Kenneth Jørgensen, Owner and Director at SEO Butler, gives an exclusive interview to SiGMA News as part of our latest series on affiliates.
Having recently relocated to Malta to be closer to their clients, SEO Butler is looking to make moves within the iGaming industry. Kenneth Jorgensen tells us what it takes for a Link building business to make its mark - follow his story below.
When did you start your affiliate business and what brought you to iGaming? Is Gaming your only vertical?
Our background in Link building is from our own affiliate projects dating back more than 10-12 years. We worked in the software business in times where a good domain and a couple of links could get you very good organic results. As our business grew our needs for links increased, so we decided to build our own sites. In time the market for software affiliate became less lucrative but we still owned about 30 sites within the software niche.
As we had a lot of experience in building and acquiring links, we decided to help other struggling companies who needed help with Link building. At first, we mostly sold links to upcoming digital agencies in Denmark who then sold the end product to their clients. The online marketing industry had been growing fast, and so did the focus on good organic rankings on Google. At this time, we began to get a lot of inquiries from Norway and Sweden as well.
How did your Link building business take off?
In 2016, we began building and buying websites in Norway and Sweden - in 2020 we now own more than 200 sites in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
In 2018, we turned most of our focus on helping clients within the iGaming industry as our extensive experience in the Scandinavian market were in high demand. Unlike others in the Link building industry, we own and manage all the sites that we offer to our clients. This is something we know our clients value greatly in a business where a lot of people are trying to scam inexperienced startups. We serve more than 100 clients ranging from small affiliate startups to all the major players in the affiliate business.
At the beginning of 2020, we relocated to Malta to be closer to our clients, though with the Corona outbreak the amount of coffee we had so far is way too low.
How many employees are currently with the company? Can you tell us a little about how your business is structured?
At the moment we are two owners who handle the day to day operations. Our two local employees who work in the NO and SE part of our business also help. For us being a small and effective team have always been a part of our core business, and this is also why we have allied with a wide range of freelancers i.e, copywriters, SEO/tech specialists. This ensures that we can always scale our business almost on a day to day basis if the need arises. We do plan on bringing more local talent into our organisation once we have settled in our offices in Malta, and this was also one of the main reasons for us relocating to Malta. The amount of talented people living in Malta is very high compared to Denmark.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
Since most of our owned sites are based in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the Scandinavian markets are, of course, our main focus. We have seen an increased interest in the Norwegian market and Finnish market lately. This is not to say that the Danish and Swedish markets are not popular as well.
We have quite a few requests for links in the German, Canadian (UK as well), Indian, Spanish and to some extent Latin America and Africa.
I think that in some cases this is due to better regulations and options, especially in the Western markets, and the advancement of technology in online entertainment becoming more available for other markets as well.
I think that there is great untapped potential in the emerging markets, and it is clear to see that the digitalisation of consumers around the world is increasing at a very high speed. This offers first-movers in these markets a competitive edge, however, I think both affiliates and operators should be wary of moving too fast as legislation often changes fast and without time to adjust.
In the end, I think it is a high-risk high-reward situation – which often works out well in the iGaming sector.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique? What can you offer that others don’t? Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
Since we are in the Link building business I will try to mention what differentiates our business. I think one of the core aspects of our way of doing business is that we own all the sites that we offer to our clients. This ensures that our mutual interests are aligned as we wish to have the best possible sites and our clients need to ensure that the investment keeps paying off.
We deal with our clients directly, and not through a 3rd party which may or may not be willing to help once the deal is done.
In an industry that sometimes struggles with scammers and bad brokers, we offer trust, consistency, and transparency.
A number of other affiliates have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you considered giving white label casino or sports betting a go?
As we are link builders – I will try to talk about our new affiliate project instead. We have recently acquired https://casinochecking.com/ which will be our entry into the affiliate business. This seemed like a natural way of extending our business into the iGaming industry.
Currently, we are optimising the site, adding content in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish and translating the current English content to the local languages. The site already has a good amount of traffic and we think it has great potential. Besides our Link building business, this is the project we will be focussing on in 2020 and the years to come.
Has this fragmentation of regulated markets affected your numbers? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
From a Link building perspective, we are experiencing a surge for links in the Swedish and German markets. This could be due to the fact that some players have moved to other markets, giving room for other players to claim a bigger piece of the pie.
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your traffic? Are you focusing on SEO? PPC? Any other traffic source?
As we are focused on Link building and not affiliate, this is quite hard for me to answer. I do talk with a lot of affiliates and the consensus is that organic reach/SEO is crucial to any affiliate-business. This is not only from a Link building perspective but also in regards to the technical optimisation of the site.
To cut it short: SEO is from my perspective and insights the most important factor when scaling an affiliate business.
Are you contemplating bringing in investors to scale or grow your business? Or, with such a big M&A market, have you ever contemplated selling the business?
We are currently not looking for investors as we have a very healthy business and business model which ensures that we have the needed resources to scale our business. That being said, we are currently working on partnerships within the iGaming industry to strengthen our presence.
That being said, everything is for sale - as long as the price is right.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
Again, I can only share my insights from our perspective and experience when dealing with affiliates.
What we get a lot is that new affiliates are usually very good at building their domains and optimising UX, but lack the tools and experience to help scale their traffic. I would recommend any affiliate to team up with someone who knows a lot about SEO and how to attract and convert traffic.
Furthermore, I would recommend allying and surround yourself with competent people at any given time – especially when living in Malta. What I have experienced so far is that even people that could be perceived as competitors often help each other out more than you would think – this really helps when optimising your business.
What has your biggest shocker been to date? Has any operator or affiliate manager ever let you down and how do you prevent such a scenario from happening again?
As an entrepreneur, I have experienced quite a few people who tried to scam or hustle me - and was successful in doing so. What I would say is that we all trust the wrong people at the wrong time, but instead of feeling bad about it, we should try and learn from the experience. Oh, and I would always bring in a lawyer if there is anything you need to sign or commit to - this also holds true when establishing your business.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
We attended SiGMA last November in Malta and it was our first experience – and what an experience. I would recommend anyone who works or would like to work in the iGaming industry to attend these.
Get to know other great affiliates, responsible for killer traffic! Click the link below to read more insights from affiliates:
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