Hi Marius, I am good and very excited about attending both events and meeting new people from the field, and some old friends, of course. I attended both Sigma events in 2015 and 2016 and both times it was an amazing experience for me so I am really looking forward to the upcoming conferences.
How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?
Well, there is quite a big community of “iGaming people” in Malta. I happened to be friends with some of them and got interested in what they do. One day I just decided to try it and created my first website. Since then I love working in this field.
A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?
Not yet, although have been thinking about it for a while. I think it’s a big step and I feel I need to be ready a little bit more for this.
Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?
I always prioritize unique content writing. In the nearest future my focus will be on reviewing new online casinos and slot games that have just came out.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?
As you know, my primary focus has been on Russian market, mostly casinos, but also bookmakers. But since it’s getting more and more difficult to work there I am trying to enter some other European markets, especially Scandinavian and UK, so I am really happy to have this opportunity to attend Tallinn Affiliate Grand Slam this April.
How do you find Russian market and competition?
The competition is quite big, but not as big as in other European markets, of course. But it can be really raft sometimes as some competitors are “not playing by the rules” and use “illegal” methods to attack your websites, instead of improving their owns – my website became a target of one of those attackers ones.
Russian market is very unique as well. There are several casino names (that come from land based casinos in 90’s) which Russian players trust and those are the most popular in Russia. So there are thousands of Russian online casinos with the same name, and a new one pops out almost every week.
That being said, casino and even affiliate websites are being blocked in Russia recently so it’s hard to work. To keep their presence in Russia a lot of casinos have to change their domains often (the same comes for affiliate links) or use re-directors. On the other hand, some online bookmakers are legal if they follow certain rules so there is some potential there.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
With Google algorithm’s updates it is becoming impossible to manipulate search results with cheap non-organic back-links. You really have to have a lot of high quality back-links to get to the top. But good unique and relevant content aiming to be useful for website’s visitors is always appreciated by both, search engines and potential players, so you can never go wrong with it.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
As I mentioned, I am planning to expand my business and make a presence on European markets promoting my new website www.bestonlineslots.info. I also plan to push my sports book reviews website www.stavkinasportonline.ru and starting to work on one in English. This is not all, beside the organic traffic, I’m also getting traffic from other channels like: email marketing, media buying, PPC, social media, etc.
What is the main thing that you’d like Sigma readers to know about your sites?
I work on my websites all by myself from A to Z. My very first website is www.onlinecasinoworld.ru, with later additions www.onlinecasinoformoney.net, www.stavkinasportonline.ru and bestonlineslots.info.
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
The mobile traffic now is bigger than ever and it is growing every year. It has it’s advantages but brings challenges to webmasters as well. The challenge is that creating content you you have to consider mobile appearance (and almost think about it in the first place) which is a bit different to a desktop one. On the other hand people spend more time playing casino games on mobile devices since they can do it from wherever they are so it is good news for affiliates.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
For me the biggest struggle in 2017 are to keep my website’s presence and top positions on Russian market as it’s getting more and more difficult every day with websites and domains being blocked. The other challenge is to make a good name and increase traffic of my English-speaking websites by learning about European markets.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
The competition is very strong today, there are thousands of affiliate websites out there so I would suggest to:
– Choose a unique and narrow niche in the field – like this you will target a smaller segment of the gaming traffic, but in this small segment you will have a chance to get to the top faster.
– Be creative – generate new unique ideas daily. You can take an example from other affiliates websites, but never copy, always think of new ways of SEO and traffic generation.
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
I love playing slots from time to time. I guess I would buy some property and invested the rest of the money in business.
Olga Lutova have been working as an affiliate since 2012. She is originally from Moscow but now living in Malta. Olga has a degree in psychology from The Moscow State University and Diploma in Gestalt Psychotherapy from Gestalt Training Institute of Malta.
Have you attended SiGMA last year? Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.