Content, SEO & Personalization with Joonas Karhu
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Do you think personalization of Bojoko.com has been a major factor in the success of your site?
When we were planning Bojoko.com we knew we wanted to do things differently.
From the very beginning, one of our top priorities was to make Bojoko an affiliate that is personable, accountable and human. We decided to use our real names and photos – unlike the majority of other affiliates – so that when we’re engaging customers and communicating with our readers, you can more visibly see the people behind the site.
With a face and name attached to our content and communication, we can truly own the work we do and build the trust that is so critical to any affiliate business. This ownership flows throughout the company right down to our SEO, where it’s been a powerful tool in building trust for users. Particularly when it comes to the long play, having the same people you read and know is something we’ve found our users value.
Not many iGaming affiliate sites have real people behind it, do you think Google and users are finally rewarding sites that have a personal element?
A lot of people in our team have been lucky enough to meet our industry peers at events and be featured in a wide range of publications, so people know we’re a reliable source to go to and a trusted business partner.
When it comes to SEO, for a very long time many search-first websites – regardless of industry – have developed strategies to game Google’s search engine, be it through things like excessive keyword stuffing, crafty backlinking and more. However, it led to a lot of arguably low-quality content that cared more about ranking highly in search than doing what matters most: giving your readers the information they’re looking for.
Many affiliates in the iGaming space have followed this pattern and it made sense at the time, it worked. But in the past year or so Google has been very clear that those days are gone, and the ‘Helpful Content’ update in August last year has begun the shift to “content written by people, for people, rather than content made primarily for search engine traffic”.
Writing for your users, giving them the information they care about, and doing it with a strong personal element has always been a foundational part of what we do at Bojoko, and it’s great to see sites such as ours that value trust, real people and real benefits to the reader be rewarded.
What are your philosophies on SEO and how it should be done?
We knew we needed to start with strong technical foundations, building on solid ground sets you up for success. This means constructing a reliable site that loads quickly on mobile and browser, with a responsive design focused on providing the best user experience regardless of what device you’re using.
With a robust website to work from, we decided that creating great content that’s designed for the long haul would be the best way to develop our site into what it is today. This of course includes a rich catalogue of evergreen content, but also taps into the personal element we value: our writers build relationships with their audiences over time to the point where readers actively seek out our content over the article that’s published the fastest or is gamed to top the search rankings.
We still follow all the latest topics, trends and best practices so that we can learn to serve our users even better, with content of that nature still benefiting from our reader-first, highly personable approach.
What part of your content strategy do you think is working well?
For Bojoko, it’s keeping the user in mind every step of the way. We never create content stuffed with keywords or sly backlinks designed to beat search engines. We always ask ourselves what our reader wants from any given piece of content, and provide the relevant information from the player’s perspective as clearly and briefly as possible. Knowing the industry inside out, and distilling that down for your readers and players is crucial to delivering our mission.
There are many affiliates that have no educational background in business whereas you have an extensive business background. Would you say this gives you a bit of an advantage?
Over the long term, it’s definitely an advantage. Anyone can ride the rising tide, but that can only get you so far for so long. Managing all stakeholders and aspects of a business, and leading an organisation long into the future, requires a solid business background through first-hand experience, preferably backed by strong academic knowledge or training – which is incredibly important in such a highly competitive field.
Would you advise future affiliates to pursue a degree in business or what other path would you suggest in trying to launch and grow an affiliate site?
Founders don’t necessarily need to have a business degree from a university, but if you continue to grow well, at some point, you’ll need to bring in someone to help. It’s beneficial to take a business course or two so you have some technical knowledge and can speak the same language as the business person you bring in. Head of Operations or COO type roles are suitable positions for this.
Founders usually have a good vision of how they want to change the field they’re in so I’m definitely in favour of Founder-CEOs. Smart leaders know where their knowledge gaps are, and either find ways to fill them or surround themselves with intelligent, capable and complementary people that plug those gaps. As your affiliate site scales, it’s important to have a team with diverse skillsets so you can bring out the best in each other and continue to grow.
Some of our recent interviews are here
- How I became an iGaming affiliate with Havard Lehn
- The legal betting landscape in USA with Mike Murphy
- SEO tips for affiliates with Matt Diggity
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