Born and raised in Belgium, Christiaan Bollen (Boljoro) is among the few LRT Certified Professionals in the world.
EEGReport Magazine: Hi Christiaan, tell us a bit about yourself, we want to know who Christiaan Bollen really is. Where were you born? What was the key idea of developing these skills that got you so far in the industry?
Christiaan: I am born and raised in Belgium. As a kid, there was always a big interest in computers. In high school I started creating my first affiliate websites, it was a nice extra income for a teenager. Later in university I graduated in Software Development, during my time at university there was not so much time for the websites, there were other priorities during those years and the affiliate websites were put on hold.
After graduating at university, I started working as consultant in a local Belgian software development agency.
In the evenings after work the urge to make my own websites came back. At that time in 2012 in Belgium the gambling market just got legalized. Because there was not really a website that gave an overview of which casinos were legal I decided to make a website that gives an overview of legal gambling websites. I had no idea how much money there was to make as an affiliate in this industry.
My first website Goedgekeurdegoksites.be started small, an overview of all the legal websites with some information and a few affiliate links. From time to time some extra news was added. Nothing big. After some months the income became bigger and bigger. Later I decided to stop working as software developer and started up my own company. Today Goedgekeurde Goksites is one of the biggest iGaming affiliate websites in Belgium. The website also has a version for the French speaking part of Belgium, Jeux de Casino Approuvés .
Being an affiliate gives you a lot of freedom. As long as there is an internet connection and you have your laptop with you, you can work. There are even some people who claim to do all their work on their smartphone.
Having all the freedom in the world, last year I decided to move to Barcelona, my favorite city. The company is now also officially in Spain. Soon more Spanish and International websites will be released. At the moment those are in development.
What I like and focus on is SEO. In the 5 years I have been to many SEO conferences and got really good in it. Last year I was honored to join the SEOktoberfest, one of the most exclusive SEO conferences with all top experts. Sometimes I also speak as SEO specialist at conferences.
Going to conferences gives me a chance to travel around the world and discover new places. It is also a good variety in my daily life as affiliate.
EEGReport Magazine: Since there are hundreds of Search Engine Optimization, Online Marketing and Web Development agencies out there, where do you think Boljoro stands in relation to the competition at this moment?
Christiaan: Boljoro is a small company, I mainly do consultancy work as SEO specialist. Build an SEO strategy for a company that their in house team can execute.
It is hard to say about myself but I believe my knowledge is above average of other SEOs. Going to many conferences talking with other experts but also getting ideas from other people you talk with. It doesn’t always have to be an expert that has good ideas.
Being part of closed communities like the SEOktoberfest gives me the opportunity to be in close contact with people from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and big agencies. This is my biggest source of information. It benefits me as affiliate and my clients.
EEGReport Magazine: Tell us which markets do you target with Boljoro and in which fields/niches are your clients active?
Christiaan: The biggest market for Boljoro is still Belgium, next to that the focus is going to Spain as we relocated. As I am an igaming affiliate, the igaming niche is the most important. But Boljoro also has clients in other niches, the car industry for example.
In the beginning you try to get clients and don’t really focus on a market. Now there is so much work that I don’t take random customers in different markets anymore. My focus is on the gambling industry. I am open to new projects in other markets but only if they are interesting enough for me.
EEGReport Magazine: We know that you’re constantly travelling, could you share the most interesting events that are dedicated to SEO/link building or affiliate conferences/events?
Christiaan: The most interesting SEO conference for me is Ungagged, this conference is 2 times a year. In June in London and in November in Las Vegas. For a igaming affiliate the fact that it is in Vegas is an extra plus.
If you focus on a specific country, try to go an SEO conference in that country. The local people will have their own strategies that you can learn from. Some things work different in other countries.
Always try to blend in with your competitors if you do SEO, just be a little bit better then them.
For the igaming affiliates, they can not miss the London Affiliate Conference. This conference makes it possible to talk affiliate managers from most of the brands. The other iGB Affiliate conferences are also good but there are less brands present. At the iGB events lately the level of SEO presentations also got better.
EEGReport Magazine: Google rolled out it’s final version of Penguin, what’s your angle on this “real-time update” ?
Christiaan: Calling it the final version might not be so accurate, it keeps getting updated. You have to be even more careful with your link profile as they can push a change every day. One of these updates might have a big influence on your website. My advice is to keep a clean link profile.
EEGReport Magazine: How about Google’s New Mobile Index?
Christiaan: An obvious evolution, mobile had a big growth in the last decade. These days everyone is walking around with a smartphone and using it whenever they can. The amount of mobile traffic got higher than desktop. It is normal that Google follows this evolution and puts mobile before desktop now.
EEGReport Magazine: Can you tell us how did you see this year in terms of Google and what do you predict for the New Year, any major updates or so that you expect?
Christiaan: Continuing on the previous question, mobile got more important. We saw Google put the mobile friendly tag first, now the mobile first index. In the next year I expect that AMP will grow more and become more important. Or at least that is what Google wants. This way they have even more control over the internet.
EEGReport Magazine: Which term do you prefer link builder or link earner, and why?
Christiaan: Link earner, the links you can earn naturally are probably way more relevant and helpful for the reader. This will also reflect in the user behavior on your website which will have a positive impact on your SEO. These links are also more likely to convert your users. After all that is what you want to do with your site.
Buying links is possible but be careful what you do, Google is watching. I prefer earning links.
EEGReport Magazine: How do you see this “new era” in the backlinks world, I mean is content king in your opinion?
Christiaan: Don’t believe people who say that links don’t matter, they do. Even Google’s, Gary Illyes said it last year: “Ranking without links is really, really hard”.
EEGReport Magazine: Do you use metrics like Alexa Rank, PA and DA, Trust Flow and Citation Flow. if yes what’s your opinion about these?
Christiaan: For me metrics are important, mainly I use Trust Flow and Citation Flow. Next to that I also use Link Research Tools Power and Trust.
But don’t get to focused on metrics. You also have to visit the website. See how it looks, what is your “feeling” about a website. The more experience you have as an SEO this feeling will become more accurate and clear. There are so many factors that matter.
A website with lower metrics can be better for your link profile than a website with higher metrics. It is important that the content in which your link can be found is related to your website. The website must fit yours.
Be careful with websites or self-called SEO’s or marketers that try to sell you links. Many times they manipulate you into buying to expensive links. Alarm bells should start ringing if you get an email from firstname.lastname@example.org that has these great links for sale.
Always try to check the history of a website. How long has it been online, did it have a big change in the last months, has it been offline for some time, etc.
EEGReport Magazine: Let’s talk affiliates a bit, how do you see the future of the online casino/gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon?
Christiaan: Is it not already global? Gambling is everywhere over the world, online and offline. Where people have the possibility to go online there will be people gambling online. There are also affiliate websites all over the world. Some regions might not be as popular as others but when casinos or affiliates see a way to earn money they are there.
I am not sure how legal it will be in different places in the world. As we can see in Europe, more and more countries start legalizing online gambling. The reason they give for this is to help people, don’t get them into debts or addicted. According to me their main reason is that they see a way to earn more money by charging taxes for gambling.
EEGReport Magazine: Do you have any advice that you would like to offer to newbies who are looking to venture into this great industry!?
Christiaan: 100% agree, this industry is great. For newbies, don’t give up! It is a really hard and competitive market. You need confidence that you can do it, make a plan. You will need a lot of patience.
Don’t expect that it will be easy or quick money. You should work hard for it and it will take time. It can take months or a year before you earn your first euro. If you plan to give up your job for it, don’t do it. You need savings to go through the first year or keep your current job next to it.
EEGReport Magazine: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online casino/gambling affiliate world?!
Christiaan: More cooperation between (European) countries in their gambling laws. Every country has its own laws, in some countries the laws are even different for parts of the country like in Germany.
Affiliates but also gamblers can’t see the wood for the trees. As I told before, this was the first reason for me to start up my main website Goedgekeurde Goksites. Everything I publish on my website is legal in Belgium. If you translate the title to English it is “Approved Gambling Websites”. I want my visitors to be able to browse my website without having to worry about legal stuff when they are on my website.
EEGReport Magazine: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe?
Christiaan: Everywhere, I love traveling. I have only been to Budapest, Hungary, in Eastern Europe. In the future I hope to see more of the East of Europe. Usually my travels are a combination of work and fun. I go to a conference and stay a bit longer to explore the area. If you can advice me any conferences?
EEGReport Magazine: Do you have region or country that you wouldn’t want to visit in Eastern Europe, if so why?
Christiaan: There is no specific country that I would not like to visit. The only thing places I wouldn’t want to go to are places where it is not safe.
This interview Affiliate Superstars: Interview with Christiaan Bollen appeared first on EEGReport Magazine.
We’ve been contacted by Dirk Pillow, who has been working in the iGaming Industry since 2013 as a SportsBook Trader, and currently following an academic course (Higher Diploma in Marketing and Sales Management) at The University of Malta.
As part of his dissertation, he needs to carry out some tests and would greatly appreciate if you could spare 5 minutes of your precious time to fill in and complete this survey. It will not take any longer, wanna bet on it 😉
The results of the survey will give Dirk and also to all of us a better understanding of the affiliates perception towards Online Gambling Brands and the decision process you go through when selecting an affiliate program.
Your participation in the survey is completely voluntary and all of your responses will be kept confidential.
Exclusive Interview with Christoph C. Cemper Founder & CEO of LinkResearchTools and Link Detox
We are very honored to have had the chance to interview one of the most well know Link Building Experts and SEO gurus Christoph C. Cemper. Christoph is Founder & CEO of LinkResearchTools and Link Detox.
GAV: First of all thanks for taking the time for the interview Christoph, we know you must be busy! Please be so kind and introduce yourself in one sentence!
Christoph C. Cemper: I’m an online marketing enthusiast, CEO, and Founder of LinkResearchTools and Link Detox doing links and SEO since 2003.
GAV: Could you fill out the short form below so our readers can imagine your profile?
Name: Christoph C. Cemper
Living in: Vienna
Favorite Food: Vietnamese
Must Read Book: The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
GAV: Tell us a bit about yourself, we want to know who Christoph Cemper is, the main person behind LinkResearchTools (LRT) and Link Detox. Where were you born? What was your first experience with the SEO world?
Christoph C. Cemper: I was born in Vienna and started a marketing blog in 2004. I started getting requests from people who wanted to have a link from my blog. They were ready to pay for it. That was the point when I started doing SEO and link building. I built links for years, then built more links, and managed a ton of affiliate sites since 2004.
In 2009, I decided to switch from the link building agency business to a SaaS business. And that’s the point when LinkResearchTools (LRT) was born.
GAV: We would like to know how you got started with LRT, what was the main idea/inspiration and how was the developing process?
Christoph C. Cemper: The LinkResearchTools (LRT) and Link Detox (DTOX) projects started in February 2009 at the VIP conference in SEO de Janeiro, and I can honestly say that what happened in Rio changed my business life. While sitting around in the conference venue, I discussed all sorts of SEO tricks, link pyramids, and other things with the other attendees and I showed them my own “Link Research Tool” on my notebook. This was a tool built by two part-time developers as an internal tool to help me and my team of link builders.
The tool wasn’t even close to what we have today. But the guys were all excited and couldn’t stop looking at the link data with me. They all said: “Wow, you should build a product, I would like to buy it!”
And that’s what I did.
GAV: After the first Google Penguin Update back in 2012 you launched Link Detox, a backlink audit and link risk management software, tell us about it!
Christoph C. Cemper: That’s right. Soon after Google’s first Penguin update, I created the solution for the penalties that came with Google’s algorithmic change. Link Detox soon became the industry standard for link audit and link risk management. Thousands of webmasters used it to recover their rankings. SEOs all around the world still use it to protect their websites. The great thing about Link Detox is that it works for both algorithmic penalties and Manual Actions for unnatural links pointing to your website. We’ve seen websites recover in as little as 3 days.
GAV: Do you have any new projects coming up?
Christoph C. Cemper: We’ll soon bring our customers a whole new way of looking at their backlink profile, full access to the “Canonical’ed links,” full access to a highly-effective 25th link data source to *all* new LinkResearchTools Superheros and up, and amazing updates for our browser extensions.
GAV: We know you attend affiliate conferences such as LAC and BAC as a speaker, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience?
Christoph C. Cemper: I enjoyed both conferences. The organization was great, and I sure had a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed the BAC SEO Panel I participated in with Bastian Grimm, Fili Wiese, and Michael Caselli.
GAV: How do you see the present state of online gambling affiliation?
Christoph C. Cemper: There are certainly more online gambling affiliation programs than ever before. Now everyone can become an affiliate with the right training and the right mindset. A trend I noticed in the past year is that affiliates are using more social media platforms for promotion and I think that this is a growing trend in 2017.
GAV: Do you have clients from the online gambling industry, if so name at least two?
Christoph C. Cemper: Yes, we do have many clients from the online gambling industry. I can give you Mr. Green and Unibet as examples.
GAV: How do you see the future of the online gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon shortly?
Christoph C. Cemper: The online gambling industry does have potential to become a global phenomenon.
GAV: What advice you would like to offer to the newbie SEO’s who are looking just starting?
Christoph C. Cemper: Every new SEO needs to have in mind that link risk management needs to be his top priority, alongside link building. Even Google said, “Ranking without links is really, really hard.” But these must be good links. Risky links can attract a penalty.
To make it short: a new SEO needs to focus on keeping the link detox risk low and build strong, niche-related, trustworthy links to boost the website’s rankings.
GAV: How about an advice for people who’re looking to venture into the online gambling industry as affiliates with a new website? What would you advise them?
Christoph C. Cemper: The same thing I’d advise anyone that has a new website:
- keep the link risk low by doing weekly link audits
- disavow risky links as often as necessary
- monitor incoming links
- compare the backlink profile to the ones of the competitors
- build Penguin-friendly links (here are 20 link building tips)
GAV: Where could we catch you in the near future as a speaker, do you have some upcoming events?
Christoph C. Cemper: I’ll be speaking at SMX Munich and Campixx in March, BrightonSEO in April and September, SEOkomm and OMX in November. You can always find an updated list of the events where you can meet me or hear me speak here: http://www.linkresearchtools.com/meet-us/.
GAV: Who is your favorite celebrity?
Christoph C. Cemper: Tim Ferris and Elon Musk.
GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, some part of the region maybe that you haven’t visited yet?
Christoph C. Cemper: I know and like Prague, Budapest and Bratislava. I’d gladly like to visit Warsaw and Moscow.
GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?
Christoph C. Cemper: No idea.
GAV: What is your opinion about GAV (Gambling Affiliate Voice)?
Christoph C. Cemper: The Gambling Affiliate Voice is doing a great job at making the online gambling industry more transparent and easier to understand for everyone. A great place where fellow affiliates can share their views about online gambling and so much more.
If you would like to suggest subjects for future interviews, be sure to send your suggestions to: email@example.com .
Affiliate Interviews: Phil of ExclusiveBonus.co.uk and FootballMatchPreviews.com
We continue the Affiliate Interviews series, with another gambling affiliate rock star sharing his own story about his journey into this great industry. Today we catch up with Phil, founder of ExclusiveBonus.co.uk and FootballmatchPreviews.com.
GAV: Hi Phil, first of all thanks for your time and interest! Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did your career start in the industry? What was the main idea of developing this two great sites?
PHIL: Hi GAV. I’ve been in the affiliate gambling industry almost 10 years running a variety of sites. I started in the business doing some admin work for another gambling affiliate and decided to setup my own business with the aim of promoting online casinos and sportsbooks. I decided to develop Exclusive Bonus as a way of listing the best bonus, free bets and other promotions available. With Football Match Previews the aim is to provide good analysis of European football and free betting tips.
GAV: Since there are thousands and thousands of websites out there, and the market is quite ruff at this moment, where do you think exclusivebonus.co.uk and footballmatchpreviews.com stands now?
PHIL: It is difficult as you see sites topping the search engines that aren’t really anything more than glorified adverts. I’m really trying to do something a bit more independent and catered for gamblers. For instance with Exclusive Bonus I’m interested in exploring hidden offers and more obscure promotions. I like to list promos that are good for players, rather than just shamelessly promoting a brand who pays the most.
With Football Match Previews the commercial side is quite small and the user gets a lot of free quality football analysis without being over pressured with advertising.
GAV: How do you see the online casino industry at this moment? What about the football betting industry?
PHIL: In the UK sports betting has exploded which is what I’m more interested in. I started out in online casinos and at the time sports players were fairly worthless compared with casino players. For me at the moment my income is heavily geared towards sports. I find sports more interesting to write about. I think some online casino offers can be interesting, but I find welcome bonuses with impossible turn requirements a bit outdated and unfair on players.
GAV: How did you start and most of all what bumps did you have to overcome in the beginning?
PHIL: I was quite lucky when I was younger. I just handed my notice in at my job in a bank. Met a friend in a bar, got some admin work on a gambling site, started my own gambling site and in a year was making about four times what I made in a year.
The first year seems quite easy looking back. I think things have progressively got more difficult and competitive. So while I’m far more experienced, its not easy these days and much tougher to acquire players. The bumps you have to overcome are kind of inevitable. Main issues are really with the hard time gambling sites are given by search engines, PPC and social media. Also affiliate programs changing your deals is difficult. Generally I’m a big believer in perseverance. I have had multiple things go wrong, but enough goes right to balance that out.
GAV: We have closely analyzed Exclusivebonus.co.uk and Footballmatchpreviews.com!
On ExclusiveBonus.co.uk we found some great online casino reviews. Are you writing it by yourself or do you have a team of people writing for you? How many reviews are there on your website? How about the blog section, tell us a bit more about it?
PHIL: Sometimes I write myself, but generally I’ll outsource to a team of writers I have. I prefer the way I write as I know the industry well, but practically I don’t have the time to write as much as I would like. The blog is really where I list any offers that stand out. I find its difficult to know what each gambling firm is giving as promotions, so its nice to delve in and find the more unusual offers.
GAV: How about Football Match Previews, do you handle the site alone, let us know a bit more?!
PHIL: I have a writer who helps with the previews. I also have someone who helps with the tips. With this site I’m interested in something that is manageable to the user. We generally give two previews a week. Some of the main sites will preview every game and give hundreds of tips. Due to this in my opinion most free tips on these sites are pretty worthless. Its really a vehicle to promote bookmakers, which I’m sure works well, but I’m interested in having a small base of customers who appreciate the content you give for free and the advertising being secondary.
GAV: Do you find it hard to keep the content fresh and relevant on your websites, when a lot of fluffy and nonsense appear on the Internet non-stop?
PHIL: It can be hard as once you’ve written about a casino bonus it can get repetitive or listing yet another free bet. Fortunately a lot of gambling sites have got much more interesting in recent years with their promotions so this helps keep things fresh as every bookmaker is coming up with new and interesting things that you can write about.
GAV: We’re convinced that you receive messages from Affiliate Managers on a daily basis showcasing their best products. What are your thoughts on how a real Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationship should be built?!?
PHIL: There is issues on both sides. Some affiliate managers can be hard to deal with or a little too pushy, but they are also under a lot of pressure to meet their targets and drive traffic. Generally I favour affiliate managers who have a long term outlook, rather than just what happens this month. A lot of problems with affiliate programs are with the terms, which are decisions usually made by management. I think changes terms and conditions does a lot of damage to a programs reputation.
GAV: How do you see the future of the online casino industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon? How about the football betting…?
PHIL: I imagine the US market will open up, which will make things more interesting with online casinos. Football is already huge, but you do have issues as a lot of bookmakers have restrictions on a lot of countries. If regulation was worked out better it improves things for affiliates as its presently difficult operating websites with a global reach, but restrictions on which countries that can actually fund your websites.
GAV: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online casino affiliate ecosystem and also in the tipster?!
PHIL: Affiliate programs need to think of the long term, some affiliates could be working for 50 years in this industry. Some protection for affiliates in the form of contracts would be better.
GAV: Do you have any advise you would like to offer for the newbies who are looking to venture into this great industry!?
PHIL: I think its tough, but I’ve seen new guys do things that explode that I thought would never work. There is always a way of doing things better. I’m not the smartest on social media, but some newer affiliates absolutely kill it. I think the best advise is just to keep going. Don’t expect to make money straight away, but with a good idea and a lot of work there is no reason why you can’t compete and make a living.
GAV: Do you attend any iGaming, sportsbetting/online casino conferences? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience?
PHIL: Sometimes I do, just because its nice to meet affiliate managers face to face. I really enjoyed the Berlin Affiliate Conference, also London Affiliate Conference is always good.
GAV: What do you think the chances are for Eastern Europe to become a potential gaming hotspot in the near future? Where do you think the region must still improve upon?
PHIL: Its not something I have a great deal of knowledge about. I don’t see why not, mostly it will be down to the countries involved regulation. If the regulation is fair to the country and the gambling firms everyone should do well.
GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe? Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?
PHIL: Prague, as my grandfather was born there. My wife speaks Russian also, so Moscow or St. Petersburg would be cool. I probably wouldn’t want to go anywhere too remote, I like my wifi too much.
GAV: Do you have a favourite football player…?
PHIL: Eric Cantona.
GAV: Tell us your opinion about the Gambling Affiliate Voice?
PHIL: I think it’s a great site and I really like the ethos of giving affiliates a voice in a industry in which often the little guys aren’t really heard or giving a platform.
GAV: Thanks for your time and appreciation Phil. We wish you all the best and let us know if you have some news to share!
If you would like to suggest subjects for future interviews, make sure to send your suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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