Google Suggest changes impact on poker SEO

As you may have noticed, Google now includes offerings from Google Suggest on the homepage of google.com.  Google has had Suggest around for years so you may have used it before, but now it’s live for the masses and, for a lot of people, this will be the first time they’ve been exposed to the technology.  Being in the poker world, I am, of course, interested in how this will impact the poker SEO world.

For your viewing pleasure, I took a number of screenshots.

First, a few big keywords:

google suggest poker google suggest online poker google suggest free poker

First, the biggie… “poker”. This is one of the most searched terms on the internet, so it’s very significant that PokerStars is actually appearing twice in the top 4 suggestions. It’s a little odd to see PokerRoom and PokerTracker sneaking in, but they should see nice traffic boosts also. The fallout from a huge term like poker could be a TON of visits every day. I expect Full Tilt, Party and others will do whatever they can to get into the suggest box for poker.

Online poker is a little different. No real rooms in the list, just a good list of mid-level keywords that could be a good idea to target from this point forward. While I’m sure “online poker tips” was an okay keyword before, it wasn’t anything really special… that could change if it keeps its spot here in Google Suggest.

Free poker is a huge term, although a relatively low-value per click term. People looking to play for free just aren’t that valuable to poker rooms, although one reason for having the .net free rooms is to eventually convert the free money players over to real money. For that reason, rooms would much rather have the free player traffic than not have it.

One significant thing I notice here is that “online poker 66″ is showing up in both online poker and free poker. I just don’t get it. For a long-time, PokerStars.Net had a stranglehold on the “free poker” term. OnlinePoker66 was hanging around, but never #1. Somewhat recently, PokerStars.Net disappeared from Google (a similar penalty to the one that PSO, CardsChat, Launch Poker, etc are under – see Weird Things Going on at Google). So in the wake of the PokerStars.Net Google problems, OnlinePoker66 has been promoted to the #1 ranking for “free poker”. And now they get two suggest spots in some huge poker keywords. So what’s the problem? Well, take a look at their links, as reported by Google: OnlinePoker66 links in Google. Ummmm, okay. So they have very few links, a bunch of which are porn links and they rank that highly? Something isn’t right. I know that Google links are not an accurate list of links online, but there is still obviously something wrong here.

Moving on, here are a few rooms:

google suggest pokerstars google suggest full tilt poker google suggest party poker google suggest cake poker

These don’t show that much that is interesting to me. It proves that Google sees people searching for bonuses (obviously), rakeback, cheating/rigging and a few other things. Nothing really ground-breaking, but it is interesting to note that “rakeback” variations appear higher for a room that allow it openly (ie, Cake) than a room that doesn’t allow it (ie, PokerStars). This indicates that Google is doing some sort of intelligent ordering of suggestions but that the criteria isn’t necessarily about number of results.

That theory is somewhat borne out by the Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker screenshots below:

google suggest ultimate bet google suggest absolute poker

The rooms are both being plagued in Suggest by “cheating” and “scandal” variations of their keyword. In addition, the scandal and cheating variations both appear very highly in the Suggest ordering despite not having as many results as some of the lower keywords.

Either way, it should be pretty interesting to see how everything plays out with Google Suggest being a google.com feature. It’s possible that Google will be shuffling the Suggest options and ordering so much that attempting to target suggestions will become basically pointless. Although, personally, I believe that we’ll see a relatively stable set of suggestions since Google has been testing this technology for so long and they probably have pretty sophisticated technology to help run it behind the scenes. Has anyone else noticed anything else they consider to be interesting?

2 thoughts on “Google Suggest changes impact on poker SEO

  1. doggpound

    A couple other things I found interesting about Google’s release of Suggest:

    * Optimizing around common misspellings isn’t worth nearly as much any more

    * Optimizing around mashed together keywords isn’t worth nearly as much any more

    With “concert tickets” as an example keyword since I’m privy to some stats on a site that was getting a lot of traffic from the two points above — they’ll now get almost zero organic referrals for search phrases like “concerttickets”, “concert tikets”, etc etc because Google is correcting these.

    Not that a lot of people misspell the word “tickets”, but since Suggest was released, this site is down about 3% on their overall traffic strictly because they lost a lot of these “tail” keywords, and they’ll probably never get that traffic back from Google.

  2. Ex-Google

    “This indicates that Google is doing some sort of intelligent ordering of suggestions but that the criteria isn’t necessarily about number of results.”

    I would assume Google is ordering the suggestions by query frequency. Or at the very least that query frequency is a big part of how it orders its suggestions.

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