Established bingo brands have seen their online search visibility fall in 2015, as smaller operators with lower domain authority scores have taken prominent positions for some of the industry’s biggest keywords.
A number of lesser-known bingo operators have risen to prominence over the course of 2015, earning search visibility at the expense of brands such as Sky Bingo, Cheeky Bingo and Mecca Bingo. Our analysis suggests that although Sky Bingo is still one of the ten most visible brands in the online bingo market, it could have lost more than half (56%) of its non-brand organic traffic compared to August 2014. The same analysis suggests that Cheeky Bingo could have lost as much as 17%.
Still a hugely competitive SERP
Our specialists analysed more than 100 ranking websites across 319 online bingo market keywords between August 2014 and August 2015. These keywords generate an average of 240,780 monthly searches in the UK (30% of which come from the terms “bingo” and “online bingo”) and a maximum potential organic traffic of 58,100 visits per month. This figure is based on a brand ranking in first position for all keywords.
Our analysis looks at how prominently a domain ranks across this keyword set to determine how visible the site is and, by applying a typical click-through rate, we can estimate the total traffic that such a visibility should yield.
This analysis in August 2014 revealed an incredibly competitive online bingo market, with established brands all clustered together in a battle for that all-important search traffic.
The most visible brand in this market was Foxy Bingo, although the bulk of its traffic was being driven by high rankings for a relatively low number of high-volume keywords. Foxy Bingo occupied the first and second positions for the key terms “bingo” and “online bingo”, which drive huge volumes of organic non-brand traffic.
Booty Bingo was the second most visible brand in the market but, after this, there was an extremely competitive cluster of brands including the likes of Cheeky Bingo, Sky Bingo, Comfy Bingo and Little Miss Bingo. These brands were all earning similar levels of traffic from a similar number of keywords.
The rise of low-DA sites, and fall of big brands
What we saw over the course of 2014 was the growth of many lower authority domains and lesser-known brands coming into the market, taking visibility away from the more established brands that were all clustered together, competing for clicks.
Although it has to be noted that both Foxy Bingo and Booty Bingo appeared to be unaffected by new entrants to the market. Foxy Bingo has increased its traffic by 35% over the course of the year, whilst Booty Bingo grew its estimated traffic by 26%.
Foxy Bingo’s increase in traffic can be attributed to the fact they have achieved 26 number one positions in August 2015, compared to just six twelve months prior. This includes number one rankings for notable high volume terms, including “online bingo”, “bingo online” and “bingo sites uk”.
Similarly, Booty Bingo enjoyed and increased number of position one rankings, from 29 to 67, although these tended to be for lower volume terms. A total of 32 of these terms had a search volume below 100 searches a month. It is, however, worth nothing that both brands do not have any visibility across 25% of the keyword set, indicating further areas of potential growth.
But it is below these brands where we start to see notable changes in the market, with lesser-known, lower domain authority sites (typically defined as having a DA of 30 or lower) entering the market. These brands are attracting traffic, largely at the expense of the more established operators.
Rocket Bingo stands out as a brand that is achieving similar levels of traffic as the remaining brands in the top ten, but from a much smaller range of keywords. This is largely driven by a position one ranking for the high volume term “bingo sites”. Whilst brands such as Cheeky Bingo are driving smaller volumes of traffic from a greater number of keywords, the brand has seen a ranking drop for the highest volume term “bingo”, falling from position two to four, which will adversely affect click through rates.
Is mobile a factor?
Many commentators believed that “mobilegeddon”, the Google update released in April this year, was something of a damp squib. However, there are signs that mobile friendliness could be a factor in this market.
Our investigation found signs that smaller operators tended to have sites that were much more usable on mobile devices, scoring extremely highly in Google’s own Page Speed Insights Tool. In many cases, these scores are higher than the more established brands.
Google is on record as putting an emphasis on mobile usability, so mobile UX scores could be a factor.
The appeal of the free bonus offer
It’s no secret that people love a freebie, and there are signs that free bonus offers are also a factor in these changes.
Offers of “free bingo” and no-deposit bonus offers feature heavily in the customer proposition and customer messaging of many of these emerging brands. These can be seen to be a defining feature in a market where, in general, brands tend to achieve similar technical standards for mobile friendliness and HTTPS protocols.
While the larger, traditional brands tend to offer some form of deposit bonus for new customers, none of these appear to match the free (as in “no deposit required”) bingo being offered by the smaller brands. These offers include:
- Rocket Bingo: Free bingo games at specific times of day.
- Mummies Bingo: £15 free without deposit.
- BingoGodz: Free bingo games at specific times of day.
- Comfy Bingo: £15 free without deposit.
- New Look Bingo: £15 free without deposit.
These propositions may be disproportionally incentivising customers, resulting in higher click-through rates, which may influencing the search rankings.
These lower DA domains were noticeable in our analysis in August 2014, and did occupy strong positions, but not enough to appear in our top ten. But whilst we largely expected many of these sites to lose visibility rather quickly, as has happened in sectors such as the pay day loans market, it would appear that they are actually gaining prominence in the search engine results pages.