that helps keep revenue flowing no matter what else changes.
Change is, of course, a constant in the gaming business and Strohl points to three big changes that are having a big impact on casino affiliates including mobile gaming, crypto currencies, and regulated US igaming.
Mobile gaming is the trend that’s already here and Strohl’s partners are already seeing its effects on their bottom line and SEO strategies because it makes gambling from practically anywhere incredibly easy.
His advice for affiliates who are adopting mobile SEO tactics is to, “…think like a mobile user,” and be certain that your formatting is adjusted for various devices.
As for crypto currencies, like Bitcoin, Strohl sees their potential to seriously disrupt the current payment processing establishment:
Crypto Currency is going to eliminate the need for 3rd party payment processing. This, in my opinion, if it becomes as popular as I think it will be, will allow all sorts of countries that have trouble getting money on sites able to, and quick.
Strohl and the team at Ace Revenue are also keeping a very close eye on the emerging regulated market in their neighbor to the south, the United States. He sees that market as both a challenge and an opportunity for established gaming companies saying:
I think it’s a wake up call to many companies that want to be around for the many years ahead. Its going to force a lot of gaming companies to compete with very well established businesses. Its also going to open up a very large window for new affiliates that want to get involved in such a thriving industry.
In short, successful affiliate managers like Strohl need to know a little bit about everything if they want to stay on top of their game.
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