You can find all parts of the guide here.
In this part, we are going to talk about the things you should pay attention to when choosing a country for a project.
Tier-1, Tier-2, Tier-3 GEO: What Is It?
First, you should analyze the economic indicators of countries. The higher they are, the higher the competition. However, these countries will provide you with a good income. There are countries with developed economies (tier-1), economies in transition (tier-2), and emerging nations (tier-3). This is how economists divide the world, and affiliates use a similar approach. The main criterion is the financial solvency of the population.
There is no single universally approved list, but it approximately looks as follows:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
All SEO affiliates want to hit the TOP here. However, it is impossible to count the number of specialists who crashed and burned trying to make it. These countries have powerful economies and a high GDP level. That is why competition is very high there. So, you should have a lot of money and skills to achieve the results. Also, don’t forget about the availability of various payment methods since there is a host of them in these countries.
Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, South Korea, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, China, Israel.
In some of these countries, reaching the TOP is no less difficult than in Tier-1 locations, but in general, it is easier to do. Rather well-to-do people live here, sometimes even wealthier than in developed countries, but nobody knows about it. Yet, there are nuances with payment systems in these territories.
Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Brunei, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Comoros, Costa- Rica, Congo, El Salvador, Ecuador, Egypt, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Gabon, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar, Mali, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, South Africa, Thailand, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Qatar, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia.
It is a mixture of Third World countries. Some of them can give you a lot of traffic and very small deposits. However, high-rollers are not frequent in other countries either. Many of these markets are already very competitive.
Top GEO by Income
I could opt for providing this screenshot only, but everything is not so simple. The matter is that the whole market is divided into official and shadow niches. Moreover, you also need to take into account demographic indicators (for example, in China). Additionally, statistics available on the Internet rarely explain what parameters are factored in and how the betting share is calculated because this sphere performs better than others. Another important factor is that the market can change due to regulations, restrictions, taxes on winnings, etc.
For example, all possible TOP 10 lists include Italy and France, yet you will never hear about any crazy income from those GEOs. So, don’t think you can choose a GEO based only on statistics from various market research reviews because this is the surefire way to lose your shirt.
When an affiliate wants to determine the TOP GEO by income, they should look at two parameters — the average annual LTV per player and the average deposit size.
Everyone’s averages differ because people count differently. For example, some specialists do not take into account high-rollers, while others do. Most affiliates do not collect this data at all.
Therefore, when connecting to a brand, always ask them about the LTV in the GEO where you plan to work.
Hence, all affiliates classically consider the following countries as top geo destinations:
- Canada and Australia. I think these countries should share first place. On average, a Canadian spends $800-900 on online gambling annually, while an Australian spends $1,400.
- Austria, Switzerland, Japan, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, and Germany. On average, gamblers from these countries spend $300-600 a year in online casinos. However, Japanese players can spend huge sums. I haven’t seen it personally, but I trust those who are in the TOPs there.
- Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and the UK. The annual averages of player deposits in the Scandinavian countries are higher than in the EU countries. It is about $500-900 per player. Despite various restrictions, the UK will still always be in the TOPs.
You see, it is a difficult task to compile a TOP list because almost every affiliate has a story about catching several very rich players in some small GEO and living off them for six months.
By this, I mean there is a high probability of engaging a few really excitable and rich players in all Tier-1 and Tier-2 countries. However, on average, the situation in Tier-1 GEO is more or less the same. The matter is that it is quite challenging to stay in the TOP 1-3 in several countries simultaneously for a long time to compare which GEO will bring you more income.
Of course, some gamblers start playing with such amounts immediately.
Another important factor is how much money you need to achieve an adequate result in one or another GEO.
I can assure you that you will need at least one and a half years and a budget of $90,000-150,000, including salary, for some Tier-1 countries. These are average numbers, but content costs, site development costs, and the cost of link-building campaigns increase every year. Large companies occupy a GEO, and it is difficult to compete with their budgets. We are talking about a classic, normal review site on a new domain. Of course, there are stories about dropped domains, mono brands, PBNs, etc. And some people somehow managed to make it into the TOP 1 quickly or involve a few high-rollers in the early stages.
If you haven’t worked in large companies with huge budgets, it will be difficult for you to imagine that SEO specialists can spend just crazy money on a site, and it won’t spike. There are an incredible number of such stories about wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars.
An Amazon affiliate once told me that he invested $1,000-2,000 in his site. When I asked whether it is “per month”, he burst out laughing. However, I didn’t get what was so funny, and he explained that this was the budget for the site’s lifetime.
So, once again — any country from the Tier-1 and Tier-2 lists can bring a normal income of $10,000-20,000 per month (in a year and a half). Of course, you can get more since there are no limits in this niche. However, promotion in these countries can be very difficult, and you can lose a lot of money.
Some Tier-3 countries can also generate revenue. The profit will be smaller, of course, but some brands can spend decent money buying gamblers from those countries via CPA. You should focus on payment methods and the number of brands in the region. If there are few of them, you will need to secure a firm footing in the TOP 1-3 because you will have zero chances to involve new players if everyone works with the same brands.
SEO in Tier-1 and Tier-2 GEO
There is a constant hustle in these GEOs, especially in link-building campaigns. Dudes from TOP 1 launch more sites because they already know how to do it. They massively buy expensive links. They create content together with native speakers. The average age of the domain sites starts from five years. There are a lot of behemoths no one can edge out in this market.
The main recommendation for launching projects in these GEOs is to find old domains and start with them. Also, you can use domains with a direct entry of a keyword in its name.
Launching a website a la “AskGamblers,” you will fall into a financial black hole, get disappointed in SEO, and switch to working at a factory.
You can try to start on dropped domains that have nothing to do with gambling, then move, and do 301 redirects with a domain suitable for gambling.
The average article link price on a good site is $150. In the Scandinavian countries, it is $250-300, and the offers are scarce. The LATAM countries stand in strong contrast to the developed markets. You can still find article links priced at $40-60 there.
Content has also risen in price, with an average of $4 to $12 per 100 words.
Link building is the main category of expenses following your team’s salary. Everything available is used — injected links, outreach, PBN, 301 redirects, etc. I advise you to visit auctions right away and check out where the most expensive domains go. It will help you to learn a lot of interesting things about some players in the niche.
The following strategy for Tier-1 and most Tier-2 GEOs can be really winning. Get several sites, a small GEO + an EMD domain, do not spend much money, keep your operating costs low, save on content, make a strong emphasis on links, and use drops for PBN and 301. I will write a separate part of this guide about strategies.
Using domains with a local TLD is not mandatory. Dot-com domains are ranked well all over the world. Moreover, you should always keep in mind that the rules for owning local domains can change.
If you create a multilingual site or a site for several regions, both subdomains and folders work the same in this case. There are pros and cons everywhere. It is mainly about technical site management because if you analyze search results, you will find that both examples work well. Don’t overestimate this aspect. It isn’t that important anymore.
Online Gambling Regulations in the World
It is one of the most painful issues. Regulation is what awaits all GEOs sooner or later. It is not that easy to say in which countries online casinos are legal. It is because the very concept of “legality” has many different nuances. Each country has its national, local, or federal laws. There are separate gambling zones that can be also applied to the online world. What are the main problems of regulation? Some countries have restrictions for players to fight gambling addiction. They simply cannot spend more than a certain amount of money. Affiliates benefit when a player spends a lot of money because they make money when someone loses. If there are no restrictions on deposits, there may be restrictions on the advertising of foreign online casinos. Hence, it turns out that only several brands can be advertised, and there is little chance of engaging a new player.
Look at the mess observed in the gambling world:
- Online casinos are legal, but playing in them is considered illegal. At the same time, players can register at these casinos.
- Online casinos are legal only if they have local licenses from the regulator.
- Local casino sites are legal, and they must have a local gambling license, but foreign casinos are not prohibited, and they do not need a local license.
The List of Countries That Don’t Block Foreign Online Casinos:
- Hong Kong
- Kyrgyz Republic
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
Countries That Oblige Online Casinos to Have a License from a Local Regulator
- United Kingdom
- Sri Lanka
- New Caledonia
- Wallis and Futuna
Countries That Oblige Only Local Online Casinos to Have a License from a Local Regulator
- San Marino
- Dominican Republic
These Countries Have No Online Casino Restrictions
- Faroe Islands
- Isle of Man
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Ivory Coast
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
- Western Sahara
The Most Important Thing
All these restrictions, regulations, and licenses are one thing. For us as affiliates, it is important whether a casino pays for a player we have brought if the player is from a country that allegedly prohibits the activity of this brand. From my experience, most casinos accept players from those GEOs where they are prohibited. However, the issue is always in payment methods. It may happen that a casino does not provide the payment method that suits players from this GEO. Thus, they simply won’t deposit anything. You should also keep in mind that the first thing a powerful regulator does is dealing with payment systems. It puts pressure on them so that they do not process online casino transactions.
You should always ask sales managers whether the casino accepts traffic from “forbidden” GEOs.
There are cases when a casino accepts traffic, but only if the page or site from which the player came is not geo-targeted. Here is an example of such requirements for the Netherlands:
“The following circumstances may indicate that an online casino should be considered aimed at the Netherlands market.
– That the company on the website has information in Dutch,
– That the company has the conditions for participation in the game in the Netherlands or otherwise in the conditions refers to the fact that you are a Netherlands customer,
– That the company on the website has contact information for customer service with a Netherlands telephone number, and/or
– That the company and/or the company’s “affiliates” direct their marketing to Netherlands customers.
You should indicate in T&C the following closure:
“The Affiliate acknowledges that promoting Netherlands market resources and using the Dutch language is subject to legal restrictions in the Netherlands. Such actions will be considered a breach of general terms & conditions and will lead to immediate account closure if disclosed. We are going to monitor Netherlands resources for information regarding casinos weekly and in case we find a new publication, the affiliate who breaks the rule would be closed.”
Those casinos offer to direct traffic from your site to another pre-landing page not focused on the Dutch market. And if the player comes from that page, they will pay for the traffic. That is, the scheme works like this: you route traffic from a review site for the Netherlands to a review site for “International casinos” in English, and only then it goes to the casino. Is it difficult? Of course, it’s difficult. The conversion is very bad in this case, especially if you don’t understand how to improve it. The percentage of users who simply falls off along the way is very high.
Moreover, some countries have a lot of requirements for affiliate sites themselves, and some of them are quite funny, for example, “The name of your domain must not contain the word “casino” or “slot” or be associated with non-paying games.” And your site name is FreeBestOnlineCasinoSlots.com. Or there is a requirement to complement each casino bonus indicated on your site with a link to the terms and conditions. Or the site footer must contain links to organizations fighting against gambling addiction. And there are much more requirements, but the worst thing is that affiliate managers check the fulfillment for a long time or do it when it is time to pay you.
All these nuances often become a problem for SEO affiliates. Thus, you should always start your work by analyzing GEO and the terms under which brands will purchase your traffic. Only after that, you can get down to creating a site.
Almost every GEO has so-called “gray” brands that don’t give a damn about regulations and accept any kind of traffic. You will have to find out all this yourself because the information becomes outdated quickly.
Countries that block online casino sites and affiliate sites are called ban markets. Affiliate sites are blocked because they advertise foreign online casinos without a local license, provide false info, or violate online casino advertising rules.
Here are, for example, countries that block affiliate sites:
I would like to emphasize once again that you can bypass all these blocks if you understand the technical components of SEO and the work of Google algorithms (redirecting, cloaking). However, all this will become your routine, and there will be plenty of it. I mean, you are not engaged in a project, you are engaged in non-stop moving. Just keep this in mind because this approach doesn’t work for everyone. It’s not good or bad. It is just how it works in GEO.
Always talk to your affiliate program manager about all these aspects and requirements.
GEO Analysis Checklist for an SEO Affiliate
- Analysis of the solvency of the population.
- Analysis of the number of languages the population uses. I haven’t described this issue separately because it is clear that it can deliver additional semantics, less competitive and invisible to “big” players in the niche.
- Analysis of Legal & Regulation aspects.
- Analysis of requirements for affiliates and sites promoting online casinos.
- Analysis of payment methods available to online casino users in the country.
- Tracking trends and changes in the countries you work in. Get up-to-date info from managers, or simply use niche news sites.
So, which GEO to choose?
I believe that everyone should make this decision on their own because everything depends on two factors:
- Your project budget
- Your SEO skills