Holding a prominent position on the search pages of Google is an obvious target for any wannabe successful business.
After all, a 2013 study from online advertising network Chitika found that the top listing on an organic search result from Google could expect to receive a third of the traffic from that term.
This average traffic share drops to 18% for second position on the page rank and 11% for third.
Occupying the final spot in the top 10 of a popular search would be deemed a major success by many businesses, yet this is only worth 2% of the traffic share.
These results can’t be considered that surprising given that people read from top to bottom of a page.
There are processes that a business can carry out to look to improve their position naturally, such as ensuring all of their keywords and banners are relevant to the topic in question.
Understandably, the competition to rank prominently on any search engine is more competitive for certain terms than others.
For example, far fewer people will be searching for the term ‘witenagemot’ on a day-to-day basis, compared to things like ‘insurance’, ‘Kim Kardashian’ or ‘Manchester United’.
For those interested, we’ll save you the Google search. Witenagemot was an Anglo-Saxon national council or parliament that offered advice to the king.
Given that people ‘Google’ over two billion times a day as an approximation, the chase for the top spot on the more popular terms is even more pivotal.
Advertising space is sold by Google on keywords, giving people or businesses the chance to rank above the highest organic search results.
By deciding to set up an AdWord account, you guarantee that your ad will be prominent when a user types in a specific term or keyword.
Having the actual AdWord account is free. Payment is necessary and is made to Google on a pay-per-click basis for each Adword. So an internet surfer clicks on a Google Adword, which then redirects them to the advertiser’s website.
Search marketing company Wordstream specialises in measuring high-performing paid search campaigns and recently collected data to identify the most expensive Google keywords between June 2016 and the same month this year.
Top of the pile was Business Services, costing advertisers $58.64 (£43.17) on average per click to advertise on Google for this term.
Ranking third at $55.48 (£40.85) was casino. This is the amount advertisers are charged per click. If an ad is clicked 100 times in an hour, it would cost an advertiser over $5,500 and that is with no guarantee of a financial return for these clicks.
This provides an indication into how popular the gambling industry is if this is how much advertisers are prepared to pay just to bring a visitor to their website. This is before any sign up or depositing has been achieved.
Just to reinforce. To get the very top spot on a Google search for the keyword casino, an advertiser would need to agree to pay Google $55.49 on every instance of a person clicking on their advert.
What’s more, online gambling ranked 22nd on the same list, averaging a cost of $32.84 per click.
Differences between US and UK
Yet in terms of industries as a whole, gambling fails to feature at all in the top 20 in the US. Instead, it is insurance that is the most expensive keyword category, followed by loans and mortgages.
Whereas gambling may be a popular pastime in certain US states, namely Nevada and New Jersey, it is an off-limits activity in many others.
Such a contrast is not so notable in the UK, where gambling is not only something conducted in all areas, but the betting landscape is also much wider.
The British public will happily wager on everyday sports and prominent events such as the Grand National or Wimbledon, while there is a growing desire to bet on novelty markets too. These can range from Royal baby names, to future Bond girls to when alien existence will be proven.
Casino is far and away the most expensive keyword in the UK, costing £58.57 a click. Online gambling ranks second on £25.45 a click, with finance third at £13.76 a click.
However, these results are based on grouping together keywords with the same core meaning into the same category. Within these categories there are still individual keywords which cost even more per click.
An article last year on Search Engine Watch looked into a list of expensive keywords in the UK, from online marketing data provider SEMrush.
Of the 2,000 on the list, 22 of the top 25 and over three-quarters of the top 100 were gambling related. ‘Play live blackjack’ occupied top spot, costing £148.51 per click.
Online gambling in the US
The fact that online gambling is not widely permitted across all states is one reason why the majority of the UK’s expensive keywords are not as highly searched in the US.
There are a vast number of locations where state law makes it patently illegal to gamble online in the US. These include, Florida, Hawaii, Texas and Washington.
The list is much shorter when assessing where online gambling is legal or at least whether the law is ambiguous. California, Kentucky, New York and New Jersey are among those to fit into this category.
Until online gambling does become permitted in more states, it is hard to see the cost of gambling-related keywords mimicking those in the UK.