7 Steps to Begin your SEO Campaign

So you’ve got a site which you’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into … and it just won’t get the traffic you hoped it would.

Or maybe it’s getting traffic, but not to the pages you actually want to rank.

You’ve tried it all, but Google just won’t give the money pages the love you’ve given them.

This is where Aphex Media can help you.

We’re a SEO agency specialized in competitive niches and we’ve helped hundreds of websites improve their performance. 

Understanding and mastering SEO in these sectors requires not just skill but a deep commitment to staying ahead of the rapidly changing search engine algorithms.

Whether you’re looking to launch a new Casino SEO campaign or refine an existing one, our guide provides a comprehensive look at how to achieve success in the most competitive niches.

But why go at it alone? If you’re ready to see substantial improvements in your search engine rankings and drive more relevant traffic to your site, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us today for personalized SEO guidance and let us help you turn your goals into achievements.

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Table of Contents

Step 1: Choose Your Target Keywords

Choosing the right target keywords is the cornerstone of any successful SEO campaign, especially in highly competitive niches like online gambling, finance, crypto or health. Keywords are not just about SEO; they are the words and phrases that your potential customers use to find solutions to their needs. Here’s how to select the best keywords for your campaign.

Understand Search Volume and Competition Level

  • Search Volume refers to the number of searches that are expected for a keyword within a given timeframe. It gives you an idea of the potential traffic you might receive if you rank well for that keyword. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or SEMrush can help you get accurate search volume data.
  • Competition Level is a measure of how many sites are competing for ranking with the same keyword. In competitive niches, high-volume keywords always have high competition. Understanding this will help you balance the attractiveness of high search volumes against the challenge of ranking for these terms.

Importance of User Intent

User intent refers to what the searcher really wants to achieve when they type a query into a search engine. There are generally three types of intent:

  • Informational Intent: The user is looking for information. This could be someone searching for “What is the best casino game?” Typically, these keywords are great for blogs and informational content.

  • Transactional Intent: Here, the searcher is intending to perform an action or purchase. For example, “buy bitcoin” shows a clear intention to buy. These keywords are crucial for product pages and conversion-focused landing pages.

  • Navigational Intent: This is when the searcher is looking for a specific website or app. An example could be “Bet365 mobile app.”

Understanding the intent behind the keywords you choose will ensure you’re attracting the right kind of traffic to your site — those most likely to convert into customers.

Head Terms for Long-Term Strategy

Head terms are typically short-tail keywords with just one or two words, like “health insurance” or “online slots.” These keywords are very competitive but have high search volumes. Ranking for head terms can be more challenging, but they are invaluable for driving large volumes of traffic and building brand visibility. Your strategy for these should focus on a long-term commitment, excellent on-page SEO, high-quality backlinks, and strong, user-focused content.

Long Tail Keywords or Low Hanging Fruits

Long tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when using voice search. They might include four or more words, such as “best casino for poker in Vegas.”

These keywords often have lower search volumes, but they’re less competitive and have higher conversion rates because they capture more specific intent. They are considered ‘low hanging fruit’ because they are easier to rank for and can quickly provide gains in traffic and conversions.

For a business in a competitive niche, strategically choosing a mix of both head terms and long tail keywords will be crucial. While head terms build your brand’s visibility, long tail keywords will drive the specific, conversion-ready traffic that can significantly enhance your SEO ROI.

Step 2: Competitor Analysis

A comprehensive competitor analysis enables you to identify what strategies are working for your competitors, which can help you refine your own SEO strategy. This step involves two critical components: content analysis and keyword gaps, and backlink profile analysis.

Content Analysis and Keyword Gaps

Content Analysis: Begin by listing your top five to ten competitors. These could be direct competitors within your niche or any website that ranks well for your target keywords. Analyze their content to understand the following:

  • Quality and Depth: How detailed are their articles? What kind of information do they cover? Do they have multimedia elements like videos, infographics, etc.?
  • Content Format: Are they using long-form guides, short blog posts, infographics, video tutorials, or a combination of these?
  • User Engagement: Look at the comments section, social shares, and any other interaction data available to gauge how the audience is engaging with their content.
  • Content Freshness: Check how frequently they update old content and publish new content.

Keyword Gaps: This involves identifying the keywords your competitors rank for, which you currently do not. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz can help you perform a gap analysis. Use this data to:

  • Identify Opportunities: Find high-value keywords that have relatively low competition but are effective for your competitors.
  • Expand Topic Clusters: Discover new content ideas and themes that could attract traffic.
  • Optimize Existing Content: Enhance your current content to cover aspects or subtopics that you may have missed but your competitors haven’t.

Backlink Profile Analysis

Backlinks are a major ranking factor in SEO. Analyzing your competitors’ backlink profiles can provide insights into their link-building strategies and help you improve your own.

  • Quantity and Quality of Links: How many backlinks do your competitors have, and how authoritative are those links? Tools like Ahrefs, Majestic, or Moz can provide these insights.
  • Link Sources: Where are their links coming from? Look for patterns or common sources. Are they using guest blogging, directories, partnerships, or other methods?
  • Link Growth: Analyze how quickly your competitors acquire new links. A rapid increase in high-quality links could indicate effective link-building campaigns.
  • Anchor Text Usage: Understanding how competitors use anchor text can provide insights into their targeted keywords. Over-optimized anchor text can lead to penalties, so balance is key.
  • Identify Link Opportunities: Based on your analysis, identify potential sites that could link back to your site. Consider reaching out for guest blogging opportunities, partnerships, or other collaborative efforts.

Competitor analysis not only helps you understand what is working for others in your industry but also assists in identifying potential areas for improvement in your own strategies. By systematically analyzing both content and backlink strategies of your competitors, you can develop a more effective and comprehensive SEO campaign that is capable of standing up against the toughest competition in any niche.

Step 3: Plan Your Site & URL Structure

The architecture of your website plays a critical role in how effectively search engines understand and rank your content. A well-planned site structure not only improves user navigation but also enhances the efficiency of your SEO efforts by clearly presenting the relationships between various content pieces. This step focuses on two fundamental components: developing topic clusters and establishing a logical content hierarchy.

Topic Clusters

Topic Clusters are a strategic approach to SEO where you organize related pieces of content around a central theme or ‘pillar’ topic. This method helps search engines more easily discover content and understand its context within the broader subject area, which is crucial for ranking in competitive niches.

  • Choose Your Pillar Content: This should be a comprehensive guide or page that broadly covers a key topic relevant to your niche, and which targets a high-volume keyword. For instance, in the online gambling niche, a pillar page could be an ultimate guide to choosing the best online casinos.

  • Identify Subtopics: These are specific, related topics that fall under the umbrella of your pillar content. Each subtopic addresses a different aspect of the main topic and targets more specific, often longer-tail keywords. For example, subtopics for online gambling might include ‘online casino security’, ‘best casino bonuses’, or ‘online casino software providers’.

  • Create Content Hubs: Link your subtopic content back to the pillar page and vice versa. This internal linking not only boosts SEO by spreading link equity but also improves the user experience by providing easy access to related topics.

Content Hierarchy

Content Hierarchy refers to the structure in which your content is organized on the website. It affects both how users navigate your site and how search engines index your pages. Effective content hierarchy makes your website more accessible and understandable, enhancing both SEO and user engagement.

  • Logical URL Structure: URLs should be simple, logical, and keyword-rich. They must reflect the structure of your site and make it clear what the page is about at a glance. For example, using /online-casinos/bonuses/ might indicate that the bonuses page is a subcategory of the online casinos section.

  • Use of Headers: Proper use of header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) is crucial in organizing content on each page. Your main topic or pillar content should typically use an H1 tag, with subheaders (H2s and H3s) used for organizing subtopics or sections within the page.

  • Breadcrumb Navigation: This is a navigational aid used on websites to give users a way to track where they are on the site and how they got there. It’s also beneficial for search engines to understand the layout and hierarchy of your website’s content.

  • Sitemaps: Both XML and HTML sitemaps help search engines and users understand the structure of your site. An XML sitemap is a roadmap for search engines, which speeds up the crawling process, whereas an HTML sitemap is beneficial for users looking to navigate your website.

By strategically planning your site and URL structure through the use of topic clusters and a well-thought-out content hierarchy, you set a solid foundation for both effective SEO and an enhanced user experience. A well-organized website can be the key to standing out in a crowded market.

Step 4: Create Content

Creating content that not only engages but also converts is critical. Your content needs to stand out in quality, relevance, and authority to make an impact. This section covers essential aspects of content creation, from structuring your posts to ensuring they meet the highest standards of SEO and user experience.

Content Length

Content length plays a significant role in SEO, but more importantly, your content needs to be comprehensive enough to satisfactorily answer the user’s query. In competitive niches:

  • Long-form Content: Generally, longer content tends to perform better in search engines because it has the space to provide in-depth answers and cover a wider scope of related topics. Aim for at least 1,000 to 2,000 words for typical articles, though cornerstone content—your most important pages—may well exceed 3,000 words as they need to provide exhaustive information on the subjects.

  • Comprehensive Coverage: Ensure that your articles thoroughly cover the topics they address, including all relevant subtopics, questions, and related issues. This not only helps in SEO but also in user satisfaction.

Tables, Lists, and Useful Data

Structured data, like tables and lists, is incredibly useful for users and beneficial for SEO:

  • Enhancing Readability: Break down complex data and statistics into digestible formats. Tables and bulleted or numbered lists help clarify points and keep users engaged.

  • Improving SERP Position: Google often pulls structured data into featured snippets, which can put your content at the top of the search results page. Use schema markup to help search engines understand and display your content in these advantageous formats.

Images and Videos

Visual content can dramatically improve how users interact with your site:

  • Engagement: Images and videos make the content more engaging, breaking up text and explaining complex topics in an accessible and user-friendly manner.

  • SEO Benefits: Optimized images and videos can also rank in Google Images and Google Videos, which can drive additional traffic. Ensure to use alt text for images, describing the visual in a way that includes relevant keywords.

Importance of Page Layout in SEO

The way you structure your page can influence both user experience and how search engines understand your content:

  • Logical Flow: Ensure that your content flows logically and smoothly. Use headers (H1, H2, H3s) to organize the structure visibly and logically.

  • Navigation: Easy navigation helps users find content more efficiently and decreases bounce rate, which can signal to search engines that your site is of high quality.

  • Mobile Optimization: With the prevalence of mobile browsing, ensure your layouts are responsive and mobile-friendly, as this is a significant ranking factor.

E-E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, and Experience)

Google emphasizes the importance of E-E-A-T, especially in YMYL (Your Money Your Life) topics, which cover niches like finance, health, and gambling:

  • Expertise: Show credentials, practical experience, and deep knowledge in your content. Cite experts and use quotes where relevant.

  • Authoritativeness: Build a reputation in your field through comprehensive content, thought leadership, and by getting cited by other authoritative websites.

  • Trustworthiness: Make sure your site is secure (HTTPS), clearly state contact information, and create content that is fact-checked and reliable.

  • Experience: User experience is pivotal. Your site should be user-friendly, with fast load times, easy navigation, and content that is laid out clearly.

Crafting content that adheres to these guidelines will help your SEO campaign succeed in the most competitive niches. Content is not just about what you say but how you say it and how you present it. Ensuring it is tailored to meet user needs and search engine criteria is key to your online success.

Step 5: On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. This encompasses both the content and the HTML source code of a page. Below, we’ll break down the critical components of on-page optimization: meta data, schema markup, and internal linking. Each of these elements plays a pivotal role in enhancing your website’s SEO.

Meta Data

Meta data are HTML tags that provide information about your web page for the search engines and website visitors. These tags can influence click-through rates and are fundamental to SEO success.

  • Meta Titles: These are arguably one of the most critical meta tags when it comes to SEO. Each page should have a unique meta title that includes main keywords and accurately describes the page’s content. The meta title should be concise (50-60 characters to ensure they display properly in search engine results) and compelling to encourage clicks.

  • Meta Descriptions: While they don’t directly impact search engine rankings, they are vital for providing a brief overview of what the page is about and convincing readers to click through from the search engine results page. Keep them under 160 characters and make sure they are engaging and informative, with a call to action if appropriate.

Schema Markup

Schema markup is a form of microdata that creates an enhanced description (commonly known as a rich snippet), which appears in search results. Schema can significantly increase click-through rates and visibility and is especially effective in competitive niches by providing search engines with a clearer understanding of your page content.

  • Types of Schema Markup: Depending on your niche, different schemas like Product, Review, Organization, Person, and many more can be used. For example, in health, you might use medical schemas such as MedicalCondition for specific diseases.

  • Implementation: Use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to test your schema.

Internal Linking

Internal linking refers to the process of linking from one page on your domain to another page on the same domain. It’s essential for SEO as it helps strengthen keyword relevance and allows search engines to crawl and index more pages on your site.

  • Strategic Use of Anchor Text: Use descriptive keywords in anchor text that give a clear indication of the linked page’s topic as opposed to generic text. Keep them concise and avoid excessive keyword stuffing to maintain readability and usability.

  • Linking Structure: Create a logically structured hierarchy that spreads link equity around sites. Important pages should receive more internal links. Use breadcrumb links and category links to improve navigation and distribute authority.

  • Link Value: Links from high-authority pages to less prominent ones can help elevate the SEO profile of the less prominent pages. Analyze the link value within your site structure using tools like Ahrefs or Moz.

Effective on-page SEO requires meticulous attention to detail and an in-depth understanding of how various elements such as meta data, schema markup, and internal linking work together to boost your site’s visibility and ranking. By optimizing these aspects, you are laying down a solid foundation that can withstand the competitive pressures of your niche market.

Step 6: Off-Page Efforts

Off-page SEO is as critical as on-page strategies. It involves all actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs). This includes tactics like link building and leveraging social media for enhanced traffic and visibility. This section delves into the crucial aspects of off-page efforts that can significantly amplify your SEO success.

Link Building

Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. A hyperlink (usually just called a link) is a way for users to navigate between pages on the internet. Links are one of the most important factors in how Google and other search engines determine the ranking of a website.

  • Quality Over Quantity: It’s vital to focus on acquiring high-quality links rather than simply increasing the number of links. Links from reputable, high-authority sites in your niche are far more beneficial than those from low-quality, obscure sites.

  • Diverse Link Sources: To avoid any penalties from search engines and to improve your site’s robustness in rankings, ensure that your backlinks come from a diverse range of sources that are relevant to your niche.

  • Guest Blogging: One effective way to build quality links is through guest blogging. By contributing high-quality content to other reputable sites in your industry, you can include a link back to your site. Not only does this drive traffic, but it also enhances your credibility and increases brand awareness.

  • Content Marketing: Creating compelling and valuable content will naturally acquire links as other sites will want to link to your resources. Examples include in-depth how-to guides, infographics, and research studies.

  • Monitor Your Link Profile: Use tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz to keep an eye on your link profile. These tools can help you spot and disavow toxic links that could potentially harm your site’s ranking.

We pride ourselves on being experts in link building within competitive niches and we’ve developed our proprietary tool, InstaLinko. This innovative platform is designed specifically to help our clients achieve their off-page SEO goals efficiently. 

Social and Viral Traffic

While social signals (likes, shares, etc.) are not a direct factor in ranking, social media can significantly influence your SEO campaign by generating attention and traffic.

  • Social Media Engagement: Actively engaging with users on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn helps to boost your content’s visibility and can lead to increased site traffic. This indirect effect can positively impact your SEO as it generates natural links and mentions.

  • Viral Marketing Campaigns: Content that is compelling enough to go viral can lead to massive spikes in traffic and substantial link building from numerous sources. Plan campaigns that encourage sharing and participation. Elements that often contribute to virality include humor, inspiration, unique data, and interactive elements.

Off-page SEO efforts are essential for securing a competitive edge, especially in saturated markets. A well-rounded strategy involving robust link building and leveraging social platforms not only enhances your site’s authority and credibility but also broadens your reach and visibility online.

At Aphexmedia, we have innovated a proprietary tool that leverages the power of viral traffic for SEO to elevate your site’s rankings in less than 24 hours. This cutting-edge technology harnesses the dynamics of social media and viral content to significantly boost your website’s visibility and search engine position rapidly. By effectively engaging audiences and driving substantial traffic to your site through viral means, our tool ensures that your content gets the exposure it needs quickly, making it a game-changer in competitive SEO landscapes.

Step 7: Track the Results of Your SEO Campaign

Tracking results allows you to understand what’s working, what isn’t, and how to optimize your SEO efforts. This section will guide you through the main Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you should monitor and how to utilize tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to your advantage.

Main KPIs

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are quantifiable measures used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, etc., in meeting objectives for performance. In SEO, KPIs help gauge the health of your strategy. Here are the essential KPIs to track:

  • Organic Traffic: The number of visitors coming to your site through organic search results. An increase in organic traffic generally indicates effective SEO.

  • Keyword Rankings: Monitoring where your keywords rank on SERPs is crucial. This metric helps determine how well your content aligns with search queries and impacts visibility and traffic.

  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of visitors who complete a desired action (such as filling out a contact form, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase). This metric helps evaluate the ROI of your SEO efforts.

  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate might indicate that your site is not relevant to the visitors’ needs, or that the user experience is lacking.

  • Backlinks: The number and quality of backlinks are strong indicators of your website’s authority. Monitoring your backlink profile can help you understand your site’s trustworthiness and subject matter authority.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console

Google Analytics and Google Search Console are invaluable tools for tracking SEO performance. Here’s how to use them effectively:

  • Google Analytics:

    • Setup: Ensure that Google Analytics (or a similar tool) is correctly set up on your website. This tool will track your traffic sources, user behavior, and conversions.
    • Traffic Analysis: Use it to analyze organic traffic trends. Look at which pages attract the most visitors, where your traffic is coming from, and how these trends change over time.
    • Conversions: Set up goals in Google Analytics to track conversions specifically from organic traffic. This lets you see how well your SEO is driving measurable actions like FTDs.
  • Google Search Console:

    • Setup: Verify your site with Google Search Console to start tracking your site’s performance in Google search results.
    • Performance Report: This report shows you which keywords your site is ranking for, your average position, click-through rates, and how many clicks your site is getting from Google.
    • Index Coverage: Monitor how well Google is indexing your site, and identify any issues that could be preventing your site from being properly indexed.

Regularly checking these tools not only helps you track your KPIs but also provides insights into areas that may require additional optimization. For instance, if certain pages have high traffic but low conversions, you might need to improve calls-to-action or user engagement on those pages.

By systematically tracking your SEO campaign’s performance and continually refining your strategies based on data-driven insights, you can ensure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and achieve sustainable success in even the most competitive niches.

Thank you for exploring our detailed guide on starting an SEO campaign in competitive niches. We understand that tackling SEO can be daunting due to the intense competition and stringent regulations. However, with the right strategies, tools, and expertise, you can significantly improve your site’s visibility and performance.

At Aphexmedia, we are committed to providing you with the knowledge and support needed to navigate these challenges successfully. Our team is equipped with the expertise and experience to help you not only meet but exceed your digital marketing goals. Remember, a well-planned SEO strategy is more than just a necessity —it’s your pathway to transforming site traffic into valuable customer engagements and leading your business towards sustainable growth.

If you have any questions about the content covered or if you need help implementing these strategies effectively, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to assist you with a full suite of SEO services tailored to your specific industry needs. Let Aphexmedia be your partner in mastering the art of SEO. Contact us today to start your journey to the top of the SERPs!


David Attard


May 14, 2024

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